After the wedding celebration ended and all our guests had left, Daddy A, our Little Man and I were left in the venue’s bridal suite to pack up our things. That’s when we noticed that our 10-month old was burning up. I also noticed that he had really bad rashes on his thighs.
He was probably burning up because he has the colds and the rashes might have been caused by the temporary diapers we bought, we thought.
The next day, however, we noticed that the rashes spread to his legs and feet. A few rashes were also starting to show up on his hands. We were very concerned because some of the rashes turned to watery blisters! That’s when we decided to take him to the doctor, thinking that it could be measles.
His pediatrician immediately knew what the Little Man caught after checking his whole body. The rashes and blisters were concentrated on his hands, feet and there were a few sores in his mouth. It was Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Of course, some tests were also done to rule out other possible causes of the rash, such as dengue. Everything came out normal.
WHAT CAUSES HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE?
The first question we asked is, where did our boy get the disease? According to the Little Man’s pediatrician, HFMD is caused by a virus called an enterovirus. This virus can easily spread from one person to another through coughing, sneezing or through an infected person’s stool. Our pediatrician’s guess is that our boy must have been exposed to a carrier while we were out and about preparing for the wedding since we always brought him with us.
Note that HFMD is not the same as diseases like foot-and-mouth disease or mad cow disease. It’s funny because every time we tell people that our child has HFMD, their first reaction is, “Did you let him touch farm animals?!” :D So there. It’s not the same thing.
WHAT SYMPTOMS SHOULD YOU LOOK OUT FOR?
According to our doctor, HFMD often hits children 5 years old and below. Adults can catch it, too, if their immune system is not strong.
Some of the symptoms to look our for are sore throat, rashes that turn to blisters on the feet, hands and inside/around the mouth. Tests are not usually needed so doctors just examine the sores and rely on the symptoms you are experiencing.
HOW IS HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE TREATED?
When we saw the blisters on the Little Man’s body, our first instinct was to ask for a hospital admission slip from our pediatrician. However, she informed us that hospitalization is not often needed for patients with HFMD unless the patient refuses to eat or drink.
Our boy didn’t mind the blisters and was eating and drinking normally so our doctor wasn’t worried at all. She only prescribed ibuprofren for the fever and advised us to use a milder liquid body wash for bath time.
She also reminded us to always wash our hands and rub it with alcohol after to prevent the spread of the virus. The Little Man was also kept inside one room, away from The Princess, so that she won’t catch the virus (Success! The Princess is fine!).
Our pediatrician gave us a few important notes to further prevent the spread of the virus:
- The virus is most likely to spread during the first week.
- Use a mild liquid soap for bathing. Our pediatrician recommended Cetaphil or Physiogel.
- If your child goes to school, inform the school that the other kids might have been exposed to the virus as well.
- Stay home throughout the sickness and isolate from other kids and the elderly (they are the most vulnerable).
- Make sure that the patient is eating and drinking properly. If not, hospitalization may be needed to prevent dehydration.
- Always wash your hands with antibacterial soap then apply alcohol.