Coxsackie (Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease)

Archived Q&A and Reviews


5-year old with tongue ulcers

Dec 2010

My 5-year old has been complaining about her tongue hurting off & on when she eats for probably the past 6 weeks. We all had some sort of virus 6 weeks ago where we got tongue ulcers, but it went away after a week. For her, it persists.

They are small white spots that are raised a bit. There aren't alot, but I can definitely see them.

Anyone go through this? I am considering taking her to the doctor but I feel like they're just going to say these are things we all get. I just think it's odd that she's had them for so long.

She hasn't eaten any new foods (she is very picky, so it's not like she's introducing new items to her diet !).

I've read on the internet (bad idea, I know) that this could be a sign of an autoimmune disorder, so now I'm paranoid. Laura

You should ask your doc about it, or google ''coxsackie virus'' AKA hand, foot and mouth disease. The main symptom is painful blisters or ulcers inside the mouth. It is very common in children - most adults have been exposed to it too. My son had it as a toddler and didn't want to eat anything for 2 days. Very contagious but usually only lasts a few days. a Mom

Gosh, that must really hurt! When I get cold sores, which these could be a form of, I apply plain or slightly sweetened yogurt and just let it sit there. It is really soothing. And perhaps the organisms in the yogurt help replace the ones causing the sores. I don'tknow. And if your kid is in pain, it is probably a good idea to consult with a medical person if you can't figure it out yourself. anon

My 3-y-o was diagnosed with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Nov 2007

My nearly 3 year old was diagnosed yesterday with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. It has truly been two of the worst days of my life! His mouth hurts so bad that he won't drink or eat anything. I have had to resort to squirting water down his throat with a syringe so we don't have to make a trip to the ER for dehydration. Getting him to take his Tylenol and Motrin is also aweful. Does anyone know how long it will take before I see some improvement? I am of course hoping that he will be feeling much better by Thanksgiving (3 days away). sc

I know what you mean! It was so painful, my son weaned when he got coxackie (HFM). Your child may have recovered by now, but I wanted to let you know you can get Tylenol suppositories for kids, that avoid the swallowing issue. My child preferred them to swallowing meds when she had coxackie. I also liked that there is not color or sweeteners in them. One other idea- popsicles are sometimes easier to eat for fluids because the cold numbs the pain somewhat. You can freeze your own juice. Avoid citrus, though. R.K.

Painful cold sores on my 3-year-old's tongue

Nov 2005

I was wondering if anyone has any experience with cold sores in their children's mouth. My daughter who is almost three years old has two cold sores on her tongue, one of which is very large. She is really in a lot of pain and won't eat due to the cold sores. I've been able to get her to eat some oatmeal and yogurt, which was a challenge unto itself, but that is about it. She says drinking from a sippy cup hurts as does drinking from a straw (which blew my plan to give her a protein drink). I bought some over the counter medicine from the drug store that can be used on children 2 years old and up although she hates the taste and therefore won't open her mouth to let me put it on. Basically she cries and whines for a good portion of the day telling me her tongue hurts.

Any suggestions or advice would be welcome. My heart breaks for my little girl and I feel as if there is nothing I can do to make her feel better. Thanks. LT

Your daughter might have hand foot and mouth disease. My boss' two kids ( 2 and infant age) just recently had this ailment and she told me that it was running rampant through the girl's daycare...I'm not completely familiar with all of the symptoms but I do believe that blisters in the mouth is one... anon

You should consult with your pediatrician - I think there are a couple of things it could be - herpes virus, which causes cold sores, or Coxsackie virus which causes foot and mouth disease.

Our son had herpes virus sores in his mouth when he was 2. He would not eat or drink, he cried and cried, and he screamed when we tried to look in his mouth. I actually didn't see the sores - I thought he must have an impacted tooth and that's why we took him to the doctor. She showed us that there were a bunch of little red sores all over his tongue and on the inside of his mouth. The pediatrician prescribed an oral pain killer and this helped enormously, and the sores eventually went away after 4 or 5 days. During that time, though, I basically held him in my lap 24/7 and we watched movies to keep his mind off the pain.

I think this is common in young children - most of us adults had it when we were young - and it is very contagious. Ginger

My daughter is now 17, but when she was little she often would get multiple, painful sores in her mouth, especially on her tongue. When she was eight and began to see an orthodontist, the suggestion was made that we try Crest Toothpaste instead of the Colgate we had been using forever. Guess what? No more cold sores. Go figure. So, I would suggest looking at your toothpaste. More important, ask your dentist or doctor for advice. anon

My daughter had as many as 3 cold sores in her mouth and we saw her pediatrician about it. There was a huge cold sore on her tongue and she wouldn't eat much either and it looked like it hurt so bad. Unfortunately, there's nothing much I was told that you can do to get the cold sores to go away. They take about a week's time. But the pediatrician did recommend an over the counter product called, ''Gly Oxide'' which you can use as many times a day to help keep the sores and the mouth area clean. I think it helped ease the pain a bit and my daughter loved it so much that she would ask for it. It would break my heart too to see my daughter not eat for so long and one thing that she did take was soup that was taken with a straw. Hope this helps a bit. anon

There is a chance that your daughter may have hand, foot and mouth disease, which starts off with sores in the mouth and then eventually the hands and feet. In any case, you should take her to a doctor for diagnosis instead of second guessing what could be wrong. If she develops a high fever, then it is definitely hand foot mouth disease. There was an outbreak of this recently at my son's daycare, and according to the literature they gave us, it's very contagious. anon

