HFMD and What I Learned About It

It was exactly a week ago when we found out that my son has hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). We believe he got it from the kids across our house but we aren't sure how since he hasn't played or had physical contact with them. Upon learning, I felt worried of what he will go through or how things will turn out so I read forum posts from other mommies whose children went through the same.

Before I share what I learned, I will first share the timeline of what transpired.

He woke up with the body temperature a bit warmer than usual. I didn't mind it because it happens sometimes. I gave him a bath and we left the house to visit my in-laws. Not even halfway to our destination, he became feverish and less active until he fell asleep. When he woke up, he vomited.

Less than an hour after vomiting, I gave him Tempra (paracetamol) for his fever. When we arrived at my in-laws which is around two hours travel time, his fever has already subsided and he's starting to return to his active self.

Around 3:00 PM, his body started to become hot again so we decided to go home so he can recuperate at home. His fever did not subside the whole night and went as high as 39 degrees despite giving him Tempra every six hours.

His body temperature is back to normal but I noticed that he started to frown each time he eats. He lost his appetite for solid food and would only drink water or milk. Seeing the symptoms, I thought it was tonsillitis. I brought him to the doctor to find out the cause and deal with it once and for all.

When seen by the doctor, it was found that there are already white spots on his throat. I never mentioned about red spots on his hands or feet since I haven't noticed them so doctor confirmed it was tonsillitis. He was prescribed antibiotics (co-amoxiclav) to be taken twice daily.

I gave him half bath before going to bed and that's the time I noticed the few red spots on his fingers. I checked his feet and there are red spots too. His temperature remains normal though. But around midnight, his sleep became troubled and he started to scratch his feet. The itch only stopped when I gave him cetirizine syrup.

The red spots increased and there are a few blisters that look like chickenpox. He is no longer scratching so I stopped giving him cetirizine.

We did not return to the doctor since he's already taking antibiotic and I read that the disease will go away on its own. I just gave him more liquid and encourage him to eat more fruits. I gave him double dose of his vitamin C as well.

Tuesday to Saturday
These days are uneventful and it's like he's back to his usual self but with red spots that have started to get better.

The red spots have started to heal, including the two biggest blisters. Up to this day, I have not allowed him to play with other kids yet nor take him in crowded places to prevent the spread of the disease.

On the way to healing, one week after the spots first appeared.

What I Learned About HFMD

  • Signs and symptoms normally appear three to six days after being exposed to the virus. But despite not having symptoms, the carrier is already contagious.
  • The virus is spread through personal contact, through air from coughing, and feces of an infected person.
  • Most cases of HFMD starts with a fever. Spots begin to appear when the kid is no longer feverish.
  • The degree or extent of spots vary from each kid. My son only had a few spots while the kid of a former schoolmate had a lot which almost covered her hands.
  • The red flat spots may progress into blisters that look like chickenpox.
  • The disease typically resolves on its own after 7 to 10 days. But medication may be given to address symptoms like fever and itchiness. 
  • While it's not life-threatening. HFMD may cause complications like encephalitis, meningitis, and paralysis that mimics the neurological symptoms of polio can occur.

I'm thankful that the disease did not cause any serious complication to my son. He's recovering okay and I now allow him to play outside the house though I won't let him go to school yet.

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