Let’s talk about hand, foot and mouth disease. I feel like this illness gets such a bad wrap as being something gross and only dirty people get. Which is not true. We have NEVER experienced it until this past year.
Our two older kids are homeschooled, one is in full time public school in order to get special developmental services, one just started 3 hour VPK and one is too young for anything. So, none of them are in the typical “daycare” setting where most children pick up Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD). But somehow, somewhere one of them did.
Now what exactly is HFMD?
Well, according to the CDC it is caused by the coxsackieviruses. So since it is a virus, that means it has to just run its course. Symptoms can include:
- Fever and flu-like symptoms
- Mouth sores
- Eating less
- Drooling more
- Skin rashes
- Sore throat
Symptoms can last on average seven to ten days. The rashes show up not only on the palms of the hands, feet and mouth; but also can be found on the buttocks, legs and arms.
Hydration should be your main concern, especially if the person infected has mouth sores. It can be painful to swallow, but keeping hydrated can help avoid dehydration which may lead to more serious issues.
So what did we experience?
Nothing here is medical advice. Please speak to a trusted healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatments. This is just OUR experience and the way WE treated our family. Always speak to your provider or your child’s provider.
Well, it started off with Elijah. He had a low grade fever and he was drooling A TON! He was getting more teeth and I just figured that was his problem. I gave him Boiron Camilia Teething Drops on a consistent schedule. Then within a day or two I noticed these bumps on his hands and then within hours they appeared on his legs. Immediately I just knew it was HFMD. I then used a flashlight and looked around his mouth and found a few sores.
I was terrified the rest of the crew was going to catch it as well, so I went ahead and made sure my arsenal was ready to go:
- Fresh elderberry
- Arnica for pain
- Boo-Boo Salve from Rowe Casa for any bumps they scratch open
- Quercetin as it has shown Anti-Viral properties against the coxsackieviruses
- LMNT to make sure they were hydrated properly
- Dye-Free Ibuprofen in case the pain/fever got way too uncomfortable
Then I looked over the internet for homeopathic remedies. I found that Chamomilla can help when the pain is intense, which is actually an ingredient in Teething drops I had already been giving Elijah. Rhus Tox 30C twice a day before infection and no other kids in the same home had gotten HFMD, so it’s possible that could be a preventative. Urtica Urens for when itchy, with a burning/stinging feeling and when heat makes the rash worse.
Stocked and ready to go with a focus on just the kids, Matt ended up getting it. Nobody else showed symptoms. Elijah’s case was mild compared to what Matt has experienced. This happened in September, it is now November and the bottom of Matt’s feet are still peeling off.
So do not be surprised if the adults in the household contract this virus as well as the children. It is highly contagious as someone who is sick with HFMD, the virus can be found in their:
- Nose and throat secretions, such as saliva, drool, or nasal mucus
- Fluid from blisters
- Feces (poop)
While symptoms are present the person is most contagious, but the virus can still be spread weeks after symptoms have disappeared or even if the person shows no symptoms but is a carrier. The good news the nurse practitioner we see shared with me, is that in most cases once someone has had HFMD, they won’t ever get it again (with an exception of a small percentage of people).
In the end, HFMD:
This virus is not caused by being dirty, and it can be picked up ANYWHERE as you can see my kids have never been to daycare where it normally spreads. Elijah did have a mild case, but it was still very uncomfortable for him to eat food. Sometimes I’m still thankful he still is breastfeeding, as that really helped him through it. None of the other kids showed symptoms and Matt was the only other one to pick it up. He had it bad. So many bumps he had taken two days off of work, which is rare and his unit was questioning whether or not he was actually still alive or if I was pretending to be him in text messages. The bottoms of his feet are losing huge chunks of skin still.
There are also articles out there that say weeks after your fingernails can fall off as well. It is a very odd virus for sure, and it presents differently in everyone.
Just keep clean hands and drink up that elderberry! (Not medical advice).