Children - Herpangina

What is herpangina?

Herpangina is an illness caused by a virus, characterized by small blister-like bumps or ulcers that appear in the mouth, usually in the back of throat or the roof of the mouth. The child often has a high fever with the illness.

What causes herpangina?

Herpangina is caused by a virus. The most common viruses that cause herpangina include the following:

  • Coxsackie viruses A and B

  • Enterovirus 71

  • Echovirus (less often)

Herpangina is a very common disease in children and is usually seen in children between the ages of 3 and 10. It is seen most often in the summer and fall. Good hand washing is necessary to help prevent the spread of the disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of herpangina?

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of herpangina. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Blister-like bumps in the mouth, usually in the back of the throat and on the roof of the mouth

  • Headache

  • Quick onset of fever

  • High fever, sometimes up to 106° F (41° C)

  • Pain in the mouth or throat

  • Drooling

  • Decrease in appetite

How is herpangina diagnosed?

Herpangina is usually diagnosed based on a complete history and physical examination of your child. The lesions of herpangina are unique and usually allow for a diagnosis simply on physical examination.

Treatments

Specific treatment for herpangina will be determined by your child's doctor based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the disease

  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

The goal of treatment for herpangina is to help decrease the severity of the symptoms. Since it is a viral infection, antibiotics are ineffective. Treatment may include:

  • Increased fluid intake

  • Acetaminophen for any fever

  • Bland diet, such as cold milk and ice cream (avoid acidic and spicy foods)

Proper hand-washing is essential in helping to prevent the disease from being spread to other children.

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