Hand, foot, and mouth disease is highly contagious in children. There are several types of enterovirus genus, but most commonly, the coxsackievirus causes hand, foot, and mouth disease. This disease can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infected person’s nasal and throat secretions, saliva, or stool. Hand, foot, and mouth disease is identified by blisters or sores in the mouth and a rash on the hand and feet, sometimes extending to the genitals and buttocks, causing itchiness. While this infection can impact individuals of all ages, it primarily affects children under the age of 5, with rare cases occurring in adults. Typically, it’s a mild condition that resolves without medical intervention within a few days to a week and seldom necessitates hospitalization.

Role of homeopathy in hand, foot, and mouth disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is known to be associated with blisters or sores in the mouth, a sore throat, a fever, and a rash on the hands, feet, and buttocks. Homeopathic medicines help in relieving the soreness of the throat. In addition, they alleviate mouth sores, which makes them less painful and makes it easier to swallow liquids. Rashes over the body are managed by homeopathic medicines by reducing the itching and preventing new rash formation. Fever is also controlled with homeopathic medicine, thereby giving relief to the patient. Homeopathic medicines can also be taken for prophylaxis. 

Seven effective homeopathic medicines for hand, foot, and mouth disease

Belladonna (Bell.) 

Common name: Deadly nightshade

Belladonna helps manage complaints of sore throat in hand, foot, and mouth disease. It is given when there is pain and discomfort in the throat. Redness, inflammation, and dryness are present in the throat, accompanied by a feeling of heat. Swallowing is painful, even with liquids. 

Hepar sulphuris calcareum (Hep.)

Common name: Sulfate of lime

Hepar sulph. is a significant medicine for hand, foot, and mouth disease with a sore throat when the pain extends to the ear. Swallowing or coughing can cause throat pain, making it hard to eat food. The throat is raw, with enlarged reddish follicles at the back. A plug of mucus is felt at the back of the throat. Fever and chills often accompany each other.

Phytolacca (Phyt.)

Common name: Poke root

Pain in the throat with a marked burning sensation is a significant indication for using Phytolacca for hand, foot, and mouth disease. The throat is inflamed and appears dark red or bluish-red. The throat feels rough and dry. The pain in the throat can extend to the ear, particularly while eating.

Mercurius solubilis (Merc.)

Common name: Quicksilver

Mercurius solubilis can be highly beneficial for treating cases of sores and blisters in the mouth associated with hand, foot, and mouth disease. Mercurius solubilis is indicated when the sores appear on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheek. The edges of the sores are red. Mouth and tongue remain moist with increased salivation. An offensive smell may be present in the mouth. 

Borax (Borx.)

Common name: Borate of sodium

Borax is the next prominently indicated medicine for managing sores in the mouth in cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease. The child may have sores that are painful and tender, and they may bleed frequently. Bleeding may occur during or after eating. The mucus membrane of the mouth is red, and a heat sensation may be present in the mouth. There is also a feeling of dryness in the mouth.

Sulphur (Sulph.)

Common name: Sublimated sulfur

Sulphur is a helpful medicine for treating skin rashes and hand, foot, and mouth disease. The rash may be itchy, and blisters filled with water may appear. The itching tends to get worse in the evening and at nighttime. Scratching the skin rash may lead to bleeding from the rash, which may later give a feeling of burning of the skin rash on rubbing.

Graphites (Graph.)

Common name: Black lead

Graphites is an effective medicine to treat skin rash in cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease. Affected skin is dry, rough, and may be cracked, too. Skin is raw and sore. Graphites is also a significant medicine to treat blisters on the skin with oozing of transparent, sticky, glutinous, and honey-like discharges.

Causative factors of hand, foot, and mouth disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses known as coxsackievirus and enterovirus. When a person contracts these viruses, they become contagious, meaning they can transmit the virus to others.

An individual who has contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease, the virus can be found in:

  • Nasal and throat secretions, such as saliva, drool, or nasal mucus
  • Fluid from blisters on the body
  • Feces/stools

Individuals with hand, foot, and mouth disease are typically most contagious during the initial week of the illness.

Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease

  • Fever and flu-like symptoms

Hand, foot, and mouth disease commonly starts with a fever and other flu-like symptoms 3-5 days after exposure to the virus. Fever can be mild to moderate. Other flu-like symptoms are sore throat and feeling sick.  

  • Mouth sores

Painful mouth sores may develop, usually starting as small red spots, often on the tongue and inside of the mouth. These sores later develop into a blister and can be more painful.

  • Difficulty swallowing

Difficulty in swallowing may develop due to mouth sores, and you may not feel like eating or drinking, may drool more than usual, and may prefer to eat or drink something cold. Consuming something soft and easy to digest is necessary to prevent further pain. 

  • Skin rash

A significant symptom to note is the appearance of a skin rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. This rash may also manifest on the buttocks, legs, and arms. Typically, it presents as flat or slightly raised red spots, occasionally accompanied by blisters with redness at their base. The fluid within these blisters may harbor the virus that is responsible for the hand, foot, and mouth disease. 

Treatment

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is not a severe clinical disease and will resolve within a week or so. Treatment is primarily supportive. Symptoms can be managed with the conventional mode of treatment to some extent. Staying well-hydrated is essential in cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease. 

Diet and lifestyle modification

  • Foods and beverages that are citric, such as oranges, lemons, and sodas, should be avoided.
  • It is best to stay away from food that is spicy and oily. 
  • Eat soft food that is easier to digest.
  • Hard-boiled eggs, watermelon, tofu, and coconut water are the foods that should be consumed. 
  • It’s advisable to refrain from consuming hot food and beverages as much as possible as they can lead to more pain and burning in the mouth.
  • Rest and avoid engaging in any physical activity.
  • You can help prevent catching or spreading by disinfecting surfaces that come in contact, using alcohol-based sanitizer, frequently washing your hands, and isolation. 
  • Avoid scratching the blisters; it may leave some marks or discoloration on that part. 
  • Keep blisters clean and avoid touching them, as the infection may spread to other places. 

 Conclusion

Hand, foot, and mouth disease easily passes from person to person, like a baton in a relay race, making it highly contagious but typically not severe. Most cases are resolved with minimal medical treatment. Complications of hand, foot, and mouth disease have a low incidence of complications. You can help stop its spread by cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that have contact with the virus, using alcohol-based sanitizer, frequently washing hands, and isolating. The isolation of children from other children is necessary to prevent the transmission of hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is common in children.

Homeopathic medicines are very effective in treating hand, foot, and mouth disease, and most importantly, they are safe and have no side effects. It’s recommended to seek advice from a homeopathic practitioner before taking any medication. Do not scratch the blisters and isolate yourself from others, as they may quickly spread to others. By avoiding contact with infected individuals, the spread of this disease will be limited. 

 References