How contagious is hand-foot-and-mouth to adults?

How contagious is hand-foot-and-mouth to adults?

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a viral infection that commonly affects children in NZ and around the world. It is usually characterized by sore blisters and rashes in the hand, foot, and mouth of the infected person. 

Can hand-foot-and-mouth disease be passed on to adults? 

Hand-foot-and-mouth is an infectious disease that can be passed on from one person to another. Having said that, it is interesting to note that very few adolescents and adults get infected by the disease. 

In rare cases that an adult catches the disease, the condition tends to be mild and not serious. However, it can be more severe if the infected person is an elderly, pregnant, or with a weak immune system. 

How is it transmitted? 

  • Direct skin contact

  • Contact with the nasal mucus or saliva of the infected person

  • Contact with the feces of the infected child. This can happen through the contamination of objects in the house. 

How long is the contagious period of hand-foot-and-mouth disease in NZ? The virus may stay and spread for as long as three weeks. It is most contagious during the first week of infection.


What are the symptoms of hand-foot-and-mouth disease?

  • Lesions on hands and feet. These can appear on the palms and fingers, as well as on the soles and toes. 

  • Ulcers, or sores, on the tongue, gums, and inner cheek of the mouth

  • Red spots and blisters on the buttocks

  • Rashes without blistering

  • Fever

  • Sore throat

  • Headache

  • Loss of appetite

Hand-foot-and-mouth is not caused by fungi. However, some symptoms may look like that of a fungal skin infection

Aside from physical examination, a clinical test may be necessary for a proper diagnosis of this disease. This may include stool analysis, blood test, and skin biopsy. 


While the blisters can be painful, hand-foot-and-mouth disease is actually not a serious illness. The virus may go away on its own even without medicines. 

However, infected people should still go to the doctor for proper treatment. This is very important because children can suffer and get complications from the wrong administration of medicine. 

Common Medicines for HMF disease include:

  • Topical ointments

  • Pain relievers like ibuprofen 

  • Lozenges for sore throat

To provide relief from pain, home remedies like the ones listed below may help:

  1. Swab some coconut oil or other gentle oils onto the rashes to treat blisters and avoid inflammation. 

  2. Alternatively, you may use a hypoallergenic and anti-itch lotion. 

  3. Always keep the blisters clean. 

  4. Drink ginger tea every day. Ginger has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. 

  5. Cold treats like ice cream and smoothies may help with a sore throat. This is because cold foods have a numbing effect on the throat.


Proper hygiene is key to stopping the spread of this disease. As an adult, always wash your hands properly. Common areas in the house should be cleaned and disinfected.

Children should also learn to wash their hands often, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. Moreover, it is important to teach children not to put any object in the mouth.

If you need to buy medication for hand-foot-and-mouth disease, just go and visit Royal Oak Pharmacy in Auckland, NZ.