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Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a viral infection that is most common in children under 10 years old. This illness occurs most often in the summer and fall months.

How is hand, foot and mouth disease spread?

This virus leaves the body through the stool of an infected person and enters another person when hands, food or objects (such as toys) contaminated with stool are placed in the mouth. It also is spread through droplets that are expelled from the nose and mouth during sneezing and coughing

What are the symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease?

Blisters occur toward the front of the mouth, on the sides of the tongue, inside the cheeks, and on the gums. These mouth sores may last seven to 10 days. In most cases, sores will also be found on the palms of the hands, the fingers, and the soles of the feet. A low-grade fever may last one to two days. Those infection may also have runny nose, sore throat, and signs and symptoms of a cold.

How long is it contagious?

During acute illness and possibly for several weeks after illness (through contact with stool). Also, infected persons who may not seem sick are able to spread infection

How can I prevent infection?

  1. Frequent, careful hand washing by child care staff, children and household members.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If tissues are not available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  3. Dispose of tissues and diapers properly.
  4. Clean, rinse with clean water, then disinfect contaminated areas (diapering area, toilets, potty chairs) and sanitize toys at least daily and when soiled.


For more information online, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or you can call the Health Department at 859.363.2070.

Sources: Northern Kentucky Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Revised November 2014