Herpangina Treatment & Management

Updated: Jun 02, 2022
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Medical Care

Herpangina is a self-limited illness. As such, no specific therapy is indicated.

No antiviral therapy is effective against herpangina. Antibacterial therapy is of no benefit.

Recently, considerable efforts have been made in the development of antiviral compounds targeting the capsid protein of enterovirus, as well as viral proteases and proteins involved in enteroviral RNA replication. [16, 17, 18, 19]

Treatment is generally supportive and includes the following:

  • Hydration

  • Antipyretics (eg, acetaminophen, ibuprofen)

  • Topical analgesics (eg, topical lidocaine)



Ensure that patients with herpangina maintain adequate hydration and caloric intake during the illness.



Limit patient activity as tolerated.



Prevention of herpangina is difficult, especially in childcare settings, as children can shed the viruses associated with herpangina without symptoms. Close attention to frequent hand hygiene with soap and water and ethanol-based hand sanitizers, especially after diapering activities or contact with nasal or oral secretions, may limit spread of infection. Frequent washing or sanitizing of surfaces and toys is also helpful.

A case-control study in Guangdong, China suggests that caregivers who have herpangina may be a significant source of transmission, especially in the case of shared eating utensils; hand hygiene before eating reduced the likelihood. [20]

There is no commercially available vaccine for the prevention of herpangina or hand-foot-and-mouth disease, although a number are under study against EV-71. [18, 19]