Is your child running a fever, along with painful red blisters in their mouth, on the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet? They may have contracted hand foot and mouth disease, a form of coxsackie virus.
The most important thing to remember about coxsackie virus is it is highly contagious. And has the potential to spread like wildfire within a group of infants and young children. So keep your child home and away from other children whenever in doubt.
Coxsackie virus may cause mild flu like symptoms, which goes away without any particular treatment. Or it can cause an unusual mixture of symptoms, including:
- sore throat
- muscle aches
- no symptoms
- sudden high fever
- abdominal discomfort
- feel hot w/o other symptoms
Half the cases of coxsackie are mild and most kid’s fever breaks in about 3 days.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a type of coxsackie virus, causing painful red blisters:
- in the throat
- palms of hands
- soles of the feet
- inside of the cheeks
- on the tongue, gums, hard palate
Hand foot and mouth disease lasts around 2-3 days.
Herpangina is a form of coxsackie virus, causing a throat infection marked by red-ringed blisters and ulcers on the tonsils.
Coxsackie virus may also result in hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, a “whites of the eyes” infection that typically starts with eye pain. This pain is followed up with red, watery, swollen eyes, light sensitivity and blurry vision.
Treatment for hand, foot and mouth (herpangina) depends on the type of infection and symptoms. Never use antibiotics in an attempt to fight this infection, those only work against bacteria. Acetaminophen may be given to relieve any minor aches and pains.
Most children with the minor form of coxsackie virus infection recover in a couple of days without needing much treatment. Bed rest and plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration is recommended when fever is present.
Keep in mind that some cases can lead to more serious infections, such as:
Contact your doctor immediately if your child develops:
- poor appetite
- neck stiffness
- trouble feeding
- pain in testicles
- severe sore throat
- unusual sleepiness
- breathing difficulties
- red, swollen, watery eyes
- pain in the chest/abdomen
- sores on skin or inside mouth
- fever above 100.4 for under 6 months infants or above 102 for older kids
- severe headache, especially with vomiting, confusion, unusual sleepiness or convulsions
Newborns can be infected from their mothers during or shortly after birth.