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:

  • 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.
Aug. 22, 2014

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.