Monday 7 April 2014

What is Hand, Foot, and Mouth?

Here is a story from a mother who had no idea what this nasty disease was or how to treat it:

You would not believe the amount of people who have no idea what this virus is. My kids were very sick for just over a week now. It all started with a sore throat. So off to the doctor we go to make sure that my baby is OK well the doctor looks in his throat and says he has a throat infection of some kind and put him on antibiotics. A couple of days pass and nothing gets better. Suddenly I begin to see blisters forming on my babies hands. I look inside of his mouth and I see what are called ulcers on his tongue. Now because I had my kids in daycare a while back we heard about numerous sicknesses that I was unfamiliar with to so I knew exactly what we had come into contact with HFMD or Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. It sounds really scary but it isn't. Here are some details about it:

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection that usually affects babies and children. HFMD can lead to fever, a blistering rash on the hands and feet, sometimes buttocks, mouth sores, sore throat, and a poor appetite.

HFMD is contagious and often causes illness within 3 to 7 days after exposure to an infected person. Proper hand-washing, avoiding close contact, and cleaning contaminated surfaces and items can help reduce the spread of the disease.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by a group of viruses known as enteroviruses. The enterovirus called coxsackie virus A16 is the most common cause of HFMD. However, in some cases, other enteroviruses can also cause HFMD. 

HFMD is highly infectious. It can spread from one person to another through direct contact with discharge from the nose and throat, saliva, infected stools, or fluid from a blister. It takes up to a week for symptoms to appear once a person is infected, though not all infected people develop symptoms.
HFMD usually begins with a low-grade fever and general fatigue. A rash of tiny, painful red spots will appear within a couple of days and will soon begin to blister and sometimes form ulcers. These spots may appear:
  • inside the mouth (on the tongue, gums, or cheeks)
  • on the palms of the hands or on the fingers
  • on the soles of the feet or on the toes
  • on the buttocks
The rash is not generally itchy and, in some cases, may develop on other parts of the body. Lymph nodes in the neck may also become swollen. The virus can cause the throat to feel sore and painful.
Rarely, dehydration may occur as the pain due to the blisters in the mouth can make drinking difficult. Infection by EV71 has been known to cause encephalitis or viral meningitis in rare cases.
Children and adolescents are the most commonly affected people. Adults are rarely infected, although pregnant women who have not been exposed to the virus before have a higher chance of becoming infected. Daycare centers, parks, nursery schools, and other places where children play with each other are potential sites for the infection to be transmitted from one child to another. HFMD is most common in the summer and early fall.

My babies had blisters on their hands, feet, mouth, throat, and bums. The worst part of the virus was the sore throat. My baby had stopped drinking entirely for an entire day which is when I rushed him to the doctor from fear of dehydration. The best thing to do is give them a pain reliever, use some Orajel on their mouth sores and keep trying in any way possible to get fluids into them. Water and milk are your best options. Do not give juice, the acidity can cause severe pain. I hope you have learned something today and I hope that everyone stays healthy. 


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