Hand, foot, and mouth disease is common in children under 5 years old, but anyone can get it.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease spreads easily through `
- Person-to-person contact
- Respiratory droplets containing virus particles when an infected person coughs or sneezes
- Contact with contaminated surfaces and objects
The illness is usually not serious, but it is very contagious. It spreads quickly at schools and day care centers.
People with hand, foot, and mouth disease are usually most contagious during the first week that they are sick. People can sometimes spread the virus to others for days or weeks after symptoms go away or if they have no symptoms at all.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is Common
- In summer and fall in the U.S., but you can get it any time of year.
- In schools and daycares. Children should stay home while they have symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease.
Viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus family.
Common causes of hand, foot, and mouth disease are:
- Coxsackievirus A16 is typically the most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease in the United States. Other coxsackieviruses can also cause the illness.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Clean and disinfect
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and shared items, including toys and doorknobs.
Avoid close contact with sick people
Avoid touching someone who has hand, foot, and mouth disease, such as hugging or kissing them.
Stay home if you are sick with hand, foot, and mouth disease. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are not sure when you should return to work or when your child should return to school or daycare.