S.C. asks from Omaha, NE on May 11, 2009
Hand Foot and Mouth
My son was just diagnosed with Hand Foot and Mouth and I am reaching out to all you moms who have had a child with this. Between the internet and the Dr. and neighbors and family, I am getting confused about how long it is supposed to last, how contagious it is, and when it would be safe for him to be around other kids. The Dr. told me it's fine just as long as they don't share sippy cups because it is transmitted through saliva. The internet is saying that the blisters will open and the fluid inside is what contains the virus and at that point is when it becomes contagious. And I am confused about if I can catch it or not. Since I am the one treating him and putting ointment on his rash and dispensing his medication, will I most likely get it? I wash my hands religiously and use the gel stuff when I can't get to a sink for some reason. When will he be able to be around other kids safely? Should I be using a special toothbrush while he has the blisters in his mouth and when they are gone, throw it away and get out a new one? Or do I need to use a new toothbrush every time I brush his teeth? I am just not sure how contagious this stuff is. I don't want to reinfect him or anything. Do I need to wash his bedding every morning? Any suggestions would be great. I am just confused.
Edited to add: The ointment I am using is Aquaphor. I am putting it on the rash on his bottom and legs. The Dr. said to use "Vaseline or something" on the rash because the rash might be painful and it would help with that. The medication I am giving him is the prescription she gave us that is a mix of maalox and benedryl. I give it to him every 6 hours.
So What Happened?™
Thank you all so much for your kind words and advice. Xander was more like himself today, except he is wanting me in sight at all times (instead of just most of the time LOL) The rash doesn't seem to be bothering him and he started eating a little bit today. We will be staying in the house the rest of the week until it blows over. Might venture out on Mon. or Tue. of next week if the rash is gone.
Thanks again to all for responding! I really appreciate it!
J.C. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2009
My little girl had this also and yes it is very contagious! He needs to stay away from other kids until he stops running a fever. You shouldn't get it as long as you don't drink after him. No need to wash his sheets everyday or get a new toothbrush for everyday. He will build up antibodies so he will be less likely to get it again. (But just so you know there are several forms of this virus) My daughter has had 2 different strains of it and the hands foot and mouth was the WORSE! You might boil his toothbrush everyday. The maalox/benedryl combo works ok, but it didn't help that much.
R.C. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2009
My son had it-- I have no idea where he caught it. Since it's viral and there's no "treatment," you can just ease their discomfort. I was told to use the Maalox for his mouth and throat. If you think Aquaphor does a good job relieving discomfort of the rash, then keep using it. My doc told me to keep him away from other children for a week. That was the hard part--staying home for a week! She said adults can get it as well, but adults don't usually get the full-blown symptoms. She acted like it wasn't a big deal for an adult to get it. Sounds like you are taking the right precautions to make sure you don't get it. If you have additional questions, you can usually call your doc's office and talk to a nurse for free.
A.P. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2009
this is a really contagious virus. most likely you will not get it because it is mainly only with toddlers and babies. i would definitely use a different toothbrush and keep him away from other babies until the rash is totally gone. i know its no fun...my son had it and it was awful! but it will pass and you will get back to normal before you know it!
R.J. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2009
My baby got it when he was about 4 months after being handled by loads of relatives over Thanksgiving. The name sounds worse than it usually turns out to be. I think your doctor and the other moms who have responded are all telling you the same thing my pediatrician told me...there isn't a lot they can treat for. You just have to let it run its course. And adults are usually immune but other children are susceptible. But it sounds like he is an only child right now. Just follow the doctors suggestions. We didn't have to worry about changing his bedding or boiling his toys or anything. The doctor said he couldn't reinfect himself. I'm a first time mommy too and it is easy to freak out about an illness with such an awful name but your baby boy will be fine. The doctor told us that it usually goes away in six weeks. Hang in there!
A.W. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2009
My son(2 1/2 years old)had this about a year ago and it didn't last too long. The blisters were the worst part. His 4 year old brother did not get it and they share EVERYTHING!!!! The doctor did not seem concerned with the disease and he was able to be around other kids somewhat quickly. My doctor recommended the Aquaphor too since it's like Vaseline and that seemed to help along with the Benadryl/Maalox combo. I wouldn't be too worried and just try and keep him comfortable.
Best of luck to you and your little boy!
K.W. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2009
My son, had hand, foot, mouth disease when he was 2YO. We were not allowed at the daycare till his sores/blisters cleared up b/c it is so infectious. I treated him in a similar method with the benadryl and used the Burt's Bees Diaper Ointment (miracle diaper cream!). I would not have your son around other children for about a week or till the blisters/rash are not oozing. I never had the disease and treated my son the whole time. I know it's hard to see your child suffering from this disease -- I think it was mostly gone in a week from my little guy at the time. Best of luck to you guys!
K.K. answers from Dallas on May 11, 2009
This is very contagious and I am not sure what ointment you are using, I have never used an ointment for this. I have given my children a 1:1 ratio of their approved dosage of benadryl with Maalox. It coats the mouth and throat so they can eat. Give it about 20 minutes before eating. I think ours lasted a few days. I hope this helps...it is a pain to deal with.
K.C. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2009
My youngest daughter had this and she recovered just fine! I was worried, too, but after talking to my doctor and doing a little research I found that it sounds worse than it really is. I know the poor thing has rashes, mine had hers in her throat! It lasted for a few weeks and there is no evidence of it now. Yes, it is very contagious, but it is also such a common thing that most everyone has either had it or will catch it sometime in their life- it just shows up differently in everyone (most not even knowing that they have it). My doctor said it was fine to be around other kids as long as they aren't sharing cups, also. It has a nasty name, but itself is just something everyone gets, like a cold, except once you catch it you won't get it again.
I also use Eucerine and Aquaphor and think that they are the best for itchy skin and rashes (my other daughter had a severe case of eczema when she was an infant). I know you love him and it's tough to see him suffer, but it will pass and he won't remember it. I hope this helps and good luck!
H.D. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2009
Sorry to hear about HFMD! What a pain! My son contracted this his FIRST day at the daycare. If it is in his mouth you can mix benadryl and maalox and give him some of that (1 ounce of each mixed and then 1 t, I think) The benadryl helps with inflammation and the maalox coats the sores. It is highly contagious and can last 7-10 days. I think my son had to stay out of daycare for 2 days. Adults can get it, but it shows symptoms somewhat differently than in babies (sore throat). I would get a new toothbrush after the episode is gone or throw his in the dishwasher after he is asymptomatic. He is building immunity to it right now so you won't need to wash it everyday. Same with the bedding. hope this helps. good luck