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Saturday, December 6, 2014

surviving hand, foot and mouth disease

A month ago my son got Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD for short for this blog piece). It was terrible! I said it was worse than Croup (which he'd had twice as a baby). And I found out that was true when at the end of a looooong two weeks of him being sick, my daughter got Croup that Friday. Yuck.

I wanted to post about this here because for me, it was so confusing trying to figure out what was wrong with my son those two weeks. He was waking up multiple times a night, when he's been a 12-hour sleeper since two months old! He was scared of the dark, anxious, worried, SO exhausted I thought something was mentally going wrong with him. Fast forward a week to him complaining about his throat and lips... me finding small blisters in there... and getting a diagnosis from two doctors that it was a virus, and one diagnosis from a nurse (who we adore!) that it was HFMD... we realized he'd had a physical issue that whole first week but he wasn't complaining and we didn't know about it, until it caused him an emotional issue. Not fun.

I was very confused and overwhelmed with this concern and thought it might be good to share some tips with you in case you find yourselves in this situation. I have to admit HFMD has been my biggest fear for a while since I found out about it in this group... then we got it and I was even more scared, not having real info on how to deal with it. The doctors were just like "it's a virus, nothing you can do." Well, that doesn't sit well with this Mama Bear.

So hope this helps you.


WHAT IS IT?

  • Usually affects infants and children less than 5 years old, but adults can get it. 
  • Most common among preschoolers
  • It is most prevalent in summer and fall months
  • Also known as the coxsackie virus.
  • It's a virus, no antibiotics or any medication to treat it
  • Fever, blister-like sores, and skin rash are some symptoms
  • From the CDC Web site: "Hand, foot, and mouth disease usually starts with a fever, poor appetite, a vague feeling of being unwell (malaise), and sore throat. One or 2 days after fever starts, painful sores usually develop in the mouth (herpangina). They begin as small red spots that blister and that often become ulcers. The sores are often in the back of the mouth. A skin rash develops over 1 to 2 days. The rash has flat or raised red spots, sometimes with blisters. The rash is usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; it may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area. Some people, especially young children, may get dehydrated if they are not able to swallow enough liquids because of painful mouth sores. Persons infected with the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease may not get all the symptoms of the disease. They may only get mouth sores or skin rash."
  • Spread through the air, coughing, saliva, feces, etc. 
  • To avoid it: don't share drinks, wash hands often, don't share utensils, etc.
  • Treatment: No other treatment but to numb the area and deal with pain. Tylenol helped.
  • Kids are most contagious in the week just before or during the fever and symptoms, but it can be transmitted for weeks after that. 

THINGS TO EAT:
My son did not get the sores all over his body, just in his throat. The doctor did a strep test but it was negative, so that is something to rule out if the sores are only in their throat. My son could not barely eat more than two bites at every meal for a week, but luckily he was requesting to keep a cold water bottle with him at all times to help him feel better.

These are a few food items we found helpful for him when he was sick:

  • Yogurt
  • Apple Sauce
  • Pasta with butter or cheese, not tomato sauce (acidic doesn't feel good on sore throat)
  • Oatmeal
  • Poptarts
  • Toast
  • Bananas, peaches, etc. 
  • Fruit pouches
  • Yogurt covered raisins 
  • Banana bread, muffins, bagels.
  • Ice cream
TIPS FROM REAL MOMS
I asked moms in the Facebook Mommy Stories group to share their tips for surviving HFMD. Here are some real ideas:
  • After the illness is over, get a new toothbrush. 
  • After it's over, change out the sheets, do a good disinfection of the house, bedding, etc.
  • Lots of fluids
  • Motrin for pain. Benadryl/Malox mixture. Hydrocortisone cream on rash. Prescription strength diaper cream if rash in diaper area. *consult with pediatrician before giving medication*
  • No condiments with food, it irritates the sores
  • Be avid hand washer
  • Wipe down all toys with disinfectant
  • Don't share cups.
  • Put any silverware, cups, etc. the child used in HOT water or dishwasher.
  • Make sure to wash out towels they used.
  • Toss out chapstick child used.
MORE INFORMATION:


  • www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/
  • www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease/basics/definition/con-20032747
  • www.medicinenet.com/image-collection/hand-foot-and-mouth_disease_in_mouth_1_picture/picture.htm
  • http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/hfm.html
  • www.babycenter.com/0_hand-foot-and-mouth-disease_1614.bc

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