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, especially on their hands, feet and mouth; the rash may appear anywhere.

What to do

  1. Encourage soft foods if eating is difficult.

  2. If you have a sore throat or mouth, take the recommended dose of paracetamol and/or ibuprofen if you are able.

    Speak to a pharmacist for advice on other medicines that are available to reduce pain and discomfort in the mouth and throat, especially if eating and drinking is difficult.

  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.  

    If the patient has been in contact with somebody who has had a baby in the last three weeks, or who will have a baby in the next three weeks, they should speak to their GP for advice.

    If the patient shows signs of dehydration, looks unwell, or if you are concerned about them, you should seek medical advice by calling 111 or they should see their GP.

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