Help, My Kid Has Hand Foot Mouth Disease! Can Parents Get Sick Too?

Hand Foot Mouth disease is a common childhood illness, but can adults get sick too? Learn about this virus, and how to protect your family.

When your child gets sick, it can send some parents into panic mode. You start monitoring their temperature, eyeing the color of your child’s skin and calculating every drop they consume. Sickness can cause havoc in your family, and it can be more miserable if the parents become ill also. Hand, Foot Mouth disease is a common childhood virus that easily spreads mostly between children in the 0-5 years old range.

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How Did We Get Hand Foot Mouth Disease?

Hand Foot Mouth disease is a common childhood illness that passes from one person to the next through contact with bodily fluids such as sneezing and coughing. Close contact such as kisses and hugs, or touching surfaces infected with the virus are other ways to contract this illness. This illness is very contagious through fecal matter, which makes children who are ages 0-5 even more likely to both contract and pass it along then older children. It is common for this virus to break out in places such as daycares and preschools. It typically takes three to six days before symptoms start to appear. According to the Center For Disease Control’s website, Hand Foot and Mouth disease is most common in the spring through the fall. That is a large portion of the year folks. I think it is safe to say your child could pick up this virus at almost any time.

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Can Parents Catch Hand Foot Mouth Disease?

According to the NHS, it is not likely that an adult will contract this disease, but possible. WebMD also has a note that it is possible for adults to contract the Hand Foot Mouth Virus, but that cases are often much milder than when younger children have it. Adults who contract this virus are contagious and can then pass it along to both other children and adults. In some cases because symptoms are milder, the adult may not even realize they have Hand, Foot, and Mouth. Wash your hands well while you are taking care of your child.

What Symptoms Will We Have?

Only a doctor can truly determine if your child or you have Hand, Foot, Mouth disease.  You may notice your child develops a sudden low-grade fever and that your child’s appetite goes down. After a few days, your kid may have an itchy rash that spreads quickly. I personally researched this disease in depth when my daughter had Roseola, another childhood virus with a sudden red rash and fever but without the itchy blisters.

Painful sores may develop in the mouth that can be sensitive to food and drinks. You may also see itchy red blisters that pop up most commonly on the hands and feet, but also can appear on knees and in the diaper area. You can see a picture of the blisters and read one mom’s story at the Center For Disease Control’s Public Health Matters Blog.

I Think My Child Or I May Have Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease. What Now?

Confirm with your doctor that you do have this virus in the family. Symptoms for most children typically pass within a week, but this virus is very contagious and easily passed to others. In the meantime here are a few guidelines until you feel better!

  • Wash hands well regularly, especially after changing diapers
  • Disinfect household surfaces to avoid spreading the virus
  • Avoid close contact such as kisses and hugs or sharing eating utensils
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat cold items such as popsicles
  • Stay at home and rest

Readers, has anyone in your family ever had Hand Foot Mouth disease?

(Photo Credit: Larisa Okhtienko)

25 thoughts on “Help, My Kid Has Hand Foot Mouth Disease! Can Parents Get Sick Too?”

  1. I’m going thru this right now myself as I never got it as a child (I so wish I would have). I’m in so much pain it hurts to even pick up my daughters bottle. Sadly she too has it at almost 9 months but she’s currently doing way better then me. I’ve got sores all over my hands that itch and hurt and spots even on my face. My throat is the worst though with sores all over my mouth and tonsils. I would never wish this pain on anyone, I just wanted to show that it’s very easy to get as an adult especially if you’ve never had it as a child.

  2. I’m 14 and got it about 5 days ago. Thought it was strep throat but it wasnt. I went to the doctors and they said this is the most pain you will feel ever in your mouth. My whole throat and mouth is covered in open
    Blisters and I can’t even swallow my own saliva. I don’t have a rash anywhere just in my throat. It is said to last 10 days. This is so painful

  3. I caught this from my grand niece (18 months old) back in October…………..about 3 weeks after she had a very mild case. I had a sore throat, fever, fatigue for 24 hours, then around 10 blisters total on backs of hands………nothing on palms of hands, feet or mouth. I was fine in about three days, and her parents had no symptoms or discomfort. Don’t think they had it.

    HOWEVER….a week ago my two-year-old grand nephew presented with blisters on his hands and around his mouth. About 3 days later his dad, my nephew—and a doctor, started running a fever. On Christmas Day, his hands were COVERED (palms, backs, between fingers, fingers) with hundreds of painful blisters and were quite swollen. I felt so sorry for him. He had it much worse than his toddler.

    So far the baby (3 months) and the mother are fine. So are we…… far, but we swabbed ourselves constantly with antiseptic wipes the whole time we were there……..maybe 3 hours. Now we wait and see. Moral of the story…..I am in my late 60s, my nephew in his late 30s…….adults CAN get it.

  4. I am actually dealing with this now on me. My child never had it unless it was a mild case or she was a carrier or it and brought it home to me. It is the most painful experience I have had to deal with I know. My hand was the first to break out then my feet and feel like needles going into them. I really wish the Internet had more information on adult cases of this though since they are at risk too.

  5. Since starting nursery my son is always bringing home germs, but only a common cold. We have a health book at home ready for when he has symptoms I dont recognise. He hasn’t had hand, foot and mouth but this post has given me an insight of what to expect so thank you!

  6. These are the things that we do not really wanna read about but we need to read about. Thank you for posting this. I need to know more about this because I also have a child of my own. It’s quite scary but a sad fact of life.

  7. This isn’t something I have ever had to deal with or worry about, but it sure does sound confusing trying to figure out if you or your child is exhibiting symptoms. Very good guidelines to follow while feeling under the weather!

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