Definition

What is herpangina?

Herpangina is a common disease in the childhood, caused by a virus. Its characteristics may include small, blister-like ulcers on the roof of the mouth and in the back of the throat. Additionally, the infection may also cause a sudden fever, sore throat, headache, and neck pain.

Herpangina is quite similar to hand-foot-mouth disease (HFM), but HFM is caused by another type of viral infection that commonly affects children. Both conditions are caused by enteroviruses, which are known as a group of viruses that typically affect the gastrointestinal tract but sometimes spread to other parts of the body. Generally, the body’s immune system produces antibodies to fight off infection. Antibodies are proteins that play a role in recognizing and destroying some harmful substances, such as viruses and bacteria. However, infants and young children are less possibly to have the appropriate antibodies because they haven’t developed them yet. This makes them more susceptible to enteroviruses than adults.

The groups of viruses that cause herpangina are very contagious. Luckily, the symptoms are treatable and usually clear up within seven to 10 days.

How common is herpangina?

Herpangina can affect anyone, but it most commonly occurs in children under age 5. It’s particularly common in children who attend school, childcare facilities, or camps.  The risk of developing herpangina is higher during the summer and fall.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of herpangina?

The signs and symptoms of herpangina may vary from one person to another. These signs listed below are considered as some common signs, include:

  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling (in infants)
  • Vomiting (in infants)
  • Small ulcers in the back of the mouth and throat begin to appear about two days after the initial infection. They tend to be light gray and often have a red border. The ulcers usually heal within seven days.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes herpangina?

Herpangina is a condition commonly caused by group A coxsackieviruses. However, in other cases, it can also be caused by group B coxsackieviruses, enterovirus 71, and echovirus. These viruses are highly contagious and can easily spread from person to person, especially in schools and childcare centers. People who are infected with herpangina are most contagious during the first week of infection.

Contacting with contaminated fecal matter, droplets from an infected person’s sneeze or cough are the most common way to transmit the disease from one person to another. This means that you can get herpangina if you touch your mouth after touching something that’s contaminated with fecal particles or droplets from an infected person. The virus can live on surfaces and objects, such as countertops and toys, for several days.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for herpangina?

You may have higher risks for this condition if you are experiencing these following conditions:

  • Children under age 5
  • Children who attend school, childcare facilities, or camps
  • The risk of developing herpangina is higher during the summer and fall.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is herpangina diagnosed?

Because the ulcers caused by herpangina are quite unique, your doctor can usually diagnose this condition by performing a physical exam.

They will also review your symptoms and medical history.

Other special diagnostic tests usually aren’t necessary. 

How is herpangina treated?

The main goal of treatment is to reduce and manage symptoms, especially the pain. Depending on a variety of factors, such as your age, symptoms, and tolerance for certain medications, the specific treatment option will be determined. Since herpangina is a viral infection, antibiotics aren’t an effective form of treatment. Instead, your doctor may recommend:

Ibuprofen or acetaminophen

These medications can ease any discomfort and reduce fever. Do not use aspirin to treat symptoms of a viral infection in children or teenagers. This has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a life-threatening illness that results in sudden swelling and inflammation in the liver and brain.

Topical anesthetics

Certain anesthetics, such as lidocaine, can provide relief for a sore throat and any other mouth pain associated with herpangina.

Increased fluid intake

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids during recovery, especially cold milk and water. Eating popsicles can also help soothe a sore throat. Avoid citrus drinks and hot beverages, as they may make symptoms worse.

With treatment, symptoms should disappear within seven days with no lasting effects.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage herpangina?

Following these tips can help you to avoid Herpangina:

  • Practicing good hygiene is the best way to prevent herpangina

You should always wash your hands thoroughly, especially before meals and after using the restroom.

It’s also important to cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread of germs. Teach your children to do the same.

  • While caring for a child with herpangina, you should wash your hands frequently, especially after coming in contact with soiled diapers or mucus.
  • Clean any surfaces, toys, and other objects with a disinfectant to kill germs
  • You should also keep your child out of school or daycare for a few days to avoid spreading the infection to others.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: August 16, 2017 | Last Modified: August 16, 2017

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