If you follow me on social media, then you probably know we had a pretty tough week last week as the boys caught the dreaded virus – Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. My husband was off on a Saturday (which is a rare treat) and we headed for a friend’s party. The boys were playing outdoors when Little E looked really hot and a bit lethargic. No sooner than we went inside to cool off, he vomited everywhere. We hurriedly excused ourselves from the party and headed home. It was a long, restless night with no other visible symptoms except a high fever.
Then Sunday evening, we found ourselves headed to urgent care since he continued with a fever. I just had an uneasy feeling from his mannerisms that day. I wondered if he had a sore throat or ear infection. Just the way he was holding his mouth open, poking at his ears and refusing to eat or drink much alongside the fever was concerning me.
When we arrived at urgent care, his fever had spiked to 103.6 and as soon as they checked back in his mouth, I saw immediately the little bumps covering the roof of his mouth and throat. I just knew before the doctor even said anything that he had the dreaded Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. My husband’s quick response was the unenthused “well, guess this one’s going to get it to” as he pointed to Eli (our 3-year-old son). My heart sank…
We knew about this virus since we’ve known other friends’ kids who suffered through it. It’s not a coincidence that it’s going around; the virus, which usually starts with a fever followed by painful sores in the mouth and a skin rash on the hands and feet, is you guessed it, extremely contagious.
Top all of this off with, I’m a super “germ-conscious” mama. I mean we wash the boys’ hands frequently, we use sanitizer, and we try to be vigilant about them putting things in their mouths while we’re in public. But, as we all know, there’s just no way to prevent it all.
Once we arrived home, E was looking pretty miserable. I headed out to pick up anything I could possibly imagine we might need. We prepared to isolate ourselves for the duration of this virus.
Those first few days, we used LOTS of disinfecting wipes, paper towels, and hand soaps. Let’s not forget the laundry that I was constantly tossing in since E was a drool monster with all of those blisters. He just walked around salivating and then there was me frantically attempting to disinfect. I was praying that our toddler didn’t catch it although we’d already known he was exposed since E was contagious before we even knew he had it. Talk about running into a dead-end…
The doctor recommended taking Children’s Tylenol/Motrin for pain and fever relief and to stay hydrated with fluids. Given that Little E’s mouth was coated in blisters, there really wasn’t much that he wanted to eat. I just kept some things in the fridge so I could offer choices. He mostly just wanted his sippy with milk. The blisters also spread to his hand and a few on his feet and he had a diaper rash as well. The most painful for him was definitely his mouth. He managed to stay hydrated and with lots of bribing we kept the pain reliever in him.
Just when E started feeling better, Eli started with a fever. I just knew what was in store for him. It was an awful feeling since there wasn’t a darn thing I could do to stop it. Those awful epidemic outbreak types of movies just kept flashing in my head, with thoughts of…dun,dun,dun we’re doomed.
His temperature steadily increased the first day and I gave him a bath late that afternoon. Just as he was getting situated to go lay on the couch, he vomited and then it was just downhill from there.
That night was absolutely miserable for Eli as he tossed and turned and cried that his feet “itched.” This was unnerving since his feet tend to be pretty sensitive anyway (as he was born with clubfoot) and we tried everything to bring him comfort. We camped out in my bed and I thought the extra cuddles, tv, and iPad would manage to distract him through the night but I was totally wrong. He squirmed the night away, asking me to rub his feet and then, he finally crashed from about 4-6:30 am.
One trick that helped was pulling out the little Homemedics massager. It brought him some relief on his feet.
The first night when there were no visible symptoms was the worst night for him. It’s kind of like the blisters were brewing under the skin. The first day when the blisters appeared was also pretty rough – he had a sore throat, blisters on his hands but his feet were by far the worst of his symptoms. He didn’t want to walk for a few days (which is super rare for this guy to slow down). When we attempted to get some fresh air outside, he wanted a ride in the stroller because he said his feet hurt.
He slept pretty good the second night and by day 3, he was feeling much better. But then, with the healing comes the peeling. The blisters have started to peel off so it’s still a rather icky site.
Items We Found Helpful
- Disinfecting Wipes
- Children’s Tylenol/Motrin
- Gatorade (or Pedialyte)
- Frozen pops
- Applesauce pouches
- Magic mouthwash (Benadryl + Maalox mix to coat the blisters *directed by doctor)
- Elderberry Syrup
- Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatments
Through a natural remedy search, I read about Elderberry syrup. Eli, hubby, and I started taking the Elderberry syrup the first night in hopes that we wouldn’t catch HFMD or that it might lessen the symptoms. I gave the boys Aveeno baths to soothe their skin a bit. I had read another mama recommended Orajel so I gave it a whirl a few times. But, honestly, E was putting up such a fight that I’m not sure if it really soothed him or not. He was just over it from all the coaxing to get him to take his medicine. But, I would still say it’s worth the try for those painful mouth sores.
Now that it’s run it’s course through our house, I’m thinking I need a t-shirt made that says “I survived Hand, Foot, and Mouth Hell Week!” ;)
I truly, truly hope you don’t ever need to know about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease but, just in case you do, there’s some relief in knowing that it does get better after a couple of days and thankfully, it’s not considered “serious” even if it is miserable. I’m not a medical professional and was actually hesitant to even write this post because let’s face it, it’s far from pleasant. I’m sharing in hopes it might help another desperate mama out there.