Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Treatment in Lenoir, NC
Do you or your child have sores in your mouth, a rash on your hands and feet, or other flulike symptoms? It could be hand, foot, and mouth disease, a mild viral infection that's common in childcare settings.
While there is no cure, this illness is usually mild and should resolve within a week. In rare cases though, you or your child may contract viral meningitis or encephalitis as a result of this disease. These conditions can be fatal and require immediate emergency medical attention.
What are the symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease?
Hand, mouth, and foot disease symptoms include:
- painful, blister-like sores on the tongue and gums
- red rash on the feet and palms that doesn't itch but sometimes blisters
- sore throat
- appetite loss
Symptoms usually clear up within 7-10 days after appearing. If you or your child develop mouth or throat sores, don't wait - see your medical provider right away so hand, foot, and mouth disease can be diagnosed or ruled out.
What are complications of hand, foot, and mouth disease?
In rare cases, this infection can lead to viral meningitis or encephalitis. These are severe conditions that can be fatal.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges - the membrane surrounding your brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of meningitis often mimic the flu at first and then rapidly worsen; they can include a severe headache that's often described as feeling "strange" or "different than usual," neck pain and stiffness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and light sensitivity.
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain usually caused by a virus. While some cases are mild and require little treatment, encephalitis can be severe and even life-threatening. Its symptoms are similar to meningitis and include:
- muscle and joint pain
- loss of sensation or paralysis in certain parts of the face or body
- difficulty speaking and hearing
In infants, symptoms can also include:
- skull bulges
- body stiffness
- poor feeding or not waking up for a feeding
- irritability and crying
If you or your child develops symptoms of either disease, don't wait - get emergency medical attention right away.
What causes hand, foot, and mouth disease?
You or your child can contract this disease by ingesting the coxsackie virus A16, a member of the group called nonpolio enteroviruses. In some cases, other enteroviruses can cause this disease, like the enterovirus 71 virus.1
In the United States, outbreaks usually happen during the summer and fall. Once someone is infected with this virus, it can be spread through coughing and sneezing, saliva, and fluid from blisters.
The disease is most contagious during the first week of illness, but the hand, foot, and mouth disease incubation period can last for weeks after symptoms have disappeared, meaning that you or your child can still infect others for quite some time.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is most common among children younger than 10, and most often in children under 5. It's common in childcare settings because children often touch surfaces then put their fingers in their mouths, causing them to ingest the viruses and trigger the disease.
Children usually develop immunity to the hand, foot, and mouth disease virus over the years because repeated exposure to the viruses causes their bodies develop antibodies as they age. Many people, especially adults, ingest the virus but show no symptoms. However, older children and adults can still get the disease.
How is hand, foot, and mouth disease diagnosed?
To distinguish this disease from other, similar conditions, your provider will first perform a physical examination, including close inspection of the mouth sores and skin rash. Your age or your child's age, the rash pattern, and the sores' appearance will be considered. A throat swab or stool sample may be taken for lab analysis.
How is hand, foot, and mouth disease treated?
There is currently no specific medication or treatment for this condition. Common sense and hand, foot, and mouth disease home remedies are usually effective. These include:
- drinking plenty of water
- getting lots of rest
- avoiding strenuous activities
- using topical oral anesthetic to relieve the pain from mouth sores
- taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) for pain relief
- sucking on popsicles or ice chips
- eating ice cream
- drinking cold beverages like ice water
- avoiding acidic or salty foods like citrus fruit, tomatoes, pretzels, and spicy foods
- avoiding acidic drinks like orange, grape, or tomato juice
- eating soft foods that require little chewing
- swishing with warm (not hot) salt water as many times per day as needed to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain
To avoid infection or to avoid infecting others, stay clear of people until several weeks after the virus has cleared, and wash your hands often with hot water and soap.
Integrative treatments that help boost your immune system and act as an antiviral against this disease include:
- oil pulling: for older children and adults; lauric acid fights bacteria in the mouth, provides a detoxing effect, and creates an environment hostile to viruses
- coconut oil: anti-microbial and anti-viral compounds prevent spread of disease
- tea tree oil: powerful antiviral, antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial compound speeds up healing
- elderberry: boosts immune system, fights viruses, aids in healthy glucose levels
- probiotics: The World Health Organization extols the anti-viral properties of these microorganisms
- pomegranate: contains anthocyanins which kills viruses
- green tea: contains catechins that restrict entry of viruses into the body
- astragalus: this adaptogen herb stimulates immune system and inhibits viruses
- cat's claw: this woody vine has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties that have treated infections such as inflammation, cancer and viral infections
As with any treatment, results will vary from patient to patient, depending on age, genetics, condition severity, as well as environmental and health factors. Consult your healthcare practitioner before undergoing and treatment or treatment plan.
While a vaccine for this disease is available in China, it only protects against the enterovirus 71 virus and not against any of the other enteroviruses.
This is why a tetravalent virus-like particles (VLP) vaccine may be a good candidate for hand, foot, and mouth disease vaccination, as it designed to protect against four different types of enteroviruses. While studies are still ongoing, studies on mice found that tetravalent vaccine evoked antigen-specific and long-lasting serum antibody responses.1
Reserve Your Appointment Now
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common infection that typically clears up within a week, but sometimes dangerous complications arise. Getting an early medical diagnosis and monitoring you or your child's symptoms are the best treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease. To speak with a specialist today in Lenoir, call (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
1. Zhang, Wei et al. "A Virus-like Particle-Based Tetravalent Vaccine for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Elicits Broad and Balanced Protective Immunity." Emerging Microbes & Infections 7 (2018): 94. PMC. Web. 16 July 2018.
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