Can hand, foot and mouth disease be dangerous?
Hand, foot and mouth disease itself is not dangerous. In very rare cases, the virus that causes it can cause viral meningitis, which may require hospitalisation for a few days.
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Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral infection which is characterised by the presence of blisters. A mild illness, it mainly affects children who are younger than five years of age, usually during warmer weather.
Signs and symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease include a high fever, a sore throat and blisters which initially appear on the mouth and then on the soles of feet, palms and nappy area.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by a virus, spread by contact with infected children.
Hand, foot and mouth disease mainly affects children aged under five, particularly those in childcare settings, but it can also affect older children and adults.
Most of the time a doctor will diagnose hand, foot and mouth disease based on the external symptoms. Very rarely, a throat swab or faeces sample may be taken for laboratory testing.
There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease and it usually passes in a few days. However, paracetamol or ibuprofen may be used to relieve discomfort and fever.