Hand-Foot-and-Mouth: What You Need to Know

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth: What You Need to Know
Posted on 07/17/2024
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It's that time of year when we see an increase in cases of HFM. Here's what you need to know about this contagious, though mild, illness.

What is HFM? It's a common and very contagious viral infection typically found among people younger than 5 years old, though anyone can get it.

HFM symptoms are normally mild and last for 7 to 10 days. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever and flu-like symptoms
  • Mouth sores
  • Skin rash found on the hands and feet

A person who is suffering from HFM should see a healthcare provider if they:

  • Are not able to drink normally and they might be getting dehydrated
  • Are not alert and responsive
  • Are experiencing a fever that is lasting longer than 3 days
  • Have symptoms that are not improving after 10 days
  • Have a weekend immune system (body’s ability to fight germs and sickness)
  • Have severe symptoms
  • Are very young, especially younger than 6 months

HFM spreads easily though:

  • Person to person contact
  • Respiratory droplets containing virus particles when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • Contact with contaminated surfaces and objects


  • Most people with HFM get better on their own in 7 to 10 days.
  • There is no specific medical treatment for HFM.
  • Steps can be taken to relieve symptoms and prevent dehydration.

Help prevent the spread of HFM by:

  • Washing your hands
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
  • Avoid touching your eyes nose, and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with sick people

A child may return to school when the following have resolved:

  • Fever
  • Excessive drooling
  • Mouth sores
  • Open blisters

Questions? Call Salt River Public Health at 480-362-3603.

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