Hey guys! We are heading out of a week of having Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. This isn’t our first encounter with the illness but it can be a scary thing when you don’t know what to do and feel helpless. So I wanted to provide you all with a few things I have learned in the process. (Something I WISH I had when I found out about this common childhood illness!)
Here is some background on our experience first: when my oldest was about one we had our first awareness of this disease. We saw a few red small dots around her hands and feet, we had no idea what it was. Soon we learned it was HFM (Hand Food and Mouth Disease). It was super mild (HFMD can appear in different levels). It went away quickly with some supports mentioned below.
The second experience was with a group of young kids we were doing school activities with. It was amazing to me how long the disease could remain contagious before systems show. Unfortunately to share this was the time I saw first hand how FAST this disease can spread.
Here is a few answered questions on HFMD:
What is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease?it is a common children’s virus causing sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. (BUT ALSO you can find it in the back of the throat, and in the diaper area).
How long does it last? It is “short-term” and can resolve within days to weeks.
Here is the general break down: 3-5 days after viral invasion the first symptoms may appear (you are contagious during this time, some symptoms can include: fever, poor appetite, runny nose and sore throat.) Also you are most contagious during the first week of the illness, however, you can remain contagious for weeks after the symptoms go away. Some people, especially adults, may not develop any symptoms, but they can still pass the viruses to others.
It usually takes 3 to 6 days for symptoms to appear. The first symptom is usually fever, followed by sore throat and lack of appetite. Then, painful mouth sores develop, followed by a rash on the hands and feet.
Recovery typically takes 7 to 10 days, but the virus can remain in the body for weeks after symptoms are gone.
What age range is this common childhood illness?It is most common in children under the age of 5. Yet, some adults do get it.
What are the Symptoms to look for?
Red blisters in the Mouth
Red Rash on the Hands and Soles of the Feet
A fever and sore throat are usually the first symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease. The characteristic blisters and rashes show up later, usually one or two days after the fever begins
How can I get it? It’s most often spread through contact with an infected person‘s saliva, throat discharge, stool, blister fluid, or nasal secretions. It can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated objects such as doorknobs, toys, and toilet handles. Here is a crazy fact: children with hand, foot, and mouth disease may shed the virus from the respiratory tract (nose, mouth and lungs) for 1-3 weeks and in the stool for weeks to months after the infection starts.
If my child gets it what can I do? Even though there is no “treatment” for HFM but below there are a lot of ways to support your child and your family through this time:
HELP WHAT CAN I DO!?
Change clothes as soon as you get home, and throw in the wash. (This is most helpful if you know you have been where there is HFMD)
Dehydration is something that presents a problem due to the sores makes it difficult and painful to swallow so more liquids the better. Warm tea can be helpful. Also some recommend sucking on ice or popsicles. Eating ice cream helpful in soothing along with the cream base, you want to avoid citrus, spicy and salty (also fruit drinks and soda).
Good Hygiene, it is the best prevention and defense against HFMD. WASH HANDS, all the time! Not just after using the restroom, it can help greatly reduce your risk of contracting this virus. SOAP SOAP SOAP 😉 Side Note: work hard at not touching your eyes, nose or mouth during this time.
Keep socks on infected kiddos to help not spread illness on floor (You can use Salve Recipe below before putting socks on. Another sock tip, if there is a fever, put Salve on the bottom of feet then wet socks on, then another pair of dry socks on over before nap or bed times.
Cleaning surfaces with soap and water,then with diluted solution of bleach and water. Also disinfect toys, pacifiers (binkys), and other items that come in contact with the virus. Clean door handles and high traffic places clean regularly.
Stay home! It helps your family get well and not spread to others. Even if you have come in contact and no symptoms yet you could still have the virus.
Rest is super important, so while you are stay home work hard to rest all members of the family.
For infants who are breast feed: Studies show that exclusive breastfeeding (only feeding breast milk) can shield your infant from getting HFMD as well as other viral infections.
Taking Probiotics can be helpful during HFMD, try to take DAILY
Echinacea is good to take after coming in contact or showing symptoms
VITAMIN D! through sun or vitamins. (good for prevention and if you have HFMD)
Eat Nutrient-dense food and foods high in antioxidants
Drink Bone Broth Daily
I make my own salve for kids Recipe blow (I wish I learned this earlier in the process but better late then never)
Recipe for HFMD Kids Salve**
4 Tbsp fractionated coconut oil
5 Drops Tea Tree Oil
5 Drops Lavender
4 Drops Lemon
4 Drops Frankincense
Swirl gently together, best in an amber container if you can.
Application: put a thin layer on feet, hands or other EXTERNAL effected areas (NOT for sores in mouth). Apply a few times a day. Side note:I would use a spray bottle to avoid contamination.
This Salve can help sooth blisters and help dry them up quicker.
IF you need a place to buy your oils I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Young Living, so many reasons why but, this is not the blog for that hahah, anywhoo click HERE!!!
Here is another WEBSITE that has some AMAZING recipes for HFMD
Herbal Healing Popsicles for HFMD
Healing Herbal Fever-Fighter Tea for HFMD
Herbal Mouthwash for HFMD
And Most IMPORTANTLY PRAYER I am purposely posting this step last because I want it to be last on your mind so it can be first in your steps to do. This time can be very trying, mentally, physical, emotionally and spiritually. We must rely on God to give us the strength to make it through this time when our kids are hurting and we might be in physically poor shape along with them. May I pray for you now, after going through this myself I believe in the power of prayer and community supporting each other through this time.
“Dear Lord, we thank You for Your healing power! We pray that Your Will would be done in this time of need. We cry out for comfort and peace for our children and family during this time. May we lean on You for your strength . Thank you for Your gift of grace to us and we pray in all we do (even during this trying time) that it will bring Glory to You Father God! In Your powerful name we pray, AMEN!
Dear friend I know this time can be confusing and nerve-wracking, my hope is to provide knowledge to you from what I have learn to support you during this time! I will be praying for you!
Additional Random Information about HFMD:
DO NOT POP THE BLISTERS! They are not a zit, they will heal on their own.
You can return to school or other community places after the fever is gone, and blisters have dried up.
You can contract HFMD through swimming pools etc if you swallow the water that has been infected.
You can get HFMD through close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing cups and eating utensils
There is no cure or vaccine for HFMD
Here are a few photos of my kiddos when they got HFMD, we had a milder case then other of my sweet friends who have had it before. However, since it was mild the pictures online were hard for me to connect to my experience so here are some photos that may or may not help you:
*FDA disclaimer: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.”
**I am not a medical professional, just a momma who through the Grace of God tries my very best to help my kiddos through prayer, vitamins and essential oils. Please consult your doctor before using essential oils!