Patient Care

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (Children)

What is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Children?

HFMD is a viral infection characterised by ulcers in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet. The ulcers may be painful.

HFMD is caused by an enterovirus which is moderately contagious, especially during the first week of illness. The virus can spread directly from person to person via saliva, stool and respiratory droplets. It can also spread indirectly via items contaminated with the secretions.

HFMD affects primarily infants and young children although adults may also be at risk.

What are the signs & symptoms of HFMD in Children?

These symptoms usually appear within 3 to 6 days of infection:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Painful mouth ulcers on the tongue, gums, inside of the cheeks or back of the throat
  • Rash on the hands and feet - most commonly found on the palms and soles

Very rarely, complications affecting the heart or brain may occur.

What are the treatment options for HFMD in Chilldren?

HFMD in Children usually resolves itself within 7 to 10 days. Your doctor may recommend certain medications to relieve the symptoms.

Caring for children with HFMD?
What should I do if my child has HFMD?
  • Encourage oral fluid intake
  • Pain relief medications such as topical oral anaesthetic gels or painkillers like paracetamol for the mouth ulcers may help to improve oral intake.
  • Treating high fever with antipyretics may help your child to feel more comfortable.
  • Bring your child to see a doctor for further management if he or she has the following symptoms:
    • Prolonged fever
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Rapid breathing
    • Does not eat or drink well
    • Vomiting with dehydration
    • Lethargy and irritability
    • Drowsiness
    • Headache
How do I prevent the spreading of HFMD?
  • Children with HFMD should stay away from school for 1 week after the rash appears.
  • Proper hygiene such as hand washing should be practised.
  • Surfaces and articles such as toys and towels contaminated by the droplets, saliva or stool of children with HFMD should be properly disinfected with a diluted solution of chlorine-containing bleach.
Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

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National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
  • NUHS Diagnostics
  • NUHS Pharmacy
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
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