Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

HFMD is common in children under 5 years old. The illness is usually not serious, but it is very contagious. It spreads quickly at schools and day care centers.

Causes & Transmission

HFMD is caused by Enterovirus family. The infection can be spread through either direct contact with the virus – such as in droplets discharged from the nose or throat, fluids leaked from skin blisters, and feces – or indirect contact through touching contaminated toys, surfaces, food or drink, or the hands of anyone in contact with an infected person, such as a nanny.

HFMD patients are usually most contagious during the first week that they have symptoms and can sometimes spread the virus to others for days or weeks after symptoms go away or if they have no symptoms at all.

Symptoms and Complication

In the early stages the symptoms are fever that lasts for 2-4 days and muscle pain. As the infection spreads, small red blisters appear, mostly on the inside of the mouth, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet – hence the name ‘hand, foot and mouth disease’. The blisters contain small bubbles of fluid, which eventually break and turn into ulcers.

In the majority of cases, the symptoms will disappear after 5-7 days. However, HFMD can cause severe and potentially fatal complications, including meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis, and myocarditis. Please note that the potential for these complications is not related to the number of blisters a patient has, so children should be monitored closely during the first 1-2 weeks of the illness, even if the blisters have cleared up.

Take your child to see a doctor immediately if you observe any of these symptoms: Vague feeling of being unwell, loss of appetite apathy, tired and pale appearance, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, confusion, hallucinations, neck pain, stiff neck, startle reflex; shaking of the body, arms or hands, coughing, rapid breathing, and excessive phlegm, with or without fever.


  1. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and shared items
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  3. Avoid close contact with sick people
  4. Now there is the first Enterovirus71 vaccine in Thailand, which can prevent EV71 associated HFMD


  1. Centers for disease control and prevention

Bumrungrad hospital//2565.//Hand foot mouth disease.//Retrieved April 20, 2022,/from/https://www.bumrungrad.com/en/conditions/hand-foot-mouth