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Is hand foot and mouth disease similar to chicken pox

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Hand foot and mouth disease is not the same as chicken pox. Chicken pox is caused by the Varicella virus and hand foot mouth disease is caused by the coxsackie virus. If you get hand foot mouth disease you can still get chicken pox. There is no treatment for hand foot mouth disease but there is a highly effective vaccine for chicken pox. Both diseases are most common in kids under 12 but can occur in adults as well.

The course of hand foot and mouth disease is as follows:

Exposure to the virus, 5-7 days later the patient will experience an elevated temperature or fever. A sore throat will soon follow. 1-2 days after the fever begins, painful sores develop in the mouth, throat, tongue, and inside of cheeks. 1-2 days later a rash appears on the palms, feet and sometimes the buttocks. The course of the disease is usually mild and short lived with symptoms being completely gone within a week.

Symptoms of hand foot mouth disease are as follows:


Painful sores in mouth and throat

A red rash with lesions or blisters on the palms, feet and sometimes the buttocks, These lesions do not itch.

A sore throat and malaise also accompany hand foot mouth disease.

The course of chicken pox is as follows

Exposure to the virus.

Approximately 2 weeks after exposure the to varicella virus a fever and sore throat develop. A stomach ache often accompanies this stage of the disease as well.

1-2 days after the first symptoms appear the pox begin to show up on your skin. The pox go through a 1-2 day cycle of showing up as a red spot, changing to a blister, popping of the blister,drying and crusting over. New spots continue to show up every day for 5-7 days. You can go back to school or work when all the blisters have crusted over, usually 10 days after symptoms first begin.

Symptoms of chicken pox are fever, headache, stomach ache, red rash pox that form blisters, pop, dry and crust over.

I hope this differentiation between hand foot mouth disease and chicken pox was helpful.

(Originally answered in the old site by Jana Hartley.)

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