The most common complication of hand-foot-and-mouth disease is dehydration. The illness can cause sores in the mouth and throat, making swallowing painful and difficult.
Watch closely to make sure your child frequently sips fluid during the course of the illness. If dehydration is severe, intravenous (IV) fluids may be necessary.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is usually a minor illness causing only a few days of fever and relatively mild signs and symptoms. A rare and sometimes serious form of the coxsackievirus can involve the brain and cause other complications:
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- Viral meningitis. This is a rare infection and inflammation of the membranes (meninges) and cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
- Encephalitis. This severe and potentially life-threatening disease involves brain inflammation caused by a virus. Encephalitis is rare.
- Modlin JF. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of enterovirus and parechovirus infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 28, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed June 28, 2014.
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/about/index.html. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease information sheet. World Health Organization. http://www.wpro.who.int/emerging_diseases/hfmd.information.sheet/en/#. Accessed June 29, 2014.
- Suzuki Y, et al. Risk factors for severe hand foot and mouth disease. Pediatrics International. 2010;52:203.
- Modlin JF. Epidemiology, pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of enterovirus and parechovirus infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 28, 2014.