GP’s warning as Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease cases start to rise


Warning: The following article contains photos of a graphic nature that may upset some readers

Autumn often sees an increase in cases of the cold, flu and other conditions brought about by the change in weather.

However, one condition people are less aware of is that of Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease.

According to Dr Stephanie Ooi, general practitioner at MyHealthcare Clinic in London, the condition is most likely to appear in children, and generally tends to spread most during the autumnal months: “It’s the time of year where we see more cases of hand foot and mouth.

“The condition is caused by a virus which manifests itself in a fever, mouth ulcers and blisters on the hands and feet.

“Children typically get a sore throat, loss of appetite and fever followed by the ulcers and blisters about one to two days later.”

Dr Ooi says the most important thing for parents is to ensure their children are well hydrated.

She said: “Mouth ulcers will be sore so expect your child to be off their food. It’s important to ensure they are drinking enough.

“Signs of dehydration can include an altered level of consciousness, decreased urine output, sunken eyes, dry lips and mouth and pale or mottled skin.

“If you notice any of these symptoms then see your GP for an assessment.”

Dr Ooi recommends offering your children watery fruits such as watermelon, frozen juice or smoothie lollies, which may also be soothing on the mouth.



Parents are being warned to watch out for signs of the condition in children
Parents are being warned to watch out for signs of the condition in children

She continued: “Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used if they have a fever or the ulcers or blisters are sore.

“If the blisters are irritating, some parents find calamine lotion helpful.

“Children are safe to return to school or nursery as soon as they are feeling better and there is no need to stay off until the blisters have healed.”

Dr Ooi says there are various measures to reduce the risk of transmission, including good hand washing and taking care when handling dirty nappies.

She said: “Don’t pierce blisters as the fluid is infectious, and take care with nappies because the virus is present in the poo and can be found for a few weeks after recovery.”



An image of a hand, foot and mouth patient's blisters
An image of a hand, foot and mouth patient’s blisters

The GP says parents should see their local doctor if there are any signs of dehydration in their children or if their ulcers persist for more than three weeks.

“If there is an ongoing fever for more than five days, or an ongoing headache, then see your GP,” Dr Ooi added.

“And also see them if there is any confusion, drowsiness or extreme lethargy.”

MyHealthcare Clinic is a doctor-led private healthcare business. For more information, visit myhealthcareclinic.com or follow Dr Stephanie on Instagram @the_gp_mum

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