Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is an illness that causes sores in or on the mouth and on the hands, feet, and sometimes the buttocks and legs. The sores may be painful. The illness usually doesn't last more than a week or so. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is common in children but can also occur in adults.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than five years old. However, it can sometimes occur in older children and adults. Typical symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, mouth sores, and a skin rash.

The best way to keep the virus at bay is good hygiene.

Wash all your towels, bedding and good hand hygiene will stop it from spreading.

While children are most affected, adults can get it and are usually more severe.

It is not related to the foot and mouth disease that affects cattle.

Good hygiene

■ Wash hands with soap and water after going to the toilet, before eating, after wiping noses, and after changing nappies or soiled clothing.

■ Avoid sharing cups, eating utensils, items of personal hygiene.

■ Wash any soiled clothing and any surfaces or toys that may have been contaminated.

■ Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Coughing into an elbow is better than coughing into your hands. Dispose of used tissues in the bin straight away. Wash your hands afterwards with soap and water.

Source: The Daily Telegraph (UK) www.dailytelegraph.com.au