How To, Parenting

How to Survive Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease (HFMD)

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Guys, recently Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) has spread through the daycare and it was not good.  I had never dealt with it before and so I learned a lot about it during my conquest to keep myself (and my family) from getting it.  Surprisingly, though it seems like a pretty common occurrence, especially in daycare, there seems to be conflicting and little information about it.  I figured I would shed to light my experiences with HFMD to add to the information pool.  I feel like I should note, I am not a doctor and I do not have any professional medical experience.  Anything I say in this blog post should not be used as a diagnosis and if you feel like you, your child, or someone in your care has HFMD, please call the nurse’s hotline or take your child to the doctor.


What is HFMD?

HFMD is a virus that causes sores typically on the hand, foot, and mouth area.  This is most common in children under five years old and in a setting where multiple children congregate.

What are the symptoms of HFMD?

Those who have HFMD will usually start with a fever before bumps present themselves.  Unfortunately, someone with HFMD is contagious before any symptoms show so by the time you know it’s HFMD, the person in question has already probably contaminated others.  Someone who is getting HFMD might have a sore throat, and they will start developing bumps or blisters around the face, hands, mouth, feet, and diaper regions.

What should I do if I suspect HFMD?

If you think you or your child has HFMD, immediately call the nurse’s hotline or go to the doctor.  Fortunately, a nurse can diagnose HFMD over the hotline most of the time.  Keep your child or yourself away from others and be prepared to miss a lot of work.  HFMD is contagious until the blisters pop and start to go away.  Sometimes you can even be contagious for weeks after but you’ll never know (HFMD is a little jerk).  Be sure to get doctor approval before taking your child back to daycare and be aware that sometimes a daycare will ask for a doctor note before allowing children to come back.  Because HFMD is highly contagious, more than likely they will not let your child back without a note from the doctor to reduce spreading the disease.  Sanitizing is your friend and be sure to wash bedding after the symptoms are gone.

What I need to know about HFMD?

  • I feel like I need to repeat myself – you are contagious before symptoms show.  Don’t blame your daycare, babysitter, whoever for giving you HFMD as no one knows until it’s too late.
  • Coconut oil on the blisters will help them heal nicely.
  • ADULTS CAN GET HFMD.  While adults aren’t as likely to get HFMD, it is completely possible!  Do not touch someone with HFMD until the blisters are gone.  I wouldn’t even do the deed or swap spit for a few weeks to make sure it has passed.
  • HFMD is flushed out through bowel movements so use gloves when changing someone with HFMD (even after they’ve healed) – at least for a few weeks.
  • For the love of all that is good, do not pop HFMD blisters.
  • There is nothing that will help the process along.  It is just a waiting game, and it sucks.
  • Good hygiene is your friend.  If you know someone who has HFMD and you’ve been exposed, wash hands, take showers, clean yourself and your environment.
  • Please be mindful and don’t expose others.
  • Yes, you are less likely to get HFMD again once you’ve had it but there are different strains.  That means you could get it again if the strain is different than the one you were already exposed to.
  • The rash that develops shouldn’t be itchy, but it will be uncomfortable and might hurt.

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