Coxsackievirus: I Don’t Love The Sound Of That

by Tara Saltzburg 1 Comment

Hey There,

It’s that time of year – we’re back in the school flow and we’re feeling pretty good. A little too good, actually. Nothing can stop us now! Unless, of course, our kids come home with some sort of contagious illness like Coxsackievirus, otherwise known as “Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease”.

Parenting is hard enough, so throwing in a strange childhood illness that’s on the rise, and giving it a name like “Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease”, is no bueno.

The first time a new parent hears that their child has Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease (HFMD), a few thoughts come to mind:

  • “Was it the petting zoo?” No, that’s Foot (Hoof) and Mouth disease that affects cattle, sheep, and swine.
  • Perhaps we could’ve come up with a name that didn’t sound so similar to the disease that affects cattle, sheep and swine. For another time…
  • “Then WTH is this??” Sometimes referred to as "Coxsackie," this virus is quite common and, you guessed it, super contagious! HFMD is absolutely no fun, but there are things you can do to help your sick child feel better.

What is it?


Daily Health Post






Most often caused by the coxsackievirus, children under 5 are most susceptible, although anyone – even adults – can get it. (One of the WB moms may have even gotten it last year and given it to several of her husband’s golfing buddies. Whoops.) However, most adults have strong immune systems that protect against HFMD.

Here’s What To Expect:


Back To The Contagious Part…

It’s likely your little one picked up HFMD at daycare or the playground. The virus can be transmitted through body secretions like nose and throat mucus, fluid in the blisters, and stools. The week your child shows symptoms is when the virus is most contagious, although the virus can be transmitted for weeks afterward. Because it’s so highly contagious, your daycare or school should be informed immediately upon noticing symptoms. They’ll need to make other parents aware so they can keep an eye out for symptoms in their own child. In most cases, you’ll need to keep your child home until the fever goes down and the blisters are no longer open.

How should I care for my child with HFMD?

In most cases, the condition lasts between seven to ten days, and there’s really not much you can do other than monitor your child’s temperature and ensure they are eating enough. In severe cases of HFMD, your child will feel so miserable they won’t want to eat or drink anything. This can lead to malnutrition and dehydration so you’ll need to continue monitoring to be sure your child takes in the proper amounts of food and water. Foods like ice cream, gelatin, applesauce, and anything else that doesn’t require much chewing, will help get calories in without irritating mouth sores. Of course, avoid anything acidic (like orange juice or tomatoes) as well as anything salty or spicy.

If your child is at least 3 months old, then your pediatrician may prescribe a dose of acetaminophen. For babies at least 6 months old, ibuprofen can also help.  If your child is over a year old, there are liquid remedies that can help soothe mouth sores, so be sure to ask your doctor for recommendations.

(You may want to try this "Magic Mouthwash"; it could be a lifesaver!)

Can my child get HFMD more than once?

Wish we could say “no,” but unfortunately, HFMD is similar to the cold in that many viral strains exist. So while children can develop immunity to the specific strain that caused the sickness in the first place, many others exist.

How can I prevent HFMD?

There is no vaccine for HFMD, so to prevent it, be sure your child and even babies wash their hands regularly. Also, always disinfect toys and other objects that might have germs on them – especially those that are shared with multiple children. And, of course, avoid infected children.

Although HFMD is very common, as long as you take proper precautions, your child will be less susceptible to catching it. Just have a lot of sanitizer ready if they do! 



XO, Tara

PS - In case you were wondering why the disease is sometimes called Coxsackievirus, it's named after Coxsackie, NY, the town in which the virus was first isolated. #TheMoreYouKnow

Related: "Magic Mouthwash" To Soothe HF&M Discomfort

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1 Response


July 17, 2018

This is the second time our daughter has caught HFM… And lucky for me… My second time as well. It seems (from other blog posts) that the fathers tend to catch it more than the mothers. All I can say is that it’s hell. At first… Ots no big deal… Mild flu symptoms, runny/clogged nose, tiredness… And then, a few days later you’ll encounter a 12 hr episode of intense flu symptoms – shaking, sweating, incredible pain in all of your muscles and joints and then…. It’ll stop. A day or two later you’ll syart to have itchy hands/feet and …. Hello red dots! These red dots are very similar to chicken pox bot, being on the hands and feet, really limit mobility. It hurts to walk, hurts to open a water bottle… It sucks.
The next three days will be crappy with the bumps slowly going away. My first bout of HFM lasted 2 weeks… :-(

Tara Saltzburg

About The Author

Tara Saltzburg founded Westyn Baby when her son was an infant battling severe eczema. She was always on the lookout for products that would minimize the irritation and ease his discomfort, but safe, non-irritating pajamas proved difficult to find. Tara started Westyn Baby in 2016 with a mission to create better, safer sleepwear for kids - sleepwear that's exceptionally soft, flame-retardant free, sensitivity-friendly, and durable. Read more about WB sleepwear.

Tara was born and raised at the NJ shore and attended Penn State University, where she played soccer and discovered her love of mountain life. She is a mom of one boy and hopes to eventually have enough kids to form some sort of athletic team. She and her family currently reside in Central Pennsylvania and spend the summers in Stone Harbor, NJ.