How to Diagnose Foot and Mouth Disease in Children

While foot and mouth disease in children is generally not dangerous it can be extremely uncomfortable for children. Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is one of those illnesses that every child seems to catch at one point or another. If your child is sick and you suspect that they may have caught FMD, than read on and learn what you can do to diagnose and cure their illness.

1. Pay Attention to Your Child’s Fevers
The first symptom of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is fever. Generally speaking FMD produces a very light fever, so if your child has a high fever than its cause is likely something else. Reduced appetite and a sore throat are also common symptoms of the early stages of FMD. A general feeling of soreness, achiness or lethargy is also attributed to this disease.

2. Sores Come Within a Day or Two

The tell-tale sores of FMD usually show up about a day or two after your child has suffered from their fever. These sores will appear inside your child’s mouth. These sores will show up all over their mouth- on their tongue and lips, on the lining of their cheeks, below their teeth. These sores will be very noticeable and will be very red and irritated looking.

3. Look for Bodily Rashes

While the sores associated with FMD are inevitable, the disease’s final symptom doesn’t affect all babies. This is a rash that can appear over your child’s feet and hands, and occasionally on their backside. This rash is unlikely to be uncomfortable for your child at first, though it can eventually develop into full blisters.

4. Call Your Child’s Doctorfoot and mouth disease in children

If the above symptoms manifest themselves than you need to call your child’s doctor and schedule an appointment. While your child’s doctor is unlikely to be able to do much of anything about the FMD, they will be able to monitor your child and make sure they aren’t developing any serious complications due to the disease. Very young babies are at the greatest risk when it comes to develop a potentially damaging fever, while all children affected with FMD are at risk for dehydration (due to the difficulty of swallowing liquids caused by their mouth sores).

5. Curing Your Child’s FMD

There is no cure for FMD aside from taking the time to wait it out. This is hard news for many parents to take, as they want to get their child healthy as quickly as possible. This is also hard news for many parents to take because their child is likely to be miserable during the course of their disease.

While it’s impossible to cure Foot and Mouth Disease with anything besides time, it is possible to monitor your child and make sure they are as cared for as possible. Making sure they eat and drink enough despite their mouth sores is important, as is making sure their fever doesn’t get out of control. Many parents also find it helpful to provide their children with cold foods and liquids to help ease their discomfort.

In general there are no medications that you can give your child to speed along their recovery, though with their doctor’s permission you may be able to certain pain relievers such as ibuprofen.

6. Preventing FMD

FMD is NOT like chicken pox- your child will be able to catch it again even after beating it once. While your child will develop immunity to the specific virus that caused their FMD this time, there are many other viruses that can cause the disease that they will have no resistance to.

The best way to both prevent Foot and Mouth Disease in children again is to practice proper sanitation and to make sure you regularly wash their hands and feet. You also want to make sure that their toys are clean at all times, and that they don’t come into direct contact with another child who has FMD (as the disease is communicable). These precautions are also the best way to prevent your child from coming down with FMD in the first place.

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