Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common infection that mostly affects children under 10.

Hand, foot and mouth disease usually clears up by itself, within about a week.

Check if you have hand, foot and mouth disease

The first sign of hand, foot and mouth disease can be:

It may be a few days before the ulcers and rash appear.

mouth ulcers
Sores and ulcers appear in the mouth and on the tongue. These can be painful and may affect eating and drinking.
rash on hands and feet
A rash usually also appears on the hands and feet. The spots are often red before developing into a blister.
blisters
The blisters are grey and they can be painful.

If you’re unsure it’s hand, foot and mouth disease, look at other childhood rashes

Things you can do at home to ease the symptoms

Mouth ulcer gels, sprays, and mouthwashes, might ease the blisters

When you buy medicines, always check they are suitable for children and give the correct dose.

When to see your GP

Speak to your GP if:

Hand, foot and mouth disease spreads easily

It’s best to avoid close contact with anyone with hand, foot and mouth disease.

Individual schools and nurseries may have their own guidance for when your child can return so it’s best to check with them.

Generally, keep them away from school or nursery while they are feeling unwell. There’s no need to keep them off until the blisters have healed.

Hand, foot and mouth disease in pregnancy

There’s normally no risk to the pregnancy or baby.

However, it’s best to avoid close contact with anyone who has hand, foot and mouth disease.

There’s limited evidence that in very rare cases catching hand, foot and mouth disease during the first three months of pregnancy could lead to miscarriage – due to the fever. However, this risk is very low.

More information on hand, foot and mouth disease