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Drool Rash vs. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

September 7, 2023

Health concerns can cause confusion and contradiction, especially with children under our care. For example, how do you differentiate between a drool rash vs. hand, foot, and mouth (HFM) disease? 

You must consult a healthcare professional to diagnose and treat these or any medical condition correctly. We want to help you provide the best care for your loved ones. 

So, let's talk about the basics of HFM disease and point out some differences between the viral infection and drool rash. 

What Is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?

According to the CDC:"Hand, foot, and mouth disease is common in children under 5 years old, but anyone can get it. The illness is usually not serious, but it is very contagious […] Most children have mild symptoms for 7 to 10 days."

This viral infection spreads through close contact, respiratory droplets, and touching surfaces or objects that have been contaminated. HFM disease often starts with a fever, sore throat, and loss of appetite, followed by a red rash on the hands and feet. 

Mouth sores may also appear on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks. 

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin advises that HFM disease is most common in the summer and fall. 

How to Prevent Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

It all comes down to good hygiene! Ensure you and your children are washing your hands properly, and clean surfaces frequently with disinfectant. 

Wipe down frequently used surfaces, such as doorknobs and cabinet handles, often, and shared items like toys. Teach your kids not to put their hands in their mouths, especially after touching shared surfaces and objects. 

The best way to prevent hand, foot, and mouth disease from afflicting your family is to avoid contact with infected people. 

How Should Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Be Treated?

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin states that most HFM symptoms will go away within 7-10 days, and no medication or antibiotic will cure the disease. However, symptoms can be relieved with over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but always consult your child's doctor for the correct dosages. 

A sore throat can be soothed with fruit popsicles and cold drinks. Avoid giving your child acidic foods or hot beverages, which could aggravate a sore throat, but keep them hydrated. 

Can You Put Anything on Hand, Foot, and Mouth Blisters?

Yes. Typically, you can apply topical ointments for blisters, such as zinc oxide and petroleum jelly, but avoid popping them. Again, consult with a pediatrician first!

The most identifiable hand, foot, and mouth recovery signs are the disappearance of mouth sores and skin rashes. However, remember that people can still be contagious after their sores and rashes disappear. 

Take your child to their doctor if they are getting dehydrated, their fever lasts more than three days, symptoms become very severe, or your child is younger than 6 months old. (Source: CDC). 

Drool Rash Signs & Symptoms

Drool rash occurs when there is excessive saliva on the skin. A telltale drool rash generally appears around the following areas of the body:

  • Mouth
  • Neck
  • Chest

The rash is also rough, scattered, and red. 

Unlike HFM disease, drool rash doesn't usually present with blisters or affect the hands and feet.

Find More Caregiving Resources

At Best Care, ensuring the well-being of your family is our utmost priority. We hope you and your loved ones stay healthy this fall, winter, and beyond! Remember to stay connected to our blog for more resources and contact our team for questions about caregiving.

Signs of hand, foot, mouth disease on child's hands.
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