What are the consequences of the disease?
In most cases, hand, foot and mouth diseases will go away on their own within a week. Adults in particular, but also children, rarely develop complications. These include swelling of the brain or meninges, paralysis or life-threatening lung and circulatory problems.
If a woman develops hand, foot and mouth disease during pregnancy, she usually doesn’t need to worry about the baby. Although a newborn can be infected at birth, the virus rarely makes the baby seriously ill.
Hand, foot and mouth disease: what to do?
Some virus variants are more likely to cause severe hand, foot, and mouth disease than others. For adults with particularly stubborn (ie lasting more than ten days) or severe symptoms, seeing a doctor is recommended. Caution is also needed in case of severe headache in relation to stiff neck and a medical examination is necessary.
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Virus variants causing unusual symptoms tend to increase in the winter months, while the classic form of hand, foot, and mouth disease tends to spread in late summer or autumn.
There is currently no medicine that helps directly against the virus that causes it. Fever and pain such as hand, foot and mouth disease can be reduced with common active ingredients such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Hand, foot and mouth disease: Preventing infection
Hand, foot and mouth disease is spread from person to person or through objects contaminated with bodily fluids. Blisters on the skin contain a particularly large number of virus particles, but it is also possible to become infected through droplets in the air. You can still become infected through feces (such as when changing a diaper) weeks after illness.
To protect yourself from hand, foot and mouth disease as effectively as possible, it is especially advisable to regularly wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect shared items such as door handles.
There is currently no vaccination against hand, foot and mouth disease.
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