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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

  • Published
  • By Staff Reports
  • 82d AMDS Public Health Flight
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is very common a viral illness that typically affects children younger than five years old; however, adults can be infected by this illness as well, such as those in basic training or technical training. 

HFMD is spread from person to person through nose and throat secretions, such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus, blister fluid, or stool of infected persons.

Some signs and symptoms include fever, poor appetite, vague feeling of being unwell, and sore throat. Painful sores usually develop in the mouth one or two days after a fever starts. They begin as small red spots that blister and often become ulcers. A skin rash may also develop over a period of two days with flat or raised red spots and sometimes with blisters. This rash is usually located on the palms and soles of the feet, but may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.

One can lower risk of infection by proper hand washing with soap and water, disinfecting dirty surfaces and soiled items, and avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils with someone infected. There is no vaccine HFMD, but over the counter medication such as aspirin, mouthwash or sprays that numb mouth pain can also be used to relieve symptoms.

Do not be alarmed by HFMD, this is a common viral infection.  HFMD is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease, also called hoof-and-mouth disease, which affects cattle, sheep, and swine. Humans do not get the animal disease, and animals do not get the human disease.

For more information, please contact the 82d AMDS Public Health Flight at 676-1874/3052 or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at: