Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Visits My House

Hand_Foot_Mouth_DisLast week was half term in my house. In England, they have full year school years. What this means is that there are 3 terms during school and each term has a halfway break that lasts for a week, then there are breaks between each term as well that are usually a bit longer. Last week was the autumn term’s half term. Chris also had a few days off work for personal reasons. I was pretty excited about the four of us getting five whole days together with no work or school. I wasn’t ready for what actually happened!

On Monday, Jude was acting very lethargic. He sat on my lap for nearly an hour, which never happens and he also had a mild fever. Eventually, his temperature came down and he was acting like himself again by that evening so I didn’t think a lot of it. He was fine on Tuesday, but when we sat down for dinner he started saying his mouth hurt. An inspection with a flashlight showed us that he’d bit his right cheek, so we told him to chew his food on the other side and it would heal in a day or so.

Wednesday came along and he was still crying about his mouth hurting. I’m sad to say at this point that when we saw the sore on his cheek had healed, we assumed he was over dramatizing it, like three year olds do. We told him he was fine and that his sore was all gone so there was nothing to be upset about. He insisted it was still hurting. We brushed it off until dinner time, when he wouldn’t eat much food. Another very thorough flashlight inspection of his mouth showed us that there were two canker sores on his gum line (they were pretty hidden, which explains why we didn’t see them before). We put teething gel on it and that helped bring him temporary relief so he could eat his dinner.

Wednesday we were up quite a bit in the night with both kids crying. This was pretty frustrating as it was out of character for both of them and we didn’t understand what was wrong with them. Melody had been fine throughout the day and the only issue with Jude was those two canker sores. When Thursday came along, Jude was still crying (not just whining, but crying) about his canker sores.

I asked my fellow Three Ladies authors, Lisa and Stephany, if they thought it would be ridiculous to take him to the doctor for canker sores. That’s when Stephany asked me if he had spots on his hands or feet. Come to think of it, I had seen some spots on his feet Wednesday afternoon, but I just assumed he’d bumped them on something while he was playing.  He can get kind of wild. She then told me about Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. A quick Google search led me to believe that this was most likely what Jude had. A look in Melody’s mouth showed us that she had the same thing. A doctor’s visit confirmed that we were right.

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is a nasty little virus with no cure. There are different degrees of this virus and from what I’ve seen after a quick Google image search, we had a minor case of it. Knowing how much pain my kids have been in for the past week with this minor case leaves me terrified of the thought of them getting it again and having a worse time of it. The only thing you can do for your kids if they get this is give them medicines that help ease the pain. We were prescribed a spray for their mouths that would numb it temporarily so they could feel some relief from the sores. We were also told to give Paracetamol (Tylenol) to help bring the fevers down and ease the pains associated with them. Beyond that, there was nothing we could do but wait it out.

The spots and blisters on Jude's feet. Luckily they didn't seem to bother him.

The spots and blisters on Jude’s feet. Luckily they didn’t seem to bother him.

One of Jude's canker sores, this one on the tip of his tongue.

One of Jude’s canker sores, this one on the tip of his tongue.

Spots on the top of Jude's foot. These didn't bother him either.

Spots on the top of Jude’s foot. These didn’t bother him either.

Some of the spots on Jude's hand. These also didn't seem to bother him.

Some of the spots on Jude’s hand. These also didn’t seem to bother him.

Some of the spots on Jude's toes. Again, these didn't bother him.

Some of the spots on Jude’s toes. Again, these didn’t bother him.

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is highly contagious and it generally starts out with cold like symptoms. Assuming Monday was Jude’s first day with it, we’re now on day 9 and we’re still not over it. I say we, because I now have it as well. It’s rare for adults to catch it, but I was one of the lucky ones (ha ha…). It has manifested itself in me as a very bad cold and a few sores in my mouth, but nothing too terrible. Hopefully it doesn’t get any worse. The sores in my kids’ mouths have healed significantly and don’t hurt them anymore, but now the cold symptoms have come back with a vengeance. They’re very hoarse, have a wicked cough, runny nose, sneezing, you name it.

The biggest problem for our kids were the sores in their mouths which made it hard for them to eat. The things we found that were best for them at that time were:

Jello
Mashed potatoes
Fish sticks with the batter removed
Ice cream
Popsicles
Apple sauce

The other things they ate generally brought a lot of pain with them. If your kids get this virus, you have my deepest sympathy. I didn’t know anything about it until mine came down with it and I wish it were still a stranger to me. We’ve had sleepless nights and very upset babies. It’s awful to see them in so much pain and not be able to do much for them besides cuddle them and love on them (which we’ve been doing a lot of). As I said, it is highly contagious, and unfortunately your child (or you) could be a carrier before you even realize you have it. It’s important to wash your hands often to cut down on germs, especially if you’re in a setting with children. Here’s hoping you don’t have to experience it as well!

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