Hand, foot and mouth
disease is usually caused by a virus that is known as coxsackievirus A. This virus is very
contagious and it is spread through coughs and sneezes and contact with infected feces. It is common in children but rare in healthy adults.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is not the same thing as foot and mouth disease. Foot and mouth disease usually only affects animals. It is extremely rare for humans to contract foot and mouth, even if they are exposed to the infection for a prolonged period of time.
The early symptoms of hand, foot and mouth
disease are a
fever and sore throat, followed by sores in the mouth and on the hands and feet. The incubation period (the time between catching the
disease and showing symptoms) is 3-6 days. During this time the virus can be passed on.
There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth
disease, but there are steps that you can take to help ease your symptoms.
The risk to you and your baby
There is normally no risk to your baby if you catch hand, foot and mouth
disease during your pregnancy. However, if you catch the virus shortly before you give birth, it can pass to your baby and they may need hospital treatment to avoid developing further problems.
It is worth remembering that hand, foot and mouth
disease is rare in healthy adults. In reality, the risk of infection is low, and any complications you may have during pregnancy, as a result of catching the infection, are most likely to be caused by the high temperature you develop, and not by the infection itself.
There is also some evidence to suggest that in very rare cases, catching hand, foot and mouth
disease during your pregnancy may result in miscarriage. Although the risk of this happening is very small, it is always best to contact your doctor if you suspect that you may have developed the condition during your pregnancy.
To avoid the risk of catching the
disease, always wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet or handling diapers, and make sure that the toilet is clean.
Avoiding children with the virus may also help reduce the risk of catching the
disease. However, it is important to remember that if a child has the virus which causes hand, foot and mouth
disease, they will have been infectious before showing any symptoms.