Herpangina: A common Childhood Disease

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Pediatric Dental Diseases

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Though not much heard of, Herpangina is an illness caused by a virus. The group of viruses that cause Herpangina are known as enterovirus.

What is Herpangina?

The disease Herpangina is manifested in the form of small, blister-like ulcers on the roof of the mouth and in the back of the throat. Usually, it is a childhood disease and affects kids between the age group 1 to 4. However, this disease may also affect adults and it is commonly referred to as hand, foot and mouth disease. The lesions of Herpangina usually clear within a week and there are not much complications associated with it. Symptoms may also include a sudden fever, sore throat, headache, and neck pain.

Why are infants the more affected ones?

Some medical experts again opine that Herpangina and the HFM (Hand Foot and Mouth disease) are separate illnesses. However they are closely related as the virus responsible causing them is the same. Both conditions are caused by enteroviruses.

Enteroviruses are a group of viruses that typically affect your gastrointestinal tract. Usually, the body’s immune system produces antibodies (they are proteins that recognize and destroy viruses and bacteria) to fight off infection. Now, since infants and young children do not have or have not developed the appropriate antibodies, they are more susceptible to enteroviruses. The disease is contagious enough but the good news is that the symptoms fade away within a maximum of 10 days!

What lets you know that your child has herapangina?

In infants especially, symptoms are hard to read. Your dentist detects herpangina in your child (especially if he or she has not learnt to speak yet) if the any of the following symptoms show up:

    • Drooling
    • Loss of appetite and/or vomiting
    • Swollen lymph glands
    • Fever along with lesions that are light grey in color usually with a red border
    • Dehydration symptoms like dry mouth or dark urine

Things to know about the spread of Herpangina

The virus that causes Herpangina, are highly contagious and easily spreads from in schools and childcare centers. Mediums through which these viruses are transmitted typically are:

    • Contact with fecal matter
    • Contact with particles from an infected person’s sneeze or cough.
    • If the child touches his or her mouth after touching something that is contaminated

The enteroviruses are capable of living on surfaces and objects, such as counter tops and toys, for several days altogether! Therefore, there is hardly any way to prevent the spread of this disease. If children come in contact with the virus, they are highly prone to get affected! Only the immune system of a growing kid can keep chances of being infected at bay.

Your pediatric dentist normally prescribes medicines to ease the pain and the fever. Often certain anesthetics are used to provide relief from a sore throat. However, medications are not that important. A child’s dentist would also advice the intake of plenty of fluids and cold beverages. If the kid is a little matured, gargling with peroxyl is of great help too.