Under 18 GP Appointments
We now offer GP appointments for children aged between 1 and 18 via our remote video service (UK wide) and face to face appointments at selected centres. Please note that these appointments cannot be booked online so please call 0330 822 3072 for more information or to book. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm. We may record and monitor our calls. Available from £49.
To book or to make an enquiry, call us on 0343 253 8381∧
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood viral illness, especially in children under 10 and those under four. But people of any age can get it, including adults.
It causes blisters on your hands and feet, and ulcers in your mouth. But, it is generally mild and you usually recover within a week or two.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is usually caused by a group of viruses known as the coxsackieviruses. The most common cause of the disease is coxsackie virus A16.
Another virus called enterovirus 71 (EV71) can occasionally cause a more severe form of hand, foot and mouth disease but this isn’t common in the UK. See our causes of hand, foot and mouth disease section for more information.
These viruses are very easily spread. They pass from one person to another through coughing or sneezing and from direct contact with fluid from blisters. They’re also passed on in an infected person’s poo – so you can spread it if you don’t wash your hands properly after going to the toilet. See our prevention of hand, foot and mouth disease section for more information.
While it may be unpleasant, it’s generally mild and you usually recover within a week or two. Serious complications are rare, and are generally related to a more severe type of hand, foot and mouth disease caused by enterovirus 71 (EV71). Most people in the UK won’t have this form of the disease. See our complications of hand, foot and mouth disease section for more information.
The main difference between chickenpox and hand, foot and mouth disease is where you get the blisters.
With hand, foot and mouth disease, you tend to get blisters on your hands and feet, and blisters or ulcers in your mouth.
With chickenpox, you’ll usually get spots all over your body, face, scalp, arms and legs.
Children should really stay home if they feel unwell. But official guidance is that they don’t need to be kept away from nursery or school if they feel well. Different childcare providers may have their own rules though, so you should check with your child’s nursery or school.
It’s possible, although most adults are immune to the viruses that most commonly cause the disease.
If you get hand, foot and mouth disease, you become immune to the specific virus that caused it. This means you won’t get that particular virus again. However, there are several different viruses that cause hand, foot and mouth disease. Even if you’re immune to one, you could become infected with another – and you may then develop hand, foot and mouth disease again.
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This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
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