Hand, Foot and Mouth in Kids
Our Experience of Hand, Foot and Mouth
Every child and every experience of Hand, Foot and Mouth presents differently. For us, our first experience was mild and I’m really relieved.
What I share in this post is our experience of Hand, Foot and Mouth and the information I learnt through this experience.
The day before we found out it was Hand, Foot and Mouth
I had booked my little girl in for a professional photograph session, second child means we don’t have a lot of photos of her alone. That day she woke up in the morning with a few red dots around her mouth. She was teething and sucking a dummy so I didn’t think much of the dots until we got to the photographer.
Where it started
The photographer asked me to take her dummy out her mouth for the first photograph and when I did I saw that there were a few more dots around her mouth. The photographer took a closer look and suggested it could be Hand Foot and Mouth.
The second opinion
Off I went to the pharmacy for a second take on the situation. In the last year, everytime I’ve taken the kids to doctors I’ve had the same stock standard response “give it 24 hours”.
So this time, before panicking I thought I’ll give it the mandatory 24 hours and keep her and her brother in quarantine.
The pharmacist took one look and said ‘whoever told you it was HFAM was an idiot, it’s just a fungus which is extremely common in small kids with dummies’. The pharmacist gave us some anti-fungal and off we went.
Later that night I noticed some small red dots on her feet. In my mind, I questioned whether the pharmacist was wrong or whether it was the new socks she’d worn that day.
The day we discovered it to be Hand, Foot and Mouth
The dots didn’t progress that night. However, the next morning she had some faint red dots on her hands. Panic began to set it. I took her temperature, because that’s what the Google said I should do. She didn’t have a temperature.
We set off to a secluded field so her brother could ride his bike without us risking infecting anyone if she wasn’t well. That afternoon her little finger had a blister on it so I made an urgent doctors appointment.
Doctor looked in her throat and confirmed it was Hand, Foot and Mouth.
Cue massive panic on my part – is she in pain and I haven’t noticed, is she not eating and I had convinced myself she was, had we infected other children…
What the doctor said
The doctor said that HFAM is very common internationally and we had probably got it as children in South Africa when we were little. My mom said we handn’t had it as children so now we wait… Although it is unusual for adults to get it there are cases of adults getting it.
There is no cure for HFAM in kids, you’ve just got to treat the symptoms unless there is a complication which would in any event make you go to hospital on its own (dehydration)
The doctor also said of the children she’s seen over the years, she has seen three different categories of kids.
Can you get it Twice?
In response to my panic about having infected other kids, the doctor reiterated that it is very very common.
If a child has had HFAM before it’s unlikely that child would get it again. However but there are ‘sub-strains which means there is a chance the child would get it again.
The three different categories of Hand, Foot and Mouth in Kids
- Kids who get it but show limited symptoms
- Those who get it and show mild symptoms. Our little one is in this category. She is still eating, doesn’t have a temperature and is relatively happy.
- The worst is where kids get lots of spots and a high temperature. These kids generally don’t want to eat because the spots in their throats and mouth make them to sore.
You can get Hand, Foot and Mouth more than once
The day after (day 3 of spots)
A day later and nothing that changed. My daughter was still eating, still didn’t have a temperature, had little red spots on her hands, feet and mouth but only two had blisters around them.
THE FACT SHEET FROM THE DOCTOR
Usually occurs in children under 10 years old.
Can occur in older children and adults.
NOT related to Foot and Mouth which affects cattle.
May cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
Blisters start as small red dots which later become ulcers.
In addition to hands and feet, blisters can appear on the inside of cheeks, gums and sides of the tongue.
In infants blisters can appear in nappy region.
Blisters usually last 7 – 10 days.
Children can experience low fever, irritability, sore throat, tiredness and may not want to eat.
HFAM is spread through saliva, sputum, nasal mucus or faecal contamination (nappy / toilet without washing hands).
Very rarely it can develop into viral meningitis.HFAM is also spread from the mouth or nose and direct fluid from the blisters.
HFAM is also spread through the sharing of toys that have been in a sick child’s mouth.
It usually takes 3 to 5 days from infection before blisters appear.
Virus can remain in poo for weeks.
Below are pictures of what our daughter looked like on
day 3 of spots.