Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a contagious infection that is caused by the coxsackievirus. It is most commonly found in children and usually begins with small blistering oral lesions and mild symptoms of sore throat, low-grade fever, and possibly swollen cervical (neck) lymph nodes for 1-2 days. Lesions on the hands and feet (occurring in two thirds of patients) begin as small reddish flat or slightly raised growths that soon become small vesicles surrounded by a reddish halo. The patient may also develop a few of these vesicles on the fingers, toes, face, buttocks, and legs. They heal in approximately 7 days, usually without scarring.
Treatment is supportive. Topical anesthetic solutions may be used to treat painful oral lesions and analgesics may be used if the skin lesions are painful. Good hand washing is helpful in preventing the spread of disease. Keeping the child home from school is usually not necessary.
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