Warning - Pictures are not for the faint of heart, they are real and rather strong.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is a virus it's common in late spring and early fall with younger children. As you will see here it's completely possible for adults to get it and it can be just as bad as when a child is infected. There is no cure for HFM it needs to just run it's course. Also for the record this is not the same as Hoof and Mouth, you can not get HFM from an animal, it only spreads human to human. HFM is spread thru bodily fluids- stool, mucus and of course liquid from the blisters. The easiest way to diagnose HFM are blisters on hand and feet or ulcers on inside of the mouth. It is important to note as you will see in the pictures below blisters can happen outside of the mouth, the nose, pretty much anywhere on the face! There are also cases where blisters will appear on the buttocks. Other symptoms include
- Sore Throat
- Nausea/ Vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- diarrhea (usually means you have ulcer in the GI Tract)
- Painful Rash (usually just before blisters appear and non-itchy)
- Painful Oral Blisters
Typically HFM last 7 - 10 days with an incubation period of about three days.
Best way to prevent - WASH HANDS and cover coughs! In preschool/Daycare setting clean and disinfect toys often.
Soothing the Blisters on feet - 1 cup Epson salt per gallon of warm water - soak until water cools.
Nose - Aloe Lotion or Vaseline will help sooth dry and cracked nostrils.
Throat - cold drinks and cepocal drops.
Fever - all of our responded to ibuprofen.
Water to Hot showers really helped with everything.
Drink as much water as you can!
Do not pick, itch or pop blisters. Easier said then done I know.
Keep skin moist but dry - meaning applying lotion or aloe to give skin it's flexibly really helps, however between applications keep the areas clean and dry. This will help prevent other infections from taking their shot.
You know your body better than anyone if something doesn't seem right call your doctor. Many viruses and infections love to "piggy back" on diseases like this. They can be treated while you are recovering from HFM.
Rest as much as you can.
Last week (Tuesday) my son was sent home with a 104 degree temperature. Two days later I received a call from his teacher he has a blister on his hand and they have a confirmed case of Hand Foot and Mouth in his class. *YAY!*
Friday My daughter sent home 103 degree temp, that night she gets a very bad headache. Saturday a single blister appears in her mouth.
Monday after returning from my son's field trip I get a headache then it pretty much all goes down hill after that. Tuesday I woke up with a really bad sore throat and a killer migraine! I took all kinds of medication and NOTHING touched the headache. That night I discover blisters on my right foot and one on my left finger. Wednesday I go to doctors - mostly because throat and because I woke up to find out I had scratched my head to the point of bleeding! All Wednesday morning I could not stop itching! At the doctor's I was given a benadryal style medicine to stop the itching. It worked - *YAY!*
Wednesday night was AWFUL! I woke up at 3.30 am in pain, my foot, my face and my right hand. The amount of blisters had double to tripled since visiting the doctor. In the end it took a prescription strength painkiller to get the pain to stop. You see I have so many on my nose and face that every time my face touches my pillow I want to cry.
Thursday - another doctor visit. This time confirming i can have strong pain meds with the benadryal. *YAY!* A quick look in my throat to confirm it's not strep and in fact ulcers in my throat. A blood panel to make sure everything is ok with my kidneys and liver, I think because unlike most adults I am getting hit very hard with this virus. I am not going to get to much into details but I am actually get them in rare places and mine have always itched which is again extremely uncommon. She thinks it could be a Secondary Virus, which so doesn't sound good by the way.
What it feels like -
Headache was migraine grade.
The tips of my fingers became "pins and needles" whenever the pain meds wore off.
I would get leg spasms from the pain in my feet.
Throat felt like strep - hurt to swallow or yawn.
Nose - crusted, dry painful inside and out. Like after your worst cold and using cheap no lotion tissues X 2 or 3.
Skin - tight after blisters appear like a sunburn.
Pain in general was a stabbing pain that would rotate, one minute my foot, next my nose sometimes two or three things are once.
When blisters "pop" I've only had a few pop and it was really more like "oozing". I noticed the pins and needles feeling in my fingers looked down and noticed that a few of the blisters were oozing a clear liquid.
Now for the pictures - carry on with caution. Pictures are graphic in a medical fashion.
Right Foot with Blisters and Rash - this was on day 2 of this set, it's actually working it's way out of my body. So it looking scary and gross is a good thing, my body is evicting it.
Face blisters on nose, lip and chin. Harder to see here, however these areas become very dry and crusty. Keeping them moist but NOT PICKING at them will lesson the discomfort. I picked the ones on my nose and lip before knowing what they were, this only made them "crustier" and more painful.
Nose - here I have coated it with Vaseline to keep it from "cracking" the skin. Notice the ones on my chin.
Nose and Chin - ones on nose here are very red, cracked and painful.
Fingers - what the break out first looks like, these blisters only showed up today and are very typical of what they look like.
Toes - extremely painful, before pain medication I would have let someone cut them off. They are also some of the tightest area for skin. Without keeping lotion on them they are unable to bend.
My biggest piece of advice, DON'T GET IT! :0)
Remember you can prevent this virus from making it any farther then your family. If your family has symptoms consultant a doctor before allowing your family to resume normal activities. You never know how badly someone will react to this, chances are the parents that let their kid go to school sick probably didn't even get it. I on the other hand have it worse than anyone I've talked to.