Hand Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Children | Kids Clinic Singapore

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) / Herpangina

What is Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease (HFMD) or Herpangina?


Hand foot mouth disease (HFMD) is a highly infectious disease common in young children attending childcare or preschool.

Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection that can cause painful sores over areas like the child’s mouth, hands, feet and buttocks. Herpangina is similar to HFMD, but is characterised by blister-like ulcers on the roof of the mouth and at the back of the throat. These ulcers tend to be light gray with a red border.

Symptoms in children may include tiredness, sore throat or mild fever before the appearance of the sores or blisters. However, in some cases, there are very mild or no symptoms at all. This condition can last for up to 10 days if no treatment is taken.

What Causes HFMD or Herpangina?


Both HFMD and herpangina are caused by a similar virus called enterovirus. Enterovirus is highly contagious and is easily spread from person-to- person, especially when hygiene habits are not maintained. It is typically transmitted through contact with saliva, droplets from sneezing or coughing, or faecal matter of an infected person (e.g. when changing the diaper of a young child). There is an incubation period of 7 to 10 days before an exposed individual will start to present symptoms of the disease.

Is My Child At Risk of HFMD or Herpangina?


These diseases can affect individuals of all ages, both young and both. It can spread easily within a community setting and has been found to occur commonly in children below the age of 5 who attend school or childcare facilities.

When an individual is diagnosed with HFMD or herpangina, he or she will develop immunity towards the specific strain of virus that has caused the current infection. However, as there are several different strains of HFMD or herpangina viruses, it is possible to contract a different strain of the virus a subsequent time.

How can I Prevent HMFD or Herpangina?


Practicing good hygiene is the best way to prevent these illnesses. You and your child should cultivate proper hand hygiene habits before having meals and after using the toilet. Do not forget to cover your mouth and nose during coughing or sneezing as this can help reduce the spread of viruses.

When caring for a child with HFMD, always remember to practice proper hand washing techniques after any direct contact with your child, especially before handling food. Disinfecting surfaces and toys can help reduce the spread of the disease to others. Lastly, if your child is contagious, avoid outdoor activities, going to school or play areas as the disease may spread and infect other healthy children.

How Can I Manage My Child’s HFMD or Herpangina?


There is no specific treatment or vaccination for HFMD or herpangina as this infection is caused by a virus known as enterovirus.


If your child has been diagnosed with HFMD or herpangina, your child’s doctor will be able to prescribe medications for relief of symptoms such as sore throat and fever, depending on his/her age. It is also important for your child to get enough hydration and rest during this period to aid recovery.


As HFMD and herpangina are highly contagious, keep your child isolated from family members and the public to avoid spread of the infection. Once all the symptoms have cleared in 1 – 2 weeks, your child is safe to return to school.

Read other health topics related to infectious diseases in babies and young children:

About Kids Clinic

Because we believe that healthy children make happy parents. From newborns to toddlers, our experienced paediatricians are trained to meet a child’s health needs as they grow.

Our Kids Clinic branches are conveniently located in the heartlands for a fast and fuss-free visit.

A Singapore Medical Group Clinic

Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a private specialist and primary healthcare provider with a network of more than 20 medical specialties. The Group is committed to its promise of providing patient centred medical care and experience to every individual. SMG has 35 clinics and a growing network of SMG Associates all across the island.

For same-day consults/ appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

For same-day consults/appointments, kindly walk in to our clinics directly.

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