I am writing this post to spread the word about the recent epidemic of the Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD).
The thing with this viral illness is that most people do not even know they have it and continue to expose themselves to others. This causes a silent outbreak and spread of the virus. Though this disease is more common in infants and children, it is also possible for adults to acquire it.
A few weeks ago, my 2-year old daughter developed a fever that ran for two days. On the 2nd day of her fever, i noticed that she started to develop some red rash around her mouth. I initially thought this was just some sort of allergy. I suspected that maybe her mouth was not wiped clean after her meals which could have caused the rash. I later on noticed that the rash looked like chicken pox sores. It sort of had blisters and she kept on scratching them so i knew they were a little bit itchy. She also started complaining of 'ouchy' inside her mouth on the same day. When i checked, i saw that she had one sore on her palate. This caused her to cry each time she was fed solid food.
On the 3rd day, she did not have fever anymore and was pretty active the entire day. The mouth sores were still there but it was not affecting her anymore. The only remarkable thing was that she would become very restless at night. She kept on waking up asking for water or milk and would cry each time she drank.
I then remembered that a couple of my friends mentioned their kids having Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease
(HFMD) last year. They said it was like chicken pox but isolated on the hands, feet, and mouth. They also mentioned about the kids getting fever for a short time prior to the rash. I checked Dawn's hands and feet as soon as i suspected HFMD. And true enough, she had one red spot on her right hand.
I looked it up on the internet and found that HFMD is indeed very common and also very contagious. Incubation was said to be around 3-5 days from the time of exposure. Since i didn't know what Dawn had at the time of her fever, my entire family had already been exposed to her for a few days.
On the 4th day, my 5-year old son developed a fever. He then complained of sore throat and would also wake up crying in the middle of the night. He didn't have sores around his mouth nor spots on his hand and feet. It was just severe sore throat and high fever that lasted for 2 days.
Here are some things that i learned from our experience:
1. Ice is a soother! When the kids were crying from sores in the mouth or throat, i gave them ice. That relieved them of the pain somehow. I also made a lot of ice candies for them so that it's more fun to eat. This also helps to keep them hydrated since my children found it painful to drink drink water on the first two days. Dens bought them jelly-ace for their snacks since they couldn't swallow biscuits or other hard snacks.
2. Rest is gold. Let them sleep as often as they can even during the day. We encouraged our 2 kids to keep sleeping and i feel that it has contributed to their faster recovery.
3. Isolate right away when you suspect HFMD. It's so hard when everyone in the family gets infected. Believe me! The advice on how long to isolate varies (you can read all the resource links below). For me, the safest route is to wait until all blisters have dried before exposing yourself.
4. Frequent handwashing is your safest defense. This holds true for both the infected person to avoid further spread and those who are not infected to avoid contamination.
Help educate others to avoid further spread. My husband kept saying 'Don't keep on calling it Hand, Foot, and Mouth like it's an animal's disease! I understand where he is coming from because i had the same reaction the first time i heard about it. HFMD is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease which is a disease of cattle, sheep, and swine. These 2 are totally of different viruses and are not related at all. Humans don't get the animal disease and vise versa. So don't be ashamed to call it what it is. It's not an animal disease after all.
You can learn more about it in the following resource links:
Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand,_foot_and_mouth_disease
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - http://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/about/index.html
Children WebMD - http://children.webmd.com/guide/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease-topic-overview
Patient.co.Uk - http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Hand-Foot-and-Mouth-Disease.htm
Please spread the word and not the virus!
NOTE: updates on our HFMD experience posted on http://densandfan.blogspot.in/2013/07/our-experience-with-hand-foot-and-mouth.html