Health Updates

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

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Hand, Foot, and Mouth

Updated 10/01/2021

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease typically causes fever, painful sores in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet. No medical treatment is usually given, but fortunately complications are rare, and most people recover within seven to 10 days- some even earlier. 

The most important steps to avoid infection is to wash hand frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol). The university is continuing to clean high-touch areas and has implemented enhanced cleaning of shared spaces in residence halls. 

To avoid infecting others, people experiencing these symptoms should rest and recover in their residences while they have fever and active symptoms (such as open blisters). 

Students with symptoms can call UH&CS at 216.368.2450 for medical advice; in some cases, staff may ask you to come to the health clinic to confirm a diagnosis. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Symptoms include: 

  • A painful, blister-like, red rash on the palms and soles of the feet
  • Fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Headache

At first, individuals may feel tired, get a sore throat, or have a fever of around 101-103 degrees F(38-39 degrees C). 

After a day or two, sores or blisters may appear- sometimes preceded by a skin rash. The blisters may break open and crust over. The sores and blisters usually go away in a week or so. In some cases, people have no symptoms, or symptoms are very mild. 

Testing is not typically necessary. Health care providers can determine if an individual has HFM by hearing about symptoms and performing an exam. 

The viral infection itself does not require treatment. It usually goes away on its own within about a week. Nonprescription medications such as acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (sample brand name: Advil, Motrin) can be used to relieve pain and fever. 

It is important for those experiencing HFM to stay hydrated. The sores in the mouth can make swallowing painful; cold foods, like popsicles and ice cream, can help numb the pain. Soft foods, like pudding and gelatin, may be easier to swallow. 

The virus that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease can be transmitted when an infected person sneezes or coughs, touches another person, or has contact with a surface that has droplets containing the virus (from a cough or sneeze or fluid leaking from a blister). 

People with hand, foot, and mouth disease are most likely to spread the infection during the first week of their illness. 

  • Wash hands often with soap and water (or, if those are unavailable, hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol)
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing sneezing, dispose of soiled tissue- and again wash your hands!

More information about hand, foot, and mouth disease is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention