Hand, foot, and mouth disease is viral infection that is contagious and common in young children often under five years of age. Visible signs of the infection often include red blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums, throat, inside of the cheeks and a rash on the hands and feet. The oral ulcers are usually seen before the ulcers occur on the hands and feet.”
Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include:
- Sore throat
- Fatigue and feeling unwell
- Loss of appetite
When we’re dealing with a viral disease, we usually head over to our primary care doctor. But is there a reason to also visit the dentist if a virus affects the mouth?
How Long Does Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Last?
Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease usually clear up in 1-2 weeks. The period of communicability, or when the disease is contagious, usually lasts a week or less.
You can tell that the virus is clearing up when the fever subsides and the lesions in the mouth have healed. In most cases, our own immune system clears up this viral disease in about 7 days.
How Do You Get Rid of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
Unfortunately, there are no cures or vaccines for this disease. Doctors recommend treating the symptoms with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
*It’s not recommended that children under the age of 18 use aspirin. It can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome.
Give your child cold, soft foods such as smoothies to help reduce discomfort in the mouth and throat.
Good hand washing is necessary to help prevent the spread of the disease, which is most common in the summer and fall. Additionally, offer your child plenty of fluids but avoid acid-containing juices, which can irritate mouth sores.
Many people look for a quick fix when it comes to hand, foot, and mouth disease, but rest and time are going to be the best aids.
What Role Can a Dentist Play When It Comes to Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
The first step is to contact your primary care doctor for their professional advice. Your primary care physician may recommend a dentist visit if they see fit. Since the lesions are usually seen first in the mouth, your dentist can often diagnose hand, foot, and mouth disease during a routine check-up.
Learn more about the connection between the mouth and body!