Warning: Gross pictures of hands and feet covered in yucky, painful blisters included. Not for the faint of heart/ easily grossed out.
My kiddos brought home Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) from daycare two weeks ago. I had heard of it from parents and received a notice from church the year before that a kid had it and done my research. Supposedly this is a “mild” “childhood” illness and there’s not a lot that can be done. Everyone agreed “it’s just a virus that needs to run its course.”
Daycare spent the day after the first kid’s mom figured out what he had and pulled him bleaching everything and notifying us. By then, my guys were lethargic and both had fevers. They spend all day, every day climbing over everything, so I knew something was up. But what I read on the Internet said it wasn’t a big deal, so I gave them some Motrin, got lots of cool liquids in them, and we blasted through our woefully inadequate Disney movie collection. Several times.
We also ran through every quiet game idea I could think of. Lots of play dough and coloring.
HFDM: Kid Edition
Day 1: Fevers, lethargy, complete disintrest in food.
Day 2: More of the same.
Day 3: Fevers broken, red spots visible beneath the skin on hands and around mouth
Day 4: Spots friggin everywhere. My baby didn’t get it too badly, but poor Taz had spots from head to toe. He looked like a teenager with terrible acne.
Day 10: All blisteres scabbed over and on the mend.
Day 14: Spots nearly healed up.
So all in all, not too bad.
But I’m writing this post for ME, and for all the poor adults out there who are lucky enough to catch this disease. There is NOTHING on the Internet about adult HFMD. Every resource is geared towards taking care of the kids. The pediatrician told us, “Adults usually don’t catch it. “ Every website I found echoed that statement.
Well, I better go out and buy that lottery ticket, because honey- I caught it.
I knew I was in trouble when I was reading to Taz and he turned in my lap to ask me for milk and sneezed right in my face. Ah, the joys of parenting a 2 year old.
My recovery is still rolling right along, but in hopes of helping a desperate adult out there trying to deal with this horrible, painful disease, here’s my timeline.
HFMD: Adult Edition
Day 1: Right as my kids are starting to feel better (of course), I wake up feeling like I want to die. It didn’t cross my mind yet that it could be HFMD because “adults rarely catch it.” I had a fever of 102f, complete with chills. I was drenched in sweat and couldn’t stop shivering. My head felt like It had been hit with a hammer. Every muscle and joint in my body ached, and my throat was swollen and sore. I dragged myself to the doctor, hoping to get a strep diagnosis, as that was the only thing I could relate it to. She swabbed my throat, and though it came back negative, did a culture, wrote me a script for penicillin, and said she’d call if the swab was negative, but that it looked like strep to her. Oh, how I would totally trade this for strep.
Day 2: I woke up feeling better. The fever had broken, but my thumbs were itchy. Sometimes my skin dries and cracks from all the diaper changing and hand washing I do, so I thought it might be doing that, but it got worse. By the end of the day, the doctor hadn’t called, but I was horrified when I realized I had caught HFMD from the kids. I stopped the penicillin because I knew it would be useless. My hands were on FIRE and red blotches started to show under my skin. The pain continued to get worse. Nothing relieved it. I tried steroid cream, calamine lotion, ibuprofen. Nothing helped except for ice. I laid on the couch all night and just held bags of ice. I managed an hour of sleep holding bags of ice that night.
Day 3: The burning lasted all day. I pulled out my numbing stuff from my after-birth stitches recovery and got an hour nap by covering my hands in Tucks pads. Heat is unbearable. Washing hands in anything other than cold water or preparing anything on the stove is out of the question. That night, no more sleep. I held ice again.
Day 4: My hands were better today, but they burned every time I touched anything. It was a relief to not be in constant myhandsareonfire pain, but I have to touch a lot of things between two kids still banned from daycare and a house to take care of. Typing was out of the question. My feet caught fire that night and kept me up for the THIRD night in a row. I soaked them all night.
Day 5: My hands are now completely numb. I feel like I am wearing rubber gloves- there is very dulled sensation in my fingertips. The spots are less red and angry today, but my hands look like they have aged 60 years. My feet are no longer on fire, but burn with every step. Blisters are between all of my toes. My mom freaks out that I don’t have any feeling in my hands and sends me back to the dr. I get in to my primary today, and he confirms that it’s the worst adult case he’s ever seen. “You look like a dermatology textbook worst case scenario.” He sends me home with a script for painkillers. Thank the Lord, with their help I manage to sleep that night.
Day 6: The pain is greatly lessened today.
Day 7: The peeling begins. After a day of relief, my hands are shedding like crazy, coming off in big chunks. I don’t think I’ll have fingerprints after this is over. And I’m slightly horrified because I’ve read that some kids shed their finger and toenails. Please, God, don’t let that be me. I have too many people to take care of.
I’ll keep updating in hopes that it helps another suffering mama out there find SOMETHING that says YES. ADULTS CAN GET THIS AND IT IS HORRIBLE. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, and I’d trade giving birth naturally again for it ANY DAY.