A common childhood illness that causes painful sores in the mouth and throat.


Herpangina is caused by a virus. The illness most often affects children younger than 7 years old. It can spread fast from person to person in places such as child care centers, schools and summer camps.


Herpangina often causes a high fever at first. It also can cause a headache, sore throat, trouble swallowing, and stomach or neck pain. Babies may vomit or seem more fussy than usual. Within a couple of days, sores in the mouth and throat form.


Herpangina treatment often involves home care. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) can ease fever and pain. Keep a sick child hydrated with water or other fluids. Give soft foods that are not salty or acidic. Use a soft toothbrush and saltwater rinses for oral care.