What is hand, foot and mouth syndrome in babies?

What is Hand Foot Mouth Syndrome?

childhood illness, hand-foot-mouth syndrome is connected to Coxsackie A, a family virusenteroviruses. This viral infection is manifested by fever and the eruption of small blisters on the soles of the feet, on the palms of the hands and around the mouth. Hence his name! Usually benignit can still be serious immunocompromised people and pregnant women.


The Coxsackie virus occurs mainly in epidemic form in spring, summer and until the beginning of autumn in France. When the disease mainly affects children of old age 6 months to 4 yearsIt can also affect teenagers and adults.

How to recognize hand-foot-mouth syndrome in babies?

“The investigation is mainly clinical,” specifies Dr. Thomas Dailland. The appearance of Small blisters on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and in the mouth are really characteristic of the disease ».

What are the main symptoms?

Hand-foot-mouth syndrome often leads to the following symptoms:

  • a mild to moderate fever
  • a Sore throat
  • out of headache
  • and specially the eruption of small pimples under the soles of the feet, on the palms of the hands and at the level of the mouth.

Oral involvement is manifested by a pharyngeal erythema. Red dots called papules appear around the tongue, on the gums, and in the cheeks, and then turn into vesicles (blisters) that quickly burst before giving way to small, ulcer-like sores. canker sores.

Mouth involvement is sometimes very painful for the child and can prevent them from eating. In this case, hospitalization for rehydration is required, confirms Dr. Dailland.

And to add: “It happens that the table is not complete, and the attack is localized, for example, only at the level of the hands and mouth. There can also be lesions on the spine, especially in infants thighs or buttocks ».

Hands-toe or Chicken Pox: What’s the Difference?

that hand-foot-mouth syndrome differs from chickenpox from the site of the rash. “Indeed, with chickenpox, the little blisters that accompany it severe itching first appears on the scalp and upper body before spreading to the entire body, the pediatrician explains. While in hand-foot-mouth syndrome, as the name suggests, these are on the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands and the mouth. And above all, the nubs do not scratch.

Is the Coxsackie virus contagious and what is its incubation period?

The Coxsackie virus is very contagious. “As a rule, the incubation period lasts from 3 to 5 days before the first symptoms appear,” says Dr. Dailland. The child is contagious a few days before the onset, during the manifestation of the disease, and sometimes long after the clinical symptoms have disappeared. “The virus continues to be shed for several weeks after infection, even if you are asymptomatic,” confirms Dr. Christelle Vauloup-Fellous, virologist.

How is the coxsackie virus transmitted?

Very contagious, the Coxsackie virus is transmitted through direct contact with the infected child – through the droplets of salivato lesion contactSkin- or even over contaminated items (Bibs, toys, spoons, etc.). Community places – kindergartens, schools, canteens – are particularly conducive to the spread of the virus.

No vaccine can currently prevent this mild viral infection. To avoid contamination, it is important to respect certain barrier gestures:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap or an aqueous-alcoholic solution before and after each contact with your child: for example after blowing your nose, after changing the diaper or before preparing the meal,
  • Avoid sharing towels of the child infected with the virus,
  • prevent your sick child from getting too close to infirm (sick) people and pregnant women,
  • finally clean surfaces, objects and toys in contact with the sick child to limit contagion.

How long does hand-foot-mouth syndrome last?

The rash of hand-foot-mouth syndrome lasts between 7 and 10 days.

Can an adult get the disease?

Although viral infection is most common in young children, it is possible infected in adulthood. Therefore immunocompromised people as well pregnant woman Those who are not vaccinated must be particularly vigilant and observe strict hygiene measures:

  • Wash your hands often
  • surface cleaning contaminated
  • do not lick the yogurt spoon their child etc.

What are the risks for pregnant women?

Childhood mild viral infection, illness Hand-foot-mouth can be dangerous to the fetus In the non immune pregnant woman. The virus can actually cause it miscarriage to first trimester ; a mort fetale in utero during second and third trimester of pregnancy or some severe neonatal infections. If you are pregnant and have a child infected with the virus around you, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor during a prenatal consultation. “He will be able to prescribe a serology and one Test PCR (throat sample) to make sure you haven’t been contaminated, clarifies Dr. Christelle Vauloup-Fellous, virologist. Otherwise, close monitoring of the pregnancy will be established, in particular with a Ultrasound follow-up to check the heart rate of the future baby.

What is the treatment?

Currently there is none no treatment against this viral infection. “The treatment of hand-foot-mouth syndrome is only symptomatic, confirms Dr. Thomas Dailland. We will prescribe paracetamol to bring down the fever. In general, local care is not required because the lesions do not itch like chickenpox. If the baby or child’s condition worsens, he has feeding difficulties From where drink (Risk of dehydration), consult your family doctor. A hospital stay may actually be necessary to rehydrate the toddler and relieve pain in the throat wall.

Hand-foot-mouth syndrome and expulsion from school

hand-foot-mouth syndrome is not in itself a reason for termination from daycare or school. “On the other hand, it’s better to leave your child at home until they feel better,” advises Dr. Thomas Dailland.

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