Herpangina and Children: Symptoms and Finding Relief

Children are prone to bumps and bruises of all types because of their curiosity and active lifestyle. What if painful, red bumps form in their mouth, though, that's not the result of falling down? Your child may have contracted herpangina. Read on to learn more about the condition and how you can relieve discomfort.

More About This Condition

Herpangina is a viral infection common in children between 1 and 4 years of age. According to Boston Children's Hospital, this condition manifests with small blister-like lesions in the mouth and throat. The cause is often attributed to the ECHO virus, explains the National Institutes of Health. This contagious condition peaks in the summer and fall and cases are reported worldwide. Although mostly prevalent in children, adults can also contract herpangina, also known as hand, foot and mouth disease. Herpangina can be uncomfortable for your child, but the lesions and symptoms usually clear within a week without complications.

Symptoms of Herpangina

Along with the mouth sores, this condition may also cause headache, fever, loss of appetite and a sore throat making swallowing very painful. The mouth sores resemble small fluid-filled bumps or blisters that appear white or whitish gray with a red border. They are visible on the roof of the mouth, back of the throat, and other fixed areas inside the mouth. Fever onset can be quick and range from 101 to as high as 106. Avoiding dehydration with palliative remedies is paramount.

Relieving Discomfort

Since this condition is viral, treating the symptoms is all you can do to make your child comfortable. Most often, herpangina is diagnosed by a healthcare professional, but it is considered mild and has no specific treatment. Some suggestions to relieve symptoms are:

  • Reducing pain and fever with ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Increasing cold fluids or foods, like sugar-free ice pops
  • Eating a non-irritating, bland diet
  • Gargling with cool water or Peroxyl

Trying to maintain the oral environment while your child is sick may be a challenge, but encourage or assist with toothbrushing and other oral hygiene routines. Swish with a mouthwash to promote the healing of minor mouth irritations. But be sure to check in with your dentist that a rinse is age-appropriate before incorporating it into your child's oral care routine.

Like many other viruses, herpangina is contagious and can be spread easily to classmates or siblings. It is important to take precautions like good hand hygiene and disinfecting surfaces your child has touched. Perhaps most important is isolating your ill child and keeping them home from school or daycare until they have completely recovered.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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