This is a virus that you don’t want to experience, but I hate to say it, it is very common and therefore A LOT of children have or will experience it and I am writing as a mother that just went through it to help those parents with small remedies and as well, provide insight on the topic to those that don’t know about it or only know a little bit about it. Obviously, I am not a doctor (nor am I trying to be – there was a reason I chose not to go to Medical school), I just did a lot of research and thought I would share. This is one of my more lengthy posts, but worth it so you can recognize it and deal with it.
Here’s how it all went down!
Out of nowhere he developed a fever late afternoon which spiked pretty quickly and then the vomiting began, lucky for us he had a good night and woke up the following morning totally fine, but was drooling uncontrollably (and by uncontrollably I mean within 2 minutes his shirt was soaked) and had some little pimples on his face which I thought was from all the drooling. Naturally, my thought was that his last set of molars must be coming in until I got home and the pimples looked more like sores. That night must have been the worst night to date! I don’t even think he slept more than half an hour, he just cried all night. I took him to the doctor the next morning and he took one look at him and told me it was HFM (Hand Foot and Mouth) and that there was really nothing I could do to make him more comfortable except to give him Advil. He showed us the little spots on his hands and bum which I would have never seen had he not pointed them out. Well the next three days and nights were exhausting, VERY long and actually quite depressing – it’s awful watching your little one in so much pain! He wouldn’t eat probably because his throat hurt, barely drank because his tongue was covered in sores and just wasn’t my happy go lucky little boy. Worst of all he wouldn’t take Advil probably because it burned so there was no pain relief at all. I spoke to a girlfriend who also went through the same thing and she told me that on the fourth day it gets better and he was slowly getting better and actually laughed a few times.
HFM is spread by direct contact with the virus that causes the disease. The virus is found in the nose and throat secretions (saliva, nasal mucous), fluid in blisters, and stool of an infected person. It can also be spread via ‘fomites’ (an intermediary object, such as a toy or blanky) that has been handled by an infected person and is then touched by another person. It takes up to a week for symptoms to appear once a person is infected, though not all infected people develop symptoms! Daycare centers, PARKS, nursery schools, and other places where children play with each other are potential sites for the infection to be transmitted from one child to another, so please don’t try to find a route for your child picking up HFM and blame other parents!!!!
If your baby catches it they will be contagious beginning a few days before symptoms appear, so it can be hard to anticipate or prevent.
How to Help Your Little One:
- Advil (some people don’t like to give their children Advil, however, once I was able to get it in Frankie, he seemed slightly calmer for a short period of time)
- Put on the humidifier at bedtime
- Try giving your little one ice cream (this is when my son had ice cream for the first time), Yogurt /Yogurt drinks and cold milk which are all quite soothing
- Try to get them to drink as much water as possible to keep them hydrated
- Extra TLC is definitely needed here – any sleep training you previously did all goes out the window
- If your little one won’t take Advil, you can try suppositories (worked for me)
Some Extra Little Tips:
- if a friends kid has it, don’t treat them like they have the plague – this is a childhood virus that you cannot prevent
- if your child was in a playgroup prior to getting the virus, you can send out a courtesy email to the mom’s just advising them to keep a look out for any symptoms their child may (or may not) have
- give your friends a little TLC as it is a long week for the parents with kids who have HFM
- keep your child away from public places where the disease can be picked up by another child (we kept Frankie away from other kids and programs for 2 weeks – that could have been a little excessive but I am neurotic and wanted to “make sure” he was 100%
- wash EVERYTHING (toys, sheets, blankies, mats etc), sterilize bottles/sippy cups and we were even told to throw away toothbrushes and pacifiers and buy all new one’s
- DON’T JUDGE!!! From what I was told, my son was the talk of the town and we were informed what a lot of people were saying and it was very hurtful
I hope this was informative