At 18 months my son had his entire mouth covered in horrible cold sores (herpes infection I believe). He would try to eat and fall to the floor in pain, roll around on the floor with his eyes rolled back in his head screaming. He was losing weight and becoming dehydrated. He had a fever and everything and the doctor perscribed some medication (which I ended up never using). I went straight to the pharmacy and while standing in line (for 1/2 an hour) with my son screaming and crying I happened to bend down to pick him up right in front of the children's chloroseptic (throat spray). He was only 18 months old, but at that point I was desperate and the front of the line was still very far away. I grabbed the bottle off the shelf and sprayed his mouth (which was wide open). It gave him immediate relief. I mean immediate. He sighed with relief, drank from his bottle and fell asleep. I took that bottle home with me and used it liberally. He was able to eat, drink and sleep OK after that and though it was still rough we got through it. I had no problem getting him to open his mouth, usually I knew he needed it because he'd come running to me with his mout wide open already. I've used that for cold sores ever since because for years after he got them very often. feeling their pain

How coincidental to read your msg-- we just went thru the same thing with my 5yo daughter-- a canker sore on the tip of her tongue which hurt her so much it woke her up at night. She too complained that it hurt to eat. I tried an oral topical treatment that was supposed to numb the pain and she screamed and said it was worse. So we just endured it. She did suck on a few ice cubes/popsicles which were temporarily helpful, but overall we just had to wait until the pain subsided (about 2 days). I plan on talking to our pediatrician about it to get better ideas the next time we're there. Good luck. anon

Hand, foot and mouth disease going around?

Nov 2004

Does anyone have information/experience with Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease? I'm told its been passing through some local parks and my child's friend has it. Thank you.

My 2-year old just suffered through this - he caught it at his daycare (contagious via saliva, poop, blister-on-blister). The first symptom was discomfort in his mouth and a lot of drooling; at first, we though his molars were coming in. Then he said it was his tongue, and after looking in his mouth, I saw he had one little sore on one side, We thought he'd bitten his tongue. He got increasingly cranky and fussy about eating. The next day I picked him up early from school and had him lean back to look in his mouth. He now had a 2nd sore on his tongue and tiny red bumps along the back roof of his mouth. I bullied my way into the doctor's office where they confirmed it was a virus (although the Dr. didn't call it H/F/M). Since it's a virus, you can't get an anti-biotic, but he did prescribe a Benadryl-based medicine that you use to ''coat'' the mouth (tricky with a 2-year old - but we established a ritual whereby he leaned back and I used one of those 'hypodermic needle'-style medicine dispensers to get it all over the nooks & crannies in his mouth.) NOTE: I had to go to 3 pharmacies to get this presription filled - it is a compound mix (?) and apparently most neighborhood pharmacies don't have the capability on-site to mix.

Anyways, long story long, the next 3 days were painful indeed, as our son did not want to put anything in his mouth. However, he quickly became a fan of popsicles, and we were able to get him to eat smoothies, yogurt, ice cream and even a little babyfood. It's really important to make sure they stay hydrated, and we successfully positioned water with ice cubes as a way of releiving the pain in his mouth. Sleeping was very difficult as he'd wake himself up constantly when swallowing (I guess) so I camped out next to his bed for two nights to offer comfort. The mouth healed within 3 days; he only got a few little bumps on fingers/toes/butt.

Coincidentally, I have had this same virus twice within the last year, without him catching it (our nanny had it once too). Having suffered through it, I can really appreciate how painful it is for our babies. One of my symptoms - fingernails peeling off - luckily didn't materialize for my son, but is another thing to keep an eye out for. anon

My son had hand, foot, and mouth disease when he was 2. It's a nasty viral illness, but not particularly dangerous -- it results in painful blisters in the mouth and/or rash on the hands and feet, also possibly in the diaper area. Basically, my son didn't eat for three or four days because his mouth was so sore, and he cried a lot. Then he got better, and I believe once children have it, they develop immunity. I'm not sure what you mean by ''passing through local parks;'' certainly it is contagious, and when kids have it and come in contact with other kids, they pass it on. I believe for some reason it tends to be most prevalent in the fall. Karen

hand foot and mouth disease is a very contagious virus that is pretty minor and self-limiting (it goes away on its own). red itchy bumps appear on hands, feet and inside the mouth. my nieces had it recently and they said the bumps felt tingly and a little numb though I think this is not a common reaction. Pediatricians don't generally keep kids home from school or other activities and only treat it symptomatically - benadryl for the itching if it becomes too annoying. anon

Google ''coxsackie virus'' and you'll find loads of information. It is quite common around here in the fall, ranges from quite mild to very painful (it led my two-year-old to wean when his mouth was too sore to suck). It is viral, but there are several strains, so having it once doesn't guarantee your child won't get another strain some other time. Other than possible dehydration (from reluctance to drink), I don't think there are any major risks associated with it - it can lead to a very cranky child, though! RK

here's a link to the CDC website on hand, foot and mouth disease. anon

My oldest son had hand, foot and mouth disease when he was 5 months old. From what I understand, this is a fairly common viral illness - especially for children in childcare. He ran a fever for a few days and then had a blistery rash on the palms of his hands, soles of his feet and in his mouth. It passed within a week or so. In the meantime, he was fussy while eating (the sores in his mouth hurt and caused him to drool quite a bit). I gave him tylenol to deal with the fever and pain. When my son caught it, it was the first time he had been sick, so I was pretty shaken up (and the name sounds menacing). From what I understand, though, once a child has caught it, they build an immunity and won't catch it again. Jennifer

My 11-month-old son got hand, foot and mouth disease this fall-- a common time to contract it. He was fussy, a little feverish, and he didn't want to eat. Our pediatrician diagnosed him immediately (spots at the back of his mouth, nothing on his hands or feet) and recommended children's Tylenol or ibuprofen to relieve his mouth pain and make it more comfortable to eat/drink. The whole thing cleared up in less than a week. Anon