Emergency advice

Hand, foot, and mouth disease:

  1. Drink fluids and eat soft foods.
  2. Take the recommended dose of paracetamol for a high temperature, sore throat, or mouth.
  3. If no improvement seek medical advice.

What is hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common illness for children which can also affect adults. It will usually clear up by itself in seven to ten days.  

Signs and symptoms

The first signs may be:

  • a sore throat
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of appetite.

After a few days they may have:

  • mouth ulcers
  • a rash which develops into blisters.

What to do

  1. Eat soft foods like soup and try to avoid hot and spicy foods.

  2. If you have a sore throat or mouth, take the recommended dose of paracetamol.

  3. If your symptoms do not improve seek medical advice.  

  4. To reduce the risk of spreading:

    • Wash your hands with soap and water
    • Do not share towels, cups or cutlery
    • Wash any soiled bedding or clothing on a hot wash (at 60°C)
  5. Keep your child off school or nursery until they are feeling better.  

Related first aid advice


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St John Ambulance volunteers providing support