Is HFMD Contagious?

Q: I’m a 29 year old female with a 5 year old daughter who has HFMD. Her symptoms started about 5 days ago. Now my throat feels raw. I have, what appears to be a blister on my thumb. My palms are itchy and I feel weak. Should I refrain from work if I have a fever? I don’t want my coworkers taking this home to their children.
-By Amber

Reply:

Your concern for your coworkers is really appreciable.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is definitely contagious, especially during the phase of active illness. Since you have fever, your are in the active phase of illness.

Spread of Disease

The disease spreads by direct contact with the nasal discharge, saliva, feces or fluids from the rash of an infected person.

So it may spread during situations like:

  • The infected person coughs or sneezes near you
  • Fluid from any of her skin rash touches your skin during a simple hand shake
  • Using a common handkerchief or wash cloth

It would be desirable to stay at home till the active illness is there.

Even after your symptoms subside, the causative organism is still there in your body. It takes time for it to go completely. However, people in that stage are much less contagious.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.