Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

Children sitting on classroom floor playing with blocks
Common in Young Children

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is common in children under five years old, but anyone can get it.

The illness is usually not serious, but it is very contagious. It spreads quickly at schools and day care centers.

Symptoms to look for
Mother holds child's foot and shows rash

Symptoms can include:

  • Mouth sores
  • Skin rash of flat red spots that may blister
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
Treat symptoms
Mother comforts child after taking his temperature

Most people do not need to see a doctor for hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Treat the illness at home by relieving symptoms and making sure the sick person drinks enough fluids to stay hydrated.

Stop the spread
Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water

Take steps to keep from getting sick:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect dirty surfaces and soiled items.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people, like hugging or kissing.
Not the Same as Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease (also called hoof-and-mouth disease), which affects cows, sheep, and pigs.

Humans do not get the animal disease, and animals do not get the human disease.

Visit the US Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library to learn about Foot-and-Mouth Diseaseexternal icon.