“Mommy, carry me. I feel sick,” said my daughter on a busy Monday morning. I thought it was just her cough and colds making her feel bad. Little did I know it was the start of our long quarantine period due to the dreaded Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD).
Watch out for symptoms
I’ve been seeing a lot of HFMD-related posts from online mom groups and news portals since the early part of this year, but I never bothered to pay attention because I didn’t want to be paranoid and I didn’t imagine that any of my family members can acquire the disease. Clueless about the symptoms of HFMD, I thought that our daughter was suffering from flu. On the first two days, her symptoms were fever, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
I just gave her paracetamol and Koolfever. Thankfully, she felt better after two days. She was back to her usual “malikot” self, so my husband and I thought she was already well. However, I noticed a few rashes and some blisters on her legs, hands and arms. My daughter said the “spots” were ouchy and itchy.
That same night I discovered her blisters, she couldn’t sleep because of the itch and the pain. My husband had to go to the drug store at 3 in the morning to buy anti-itch lotion to give our daughter temporary relief. That’s when I mistakenly believed that she had Chicken Pox. The blisters and the fever reminded me of my Chicken Pox symptoms when when I was 8.
See a doctor
To be sure, my husband and I had our daughter checked by her pedia. Upon checking her blisters, our pedia said it wasn’t Chicken Pox but HFMD.
The pedia gave our daughter an antiviral medicine (to be taken 4x a day for 5 days) and antihistamine to relieve the itch. I must say the meds were very effective as our little one seemed to be well after a day of taking the medicines. Despite the blisters still being there, she was able to play and talk endlessly again.
Try cold water, icecream, cold yogurt
After learning about her real condition, I realized that my daughter’s loss of appetite was due to throat/mouth ulcers. It was really painful to swallow anything. With the help of comments of moms on online groups and a few online articles about HFMD, I learned that cold water, cold yogurt, icecream and popsicles can help relieve the pain caused by throat/mouth ulcers.
Stay at home to stop the virus from spreading
Our pedia advised us to stay at home for at least 3 weeks to stop the virus from spreading. According to medicinenet.com, people with HFMD can be contagious during the incubation period, which is about 3-4 days before symptoms develop. They may remain contagious for days or weeks even when the symptoms are gone. Likewise, those with mild or no symptoms during the infection can be contagious.
Though I had to miss some work and business opportunities, I had to stay home with my daughter so other people won’t catch the virus.
Do the traditional guava leaves bath
I remember when I had Chicken Pox, my parents bathed me with warm water mixed with guava leaves extract. As advised by some friends whose kids had HFMD, I also bathed my daughter with the traditional guava leaves wash. The extract of guava leaves is a good antiseptic and anti-inflammatory home remedy.
Even adults can catch the HFMD virus
A week after my daughter got sick, I caught the HFMD virus. It all started with nausea and a fever. After 2 days, I saw two little blisters on my hands and I experienced pain in my throat especially when I try to swallow. Parang may tinik sa lalamunan ko. 😦
Thank God I only had less than 10 blisters during the infection and my symptoms lasted for only around 5 days. I was prescribed anti viral medicines and I doubled the dose of my vitamins.
What Can Be Done
- While we can’t totally prevent our family members from getting sick from time to time, we can boost our family members’ immune system. Eat and sleep right. Exercise. Take those supplements. Remember, the virus wins over those with weak immune system.
- Ask the doctor. Whether it’s HFMD or not, don’t assume. Don’t rely on Google. It might just make things worse. Like in my case, had we not have our daughter checked by her pedia, I would’ve assumed that she was suffering from Chicken Pox and would’ve exposed her to people who had Chicken Pox.
- Observe proper and frequent hand washing.
- Stay at home for as long as possible. When we’re sick, it’s also best to think of others. Let’s stop the virus from circulating by avoiding public places while we’re still contagious.
Praying that the virus will stop from circulating. If you’re reading this and you already have the disease, I pray for your fast recovery.