What is hand, foot, and mouth disease?


Posted at Sep 19 2015 01:34 AM | Updated as of Sep 19 2015 12:57 PM

MANILA -- This disease commonly affects toddlers, and causes mouth ulcers and rashes.

In an interview on dzMM, Dr. Pia Torres, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, explained how to determine if a child is infected with hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

"Ang sakit na 'to ay common sa mga bata na less than five years old. So ang disease na 'to, aside from mga singaw, usually sa lalamunan nagsisimula. Nagsisimula siya as lagnat, and then after ng lagnat nagkakaroon sila ng singaw sa lalamunan. And then magkakaroon sila ng mga butlig. It's either pulang mga butlig sa palad, or para siyang mga ulcer. Aside from doon sa kamay, mayroon din sila sa talampakan," she said.

The rashes also usually appear as the fever dies down.

Although the children are more prone to infection, HFMD viruses usually come from adults.

"Usually, ang mga adults ang carrier. So sa kanila nakukuha 'yung virus and then napapass on sa mga kids. Ang kids kasi prone sa mga ganitong sakit," Torres said.

"Pwede mo siyang maipasa kung nagtatae ka, kasi ang route niya fecal at oral," she added.

HFMD vs measles

Unlike other diseases that also cause rashes to appear on the skin, rashes caused by HFMD only appear on specific areas, such as the hand, the soles of the feet, the buttocks and sometimes, on the elbows and knees.

"Ang kaibahan kasi ng hand, foot, mouth, ang pinaka distinct sa kanya is 'yung mga singaw sa bibig. Ang mga dengue kasi, hindi siya nagmamanifest ng singaw," Torres explained.

"Ang measles, habang tumataas ang lagnat, lalong lumalabas ang rashes," she added.

HFMD is also different from non specific viral exanthem (NSVE), which is a term used by doctors for unidentified rashes.

"Yun kasi 'yung term kapag hindi mo na madistinguish kung anong klase siyang rash. Marami kasing mga viruses na pwedeng magcocause ng rashes. Kapag hindi siya nagfifit in doon sa classical na manifestation, for example, ng measles, we will note it as NSVE."

A parent would know if a child has mouth ulcers when he or she has difficulty in eating and swallowing food.

"Sa toddlers, kapag nagdu-drool, naglalaway, 'pag ganun 'yung manifestation, hindi makakain, kapag tiningnan mo 'yung lalamunan, mapula, may singaw," Torres added.

There is no cure for HFMD, but parents can give their children medicines that can help manage the symptoms.

To help children with the rashes, Torres recommends giving them oral anti-histamines. It is also advisable to feed them cold food, like ice cream, to help with the pain caused by mouth ulcers.

"Mas masakit kapag mainit ang kinakain, kaya ang inooffer, ice cream," she said.

Torres added that most children with HFMD can be treated at home, unless they suffer from dehydration.

The disease usually lasts from one week to 10 days.