Hand foot and mouth disease has been around for years and years but most people have never heard of it. It is caused by a virus. It is highly contagious but older kids have usually built up a resistance to it. However I have seen more school-aged children with it over the past two years than in years past. Other than the common sense preventions of hand washing, cleansing surfaces with a weak bleach solution, and not letting the family drink from the same containers, there isn't much you can do to prevent it. Daycares breed the stuff. The only complication from it is kids who have the mouth sores so bad that they won't take in adequate fluids. What I have found best for this, along with popcycles, is a combination of one part Maalox to one part Benadryl liquid mixed together and painted in the mouth or gargled every 2-3 hours. The little ones over about 16 pounds could very safefly swallow half a teaspoon every 3-4 hours to get it to the back of the throat but try to get it on the sores in the front, too. Maybe using a dropper is best. ANTIBIOTICS DO NOT HELP AT ALL!!