KixNurse Guide to Managing Herpangina and Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

By Kixcare

May 8, 2024

Herpangina and hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) are both viral illnesses that are caused by the Coxsackie virus. Herpangina causes ulcers at the back of the mouth. Hand, foot, and mouth disease causes blisters on any combination of the hands, feet, mouth, and other parts of the body.

These viruses primarily affect children younger than age 10, however, it is more common in children under 5 years of age. Children in school and childcare centres are especially susceptible to outbreaks due to their close contact with other children.

Spotting the Symptoms: What to Watch For

Children may show these common signs when affected by these viruses:

  • Fever

  • Sore throat

  • Malaise (general feeling of discomfort)

  • A skin rash that looks like red dots or blisters on the hands, feet, mouth, and/or other areas of the body (HFM), and blister-like bumps on the throat and roof of the mouth (herpangina)

  • Decreased appetite

  • Pain

  • Itchiness

  • Irritability/fussiness

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

How do these viruses spread?

  • Direct Contact:

    Person-to-person contact – Spreads through saliva, sneezing, coughing, unclean surfaces, shared toys, or contact with feces

  • Contagious Period:

    Most infectious during the first week but can be spread for weeks after their symptoms resolve

  • Incubation Period:

    It can take 3-6 days from when your child was exposed to the virus to when symptoms develop, which means a child can be spreading the virus without showing signs of being sick

How can I best prevent the spread of these viruses?

  • Isolate If Sick:

    Keep your child at home if they have a fever or are unwell to limit the spread of the virus.

  • Practice Good Hygiene:

    Hand washing is the best and most effective method. Make sure to practice good hand washing: after wiping your child’s nose, after changing a diaper, after using the toilet, etc.

What to do if you suspect your child has herpangina or HMFD?

  • Stay at Home:

    Most cases do not require hospital visits and can be managed at home unless severe symptoms develop. Within 10 days, all ulcers or blisters often go away.

  • Contact KixNurse:

    For guidance and to assess your child’s symptoms comfortably at your home. We will provide you with advice on how to best take care of your child and how to monitor their symptoms.

Tips to care for your child at home:

Antibiotics do not work on viral illnesses. The most important thing to do is to keep your little one comfortable

  • Hydration:

    Encourage and offer your child a small amount of fluids frequently to prevent dehydration

  • Soft Foods:

    Soft and cold foods are often easier to eat with a sore mouth/throat and should be prioritized after fluids over other foods

  • Medication:

    Offer pain relief medication such as acetaminophen* and/or ibuprofen*. Medication given rectally is an option if swallowing is a challenge

  • Medication:

    Reactine* and cool compresses are helpful to provide relief from itching.

  • Avoid Certain Treatments:

    Steroid creams are not recommended. Do not attempt to pop any blisters. Keep the skin clean and avoid touching the rash.

  • Isolation:

    Keep your child at home if they are experiencing symptoms to avoid spread to others

*follow the instructions on the label or connect with your KixNurse to determine the right medication dose for your child.

Reach out to your healthcare provider if:

  • Your child’s pain is not relieved with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

  • The ulcers in the mouth last for more than 10 days or signs of infection (pus, increased redness, swelling, or pain)

  • Your child is unusually irritable or lethargic

  • You are concerned about dehydration

Gain Confidence in Your Child’s Health with Kix360°

Navigating common childhood illnesses like Herpangina and Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease can be a daunting task for any parent. When you join Kix360°, you gain access to reliable support from our dedicated team of pediatric experts, available 24/7. We understand the intricacies of your child’s health, enabling you to manage symptoms effectively and ensure that your child receives timely and appropriate care. Join Kix360° to confidently address your child’s health challenges, allowing you to focus on what truly matters: their happiness and well-being.

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