Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease

What is Hand, Foot & Mouth?

Hand, Foot & Mouth disease (HFMD) is a short, mild illness, caused by a highly-contagious virus. It’s easily dealt with by your immune system — most recover fully within a week — and serious complications rarely occur. HFMD spreads when individuals come in direct contact with infectious viruses that cause this disease. These viruses are found in the nose and throat secretions (saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus), fluid in blisters and stools of infected individuals. The viruses may spread when healthy individuals touch surfaces or objects that have been touched by infected persons.

Symptom summary

  • Fever and general malaise.
  • Red spots on hands and feet.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Sore throat.
  • Mouth ulcers.

Prevention tips

Medical Practices

HFMD is very contagious, so ensure that you clean and disinfect common areas and surfaces in your home, including your child’s toys and pacifier.

Hygiene Habit

Great hand-hygiene
There’s no vaccine to protect you and your loved ones from HFMD, so being proactive with your hygiene and health is important. Handwashing with germ protection soap or using hand sanitiser — especially after using the bathroom, changing your child’s nappy, or before eating/preparing food — will improve hand hygiene and help to prevent germs spreading.

Medical Practices

No sharing
If someone in your family does catch the disease, avoid touching them if possible — and don’t share towels, cutlery or drinks.


  • Hand, Foot & Mouth disease is the same disease as Foot & Mouth that affects cattle, pigs and sheep…

    It’s easy to understand the confusion — but the diseases are unrelated. And you can’t catch HFMD from animals.

  • I’ve had HFMD — so I can’t contract it again…

    Yes, you will be immune to that particular strain of the virus — but there are others that produce the same symptoms and you will still be vulnerable to those.

    For more tips from Lifebuoy on health and hygiene, read our articles.

Medical source : British Health Authority


View full list of infections