Certain precautions can help to reduce the risk of infection with hand-foot-and-mouth disease:

  • Wash hands carefully. Be sure to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper, and before preparing food and eating. When soap and water aren't available, use hand wipes or gels treated with germ-killing alcohol.
  • Disinfect common areas. Get in the habit of cleaning high-traffic areas and surfaces first with soap and water, then with a diluted solution of chlorine bleach, approximately 1/4 cup (59 milliliters) of bleach to 1 gallon (3.79 liters) of water. Child care centers should follow a strict schedule of cleaning and disinfecting all common areas, including shared items such as toys, as the virus can live on these objects for days. Clean your baby's pacifiers often.
  • Teach good hygiene. Show your children how to practice good hygiene and how to keep themselves clean. Explain to them why it's best not to put their fingers, hands or any other objects in their mouths.
  • Isolate contagious people. Because hand-foot-and-mouth disease is highly contagious, people with the illness should limit their exposure to others while they have active signs and symptoms. Keep children with hand-foot-and-mouth disease out of child care or school until fever is gone and mouth sores have healed. If you have the illness, stay home from work.
Aug. 26, 2011