Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Terrible, Dreaded...

There were pretty much three minor(ish) childhood maladies that I had dreaded and somehow managed to avoid thus far.  They were, in order from most dreaded to least

1) head lice
2) hand, foot, and mouth disease
3) pink eye.

As you may have gathered, we had avoided all of them up until this week.  Now we've still avoided #1 and #3 (thank heavens because I cannot imagine dealing with #1 with a child who is terrified of getting their hair wet).  But 2.  The dreaded HFMD. 

Growing up in California, I'd never even heard of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.  I first heard of it when we were in Florida and decided that it sounded like the least pleasant sickness I'd ever heard of.  And I've seen announcements of outbreaks on the news multiple times in the last four years since we moved to Michigan.  And every time I would think "Oh please.  Not us.  I can't deal with that."

It always sounded excruciating. 

And somehow we escaped each summer and fall unscathed. 

Until now.  A few days ago Patch came down with a fever.  After twenty four hours the fever broke and, while he was slightly whinier than usual, he seemed to be back to normal, zipping around the house on his scooter. 

After twenty four hours fever free I sent him off to school.  I noticed he had a rash, about the size of a quarter, but the child has battled eczema since he was a newborn, and so I figured I'd put some cortisone cream on it if it didn't clear up and that would be it. Besides, after a June and July virtually free of mosquitoes, we've been hit hard with them since August and they adore this child.  And he'd spent all afternoon yesterday running around outside, so whatever wasn't eczema was likely mosquitoes. 

I was so, so wrong.

Three hours after Paul dropped him off, I picked him up from school at the end of the three year old class day.  The rash was bigger.  It was around his mouth.  With dread I looked in his mouth and then at his hands.  There were tiny red bumps everywhere.  I didn't have to look at his feet to know what was happening. 

We informed the school.  And then yesterday afternoon I informed Maggie's school that one of our other kids had it, although neither girls show any sign of being sick, just so that they would know to be on the look out in case she started to feel sick.  This morning I received a letter back saying that they had a confirmed case at her school (yesterday). 

This morning at James' genetics appointment he had a fever and the beginnings of the rash... so it looks as if both of our little guys have been stricken by it. 

Patch was hysterical that he couldn't go to school.  James is... kind of happy that Patch can't go to school.  And I'm just praying that the girls, especially Tessie, are spared getting it. 

Because I really don't want to see this little sweetness...

... with it.  Not even a little.  Not at all. 

I suspect Maggie may have had it and fought it off without getting any symptoms.  A week ago she had a few days where she basically slept constantly... and while she never had a fever or a rash, I do wonder. She tends to sleep 20 hours a day when she's sick, refusing food and that's not far off from what happened last week, minus the fever. 

Aside from that, I am curious.  Did anyone else grow up in an area where they hadn't heard of HFMD?  In my head I'm equating it with more humid areas/times of year, just because it seems like that's when I hear about it, and I was wondering if that's accurate or not!


  1. I would recommend using an anti-viral for the skin, and that would be good old coconut oil. Very soothing and will help kill the virus on the skin. Also, peppermint oil in a tea (don't know if the kids would like this or drink it) would help with mouth blisters. They could also eat the coconut oil (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) right off a spoon. If it stays in their mouths a little it will help kill the virus. You could also use these in a bath for soothing the sores.

    I guess it goes away by itself, but it's got to be misery when they have it.

    God bless. ~ Bonnie

  2. We get it in the UK.
    Good luck

  3. Nope, never heard of it growing up in Ontario. And until recently only heard about Foot and Mouth disease with regard to farm animals. We also didn't have rampant lice outbreaks in school either (not like today). I never had a lice head check! Now they seem to happen all the time at school.

  4. Definitely hope you are okay yourself. Went through the family I nannied for one time. The baby had a few spots and one bad day. Preschooler had a bunch of spots and a couple whiny days. I was covered in spots and had a low grade fever. Their poor dad was absolutely ill and had sores everywhere, even in his mouth. He took off two days from work, which had never happened before as he was a surgeon.

    By the end, all of the top layer of my skin peeled or flaked off. My feet were like new baby skin. It hits so much harder the older you are. Don't want to scare you, but thought I'd share my experience.

  5. Oh, it's a common ailment. If you haven't gotten yet, you've probably have already been exposed to it yourself at some point in your life. My kids had it while moving out of country. It's common to get due to poor handwashing/hygiene which is normal around very small children who struggle to handwash. Just keep yourself really well washed up and the kids away from Tessie and Tessie well washed and she shouldn't come down with it. The good thing is once you've had it you can't get it again.

  6. No, I've never heard of it or seen it either.

    By the way, if either you or your husband get it, you can use apple cider vinegar, lavender oil, or oil of oregano on the blisters. The reason not to use these anti-virals (they're anti-fungals too) on the children is that it might sting a little. Organic coconut oil would be best for the kids.

    By the way, oil of oregano (you can get it at Fresh Thyme. Expensive but very worth it. Look for it on sale.) is one of the best ever cold/sinus infection fighters I have ever used. It's potent - just a drop or two in juice, a few times a day when you're first feeling a cold, raspy throat, or symptoms of upper respiratory illness coming on will usually wipe it out before it even gets started. It's not for kids because it is has a "burning" feeling in the mouth and throat, but an adult can tolerate it.

    I also just found out that apple cider vinegar (I usually buy the organic) diluted by 1/2 with aloe vera juice or even water, works to kill ringworm on yourself or a pet. For a dog or cat dog you can put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the affected areas if they have a lot of area affected, or just dab it on with cotton for smaller areas. This works on mange too.

    Hope all are feeling better soon.
    God bless. ~ Bonnie

  7. I never heard of it growing up here in Illinois, but my son got it a couple years ago. His case was super mild, though- we got lucky!

  8. I've heard of it, but never heard of anyone actually getting it. I grew up in NJ.

  9. My kids (your cousins) got it on So Cal. I had not heard of it until then. I think your kids are destined to get more things now that some of them are in school out of the home. We were sick pretty constantly for some years when the kids started school. BTW,I definitely could be wrong, but I think there was something really bad about being exposed while pregnant? If I remembered correctly then your timing is actually pretty good.
    Aunt Michelle


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