Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood illness that can affect adults. It usually clears up by itself in 7 to 10 days.
The first signs of hand, foot and mouth disease can be:
After a few days mouth ulcers and a rash will appear
Ulcers appear in the mouth and on the tongue. These can be painful and make it difficult to eat or drink
Red spots, which develop into blisters, usually appear on the hands and feet
The blisters are grey in the centre and can be painful
The symptoms are usually the same in adults and children, but they can be much worse in adults
It's possible to get hand, foot and mouth disease more than once
Hand, foot and mouth disease has nothing to do with foot and mouth disease that affects farm animals
You can't take antibiotics or medicines to cure hand, foot and mouth disease – it has to run its course. It usually gets better in 7 to 10 days.
To help with the symptoms:
Speak to your pharmacist for advice about treatments, such as mouth ulcer gels, sprays and mouthwashes to relieve pain.
They can tell you which ones are suitable for children.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is infectious. Check with your GP surgery before going. They may suggest a phone consultation.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is easily passed on to other people. It's spread in coughs, sneezes and poo.
You're infectious from a few days before you have any symptoms and you are also infectious for the first 5 days after your symptoms start.
To reduce the risk of spreading hand, foot and mouth disease:
Your child can go back to school/nursery after 5 days from when the symptoms started, provided that they are feeling better.
Although there's normally no risk to the pregnancy or baby, it's best to avoid close contact with anyone who has hand, foot and mouth disease.
This is because:
Speak to your GP or midwife if you have been in contact with someone with hand, foot and mouth disease.
If you can't speak to your GP and don't know what to do next.