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School Health Reference Guide


The Region of Peel School Health Reference Guide is a supplementary resource to relevant Peel and Dufferin-Peel school board policies. Refer to school board policy first if you have questions or concerns.

Childhood Diseases and Illnesses

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)
  • Caused by a virus (coxsackie virus).
  • Common viral illness of infants and children.
  • The disease causes fever followed in one or two days by painful blister-like eruptions in the mouth usually located on the tongue, inside of the cheeks and gums, and/or a skin rash usually located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; it may also appear on the buttocks and/or genitalia.
  • A person with HFMD may have only the mouth sores or only the rash.
  • Blisters may persist for seven to 10 days on palms, fingers and soles of feet.
  • Virus is found in nose and throat discharges and feces of infected persons.
  • Spread from person to person by unwashed hands contaminated with the virus, by direct contact with nose/throat discharges or feces and by droplet spread when the infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • The period between exposure to the infection and the appearance of symptoms is usually three to five days.
  • Most contagious during the first week of the illness and perhaps longer since the virus can persist in the stool of infected persons.
  • No vaccine is available to protect against the enteroviruses that cause HFMD.
Instructions for Schools
  • Does not need to be reported to Peel Public Health.
  • Once diagnosed by physician, student can return to school if well enough to participate in activities.
  • Encourage thorough hand washing (PDF) and respiratory etiquette (PDF).
  • Not related to the virus that causes disease in animals.
For more information on communicable disease resources and programs,
call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.(In Caledon, call 905-584-2216.)


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Revised: Thursday January 07 2016