Hand Food and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is very contagious. I honestly have no idea how Elizabeth ended up with it. The only place I can think of is the shopping cart at Target on Wednesday. It was the only place we went that week, and she wasn’t around anyone else with it. I will definitely be carrying around my non-toxic disinfectant wipes and wiping down the carts again.
On Friday, she had a 100.4 degree fever most of the day. She was also teething, so I didn’t think much about it. I usually let fevers do their job and not fight them unless I have to. Saturday, her fever was gone, but she was drooling more than usual. Drooling was just another sign of teething to me. She acted normal otherwise.
Sunday, I got up and ready for church and then I got her up. Immediately, I noticed the rash. This is what it looked like:
She was okay most of the day. It didn’t hold her back from her normal eating and playing. Her bottom was also really bad. There wasn’t any on her feet, but there was a lacey looking rash on her chest and thighs. Thankfully, my cousin is a doctor who came by on Sunday just to confirm it was HFMD.
She woke up about every 2 hours that night, and would stay up for an hour at a time. It was pretty brutal for both of us considering she generally sleeps 12 hours straight.
Then came day 2:
And with day 2 came the sores inside of her mouth. She still played some, but she didn’t really want to eat a whole lot. Thankfully, I was well stocked with cold apple crushers and rooibos tea.
Night number 2 started out the same way as number 1. Two hours after laying her down, she was up. But this time she was screaming and thrashing. For the longest 15 minutes of my life, she was kicking and screaming and hitting and totally uncontrollable. It was awful. I couldn’t calm her down. Finally, she asked for her kitty and then she passed out in my arms. Whew. She didn’t wake up the rest of the night!
Tuesday, was better! I made her an anti-viral soup that she seemed to enjoy. It was pretty basic, something that wouldn’t hurt her mouth, and would help her fight the virus.
I made it with bone-in chicken broth, lots and lots of fresh garlic, sage, and a little brown rice. After crushing the garlic and in a tad bit of coconut oil, I just simmered it ‘til it was warm.
I bathed her twice a day, which she loved! I used Shaklee’s Basic H and coconut oil in the water each time. I also used coconut oil on her face afterwards, and on her bottom at every diaper change. She didn’t have anymore episodes with sleeping, and by day 5 her blisters were almost gone! I’ve read numerous places that you are still contagious up to a week after the blisters go away, so I didn’t take her out that entire time. Thankfully, Andrew stayed with her a few times at night so I could run and food shop.
On day 6 or 7, I disinfected our entire house. I didn’t want to risk another baby catching it from playing with her toys, or for Andrew to catch it either.
(I love that she can use Shaklee’s Germicide to help me clean! Never would you be able to hand your child lysol or bleach)
What is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease? It sounds super scary because it’s called a “disease”, but it is a virus. It is terribly uncomfortable, but not a serious concern. I suspect than in the next few years doctors will be offering you a vaccine for it, similar to chicken pox. It’s kind of the same thing, except it mostly effects the inside of your mouth, around your mouth, hands, feet, and baby’s bottoms. It isn’t itchy like chicken pox, but it can be sore, especially inside the mouth.
How do you Get it? It is usually passed through saliva or poop. Yes, that sounds super gross, because it is! Again, I am fairly certain Elizabeth got it off the shopping cart. Think anything a baby will chew on, or unclean hands may touch that your baby will come in contact with. It is very contagious! Especially for kids, but a lot of adults get it too.
What are the Symptoms? Elizabeth seemed to be the classic example of a child with the virus. 2-3 days after contact it usually starts with a fever, but no other symptoms. Then, another 2-3 days the rash/blisters show up. The rash/blisters usually get worse as day 1 and day 2 progress, but only lasts 5-7 days. 2 weeks after the rash first appeared, the skin on Elizabeth’s fingers are now peeling. I have heard that some people lose a finger nail or two a month later. Most babies will not eat very much because of the mouth sores, and some experience diarrhea.
How do you Treat it? There is no real treatment or medicine you can take to help it. It is simply a virus that must run it’s course. However, there are lots of things you can do to speed it up, comfort, and protect the immune system.
There are several things you can do to help your child. Anti-viral teas and soups are great for building immunity, fighting the virus, and soothing to sore mouths. I treated Elizabeth’s with Rooibos tea and the garlic/sage broth. Both have great anti-viral properties and are good for lots of other things too, including reducing inflammation. Rooibos tea is amazing!
Coconut oil is also an anti-viral and anti-fungal. It helps keep the blisters moisturized to prevent scabs or cracking. It also smells really yummy. I added a large spoonful to baths and also used it on the blisters themselves. In addition to using the coconut oil in the bath, I used Shaklee’s Basic H. Yes, it is an all-purpose cleaner, but I very often bathe Elizabeth in it. It is derived from coconut oil too, but it is great for baths and is unscented so that it won’t irritate anything.
As far as the discomfort goes, I gave Elizabeth Hyland’s teething tablets at night. They are all natural, and have been life-savers many times.
I hope that you will never need this information, but just in case, I surely hope it helps! HFMD is terrible!
I am not a doctor, and I always recommend consulting with one if you have questions or concerns.