By Registered Health Visitor – Julia Headland


Red spots usually appear on the hands and feet that will develop into blisters.

The blisters are grey in the centre and can be painful.

Ulcers appear in the mouth and on the tongue. These can be painful and make it difficult to eat or drink.

The symptoms of this disease are usually the same in adults as they are in children but the symptoms can be much worse in adults. However, it is hard for you to get it a second time.


You can’t take antibiotics or medicines to cure hand, foot and mouth disease, it has to run its course.  It usually gets better in 7 to 10 days.

To help with the symptoms:

  • drink fluids to prevent dehydration (avoid acidic drinks such as fruit juice
  • eat soft foods like soup (avoid hot and spicy foods
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help ease a sore throat and bring down a temperature

A pharmacist can help with hand, foot and mouth disease

Speak to your pharmacist for advice about treatments, such as mouth ulcer gels, sprays, and mouthwashes to relieve pain. They can tell you which ones are suitable for children.

See Your GP if:

  • your symptoms don’t improve after 7 to 10 days
  • you or your child has a very high temperature, or feel hot and shivery
  • you are worried about your child’s symptoms
  • your child is dehydrated – they’re not peeing as often as usual
  • you are pregnant and get hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease is infectious. Check with your GP surgery before you go in. They may suggest a phone consultation.

How to Stop it Spreading

Hand, foot and mouth disease is spread easily to other people.  It is spread through coughs, sneezes and defecation.

You are infectious from a few days before you have any symptoms, but you’re most likely to give it to others in the first five days after symptoms start.

To reduce the risk of spreading hand, foot and mouth disease:

  • wash your hands often with warm water and soap (and teach children to do it)
  • use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • bin used tissues as quickly as possible
  • don’t share towels or household items (such as cups or cutlery)
  • wash soiled bedding and clothing on a hot wash

Stay off work or keep your child away from school or nursery while they’re feeling unwell.

Check with your school or nursery guidance on when children can return after hand, foot and mouth disease.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Pregnancy:

Although there’s normally no risk to the pregnancy or baby, it’s best to avoid close contact with anyone who has hand, foot and mouth disease. This is because:

  • having a high temperature during the first 3 months of pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, although this is very rare
  • getting hand, foot and mouth disease shortly before birth can mean the baby is born with a mild version of it
  • Speak to your GP or midwife if you have been in contact with someone with hand, foot and mouth disease.
  • If you can’t speak with your GP or widwife, or if you don’t know what to do next, call 111.


For those people I have not yet met, my name is Julia Headland and I am a registered health visitor and registered general nurse with a degree in public health and over 20 years of experience.  I am very pleased to work alongside the Norfolk House Nursery team.

You can arrange to meet me for confidential advice or guidance about your child’s health or development; during the pandemic these consultations are being conducted by Zoom or telephone.

My consultations are free of charge and they are confidential.

You can book an appointment with me via the Norfolk House Nursery staff.

You can also follow me on Facebook if you wish: