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A to Z: Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

A to Z: Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

May also be called: HFM, HFMD

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common contagious illness caused by viruses from the enterovirus family, most commonly the coxsackievirus.

More to Know

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFM) causes painful blisters in the mouth and throat, and on the hands, feet, and diaper area. Often, there is a fever that lasts about 3 days. All symptoms usually go away in less than a week. Because HFM is a viral infection, antibiotics are not used to treat it.

The infection most commonly affects children under age 5 and easily spreads to others through mucus, saliva, fluid from the blisters, or stool (poop).

Keep in Mind

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is usually mild and will go away on its own in a few days.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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Date reviewed: September 26, 2016