What we hoped to avoid appears to have been unavoidable. That right, Hand, Foot and Mouth. HFM is a little virus that tends to make it’s way around daycares in the summer and is often confused with Hoof and Mouth (which only affects cloven-hooved animals and is not transferable to humans). On Wednesday, C was with his Nana and she noticed some little dots around his diaper area. Not until we picked him up did he break a fever, and then the dots spread like wildfire.
And, I mean wildfire. My husband said he had no dots on his face, and in the 5 minute car ride home, he developed at least 10 on his face. As first time parents, of course we freaked. What did he eat? Was there sunscreen on his skin? Is it the Pox? He had been feverish and grumpy for a few days, but we thought for sure that had to be teething.
It started out just looking like a rash, so we didn’t really think about HFM. It was all over his body, not in his mouth or on his hands…and it was just barely on his foot. But, thanks to the handy interwebs, I shared a picture of his foot with my online mom group. Some of the moms said it looked just like their little one’s rash when they came down with HFM. And that’s when it clicked.
According to the CDC, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth (herpangina), and a skin rash.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease usually starts with a fever, poor appetite, a vague feeling of being unwell (malaise), and sore throat. One or 2 days after fever starts, painful sores usually develop in the mouth (herpangina). They begin as small red spots that blister and that often become ulcers. The sores are often in the back of the mouth. A skin rash develops over 1 to 2 days. The rash has flat or raised red spots, sometimes with blisters. The rash is usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; it may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.
Some people, especially young children, may get dehydrated if they are not able to swallow enough liquids because of painful mouth sores.
On Thursday, it became doctor confirmed – C has the HFM. He had the classic symptoms, including sores around his uvula that we weren’t able to see. There is no treatment for HFM and no vaccine or cure. It’s one of those unfortunate “just wait it out” illnesses, giving Tylenol or Motrin to lessen the pain. So, we’re just waiting it out.
We’ve been lucky that Charlie has slept really well while he’s been sick – which is good because he needs it. But, the waking hours were pretty awful for the first 2-3 days. He wasn’t producing wet diapers, so we got nervous about dehydration. He was fussy and irritable, and wouldn’t let us put him down (which was fine with me, I’ll take a snuggle any way I can get it). But, today we’ve noticed he is turning a corner. He’s taking his bottles and he is back to his normal number of diapers. His disposition is pretty much back to normal, too.
So, now we just wait for the rash to scab over and back to daycare he’ll go. We’re praying that Tristan and I don’t get it – because neither of us were exposed when we were babies. But, if we do then we do. That’s one of those things we’ve learned by having Charlie – there’s not a ton you can do to avoid illnesses of your own baby. I mean, it’s not like I could ever deny those snotty, slobbery kisses. 🙂