Where have I been, you say? Oh, just dealing with normal holiday hustle, work, and… DUN DUN DUN! Our home has been struck with the nasty hand, foot, mouth disease.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a viral infection that starts with a fever, then turns into a rash. The effects vary, but it’s generally a children’s illness. Though when the adults get it it can be either really mild or really terrible. I got the former; My husband the later. Poor guy.
My son got a mild fever a few days before Christmas. When he broke out in the iconic rash we knew what it was. The fever broken and he was pretty much fine afterwards. Hand, foot, mouth (HFM in the mommy forums) is really contagious. Since I had no idea what it could be when he first fell ill, my oldest was helping me take care of him. I assumed that it was a normal cold/flu thing because Florida likes to change weather patterns a lot during the “winter.”
The next day, when the rash began, Gaia was quarantined at her dad’s house. On Christmas Eve she too fell ill with fever, so naturally she came home to be with us. On the next day my husband got sick. They both rested and Gaia quickly recovered. My husband on the other hand… well he got the worst of it all.
About a week later my husband could walk again and went to work. I got sores in my mouth, but I alerted my employer and they decided they needed me at work if I was *feeling* fine. I was, so I worked through my mild case. By the time my sores were gone our house was nearly done with HFM.
And then the peeling began.
That’s not even the worse bit. You should see my husband’s feet! It’s totally Google image worthy, but he’s asked me nicely not to show off the grossly awesome patches of dead skin. We all gathered around in amazement when he took off the heel of his foot and revealed the fresh, moist new skin underneath. I kid you not… it’s oddly fascinating!
Ickyness aside, HFM is no joke. Although it’s a virus and can not be treated with antibiotics, there are things you can do to speed it along. Staying hydrated is key. And because of the sores in the mouth it’s recommended to use milk (or milk alternatives) to do so.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease can easily plague your entire house. Here are some ways to minimize the effects and soothe the symptoms.
Drink antiviral teas and bone broths. Lemon balm, peppermint, and elderberry will do great things for your immune system, and bone broth spiked with garlic, thyme, sage, and rosemary will provide many important nutrients for those who suffer from loss of appetite.
Use essential oils. Tea tree oil is a great antiviral option. I personally use my TTO every day, but adding a few drops to your liquid hand soap is an amazing way to keep germs from spreading. I also added a few drops to my laundry rotation while everyone was sick (but that’s just habit I suppose).
Treat the skin with a calendula salve. Using coconut oil as a base, create a soothing and healing salve that can both soothe rashes and speed up healing. Heat up 1/2 cup coconut oil on low heat with 1/4 cup dried calendula flowers. Let sit 2-3 hours on low, stirring frequently. Drain off the flowers, then add the oil back to the pot and melt 1/8 cup (1 ounce or 2 Tbsp.) beeswax. Let cool and apply to skin.
You can get elaborate and use the home made neosporin for this purpose as well, though a basic recipe such as the one above can do wonders on dry, peeling skin.
Hand, foot, and mouth is just one of those things you have to grin and bare. Has your family ever gone through HFM? Feel free to share your experience in the comments.