Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common illness in infants and children. It is characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters. It occurs in warmer months and is transmitted primarily between humans by direct contact with secretions from the nose and throat, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the feces of those who have HFMD.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

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HFMD is caused by a virus from a group of viruses called enteroviruses.

Risk Factors

The following factors increase the risk of HFMD:

  • Age: children under 10 years old


  • Mild fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Malaise
  • Sore throat
  • Painful sores in the mouth
  • Skin rash that does not itch, usually on the palms of hands and soles of feet


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include:

  • Throat swab
  • Stool specimen


There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Treatment is focused on relieving fever, aches, and pain associated with the illness.


To help reduce the risk of HFMD:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after diaper changes.
  • Clean contaminated surfaces with soap and water followed by a diluted solution of chlorine-containing bleach. (Mix about 1/4 cup of bleach with one gallon water.)
  • Avoid close contact with children with HFMD.