Posted by: Christopher Maloney, Naturopathic Doctor | July 29, 2012

Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease: Do We Have Any Treatments?

English: The rash of hands foot and mouth disease.

English: The rash of hands foot and mouth disease. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember being in Singapore during an outbreak of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.  They shut the schools and quarantined the children.  It seemed a little drastic, particularly as it went on for weeks and I had a small child who didn’t like being stuck in the apartment all day.

Here in the U.S., we don’t do things like shutting the schools and quarantines.  We don’t even bother making Hand, Foot and Mouth disease a reportable disease, so the only cases the CDC hears about are those that have concerned the physicians.  We’ve had outbreaks in the summer and fall, and the experience in Asia has been quite severe in recent years.  Maybe it is time to consider making this illness a reportable one?

In the case where a child may have hand, foot, and mouth, we have no official treatments.  But in looking through the literature, I see we’re hard at work on a vaccine, and the go-to treatment is high dose steroids.

There are many substances that have shown to be effective on blocking the most common virus EV71, but many are also toxic in large doses.  Several of the less toxic are basil and tea.  So far we have avoided deaths from hand, foot and mouth in the U.S. , but we still take this illness too lightly if the Asian epidemics are any indication of what may be in store.

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