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I’m Sorry, My Child Has What?

Hey Loves! My inspiration for this week’s entry came during a run with my sister, Alison. Alison and I have been running together FOREVER and lately we have been taking my daughter Charlee with us which, by the way, is an amazing way for moms to get in some exercise.  Both of my kids absolutely love the running stroller!  It truly is a win-win.

Anyway, I noticed Charlee had a rash. Upon examining the rash closer, I realized she had Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Alison, who is in the medical field, looked horrified when I said “Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.”  In that moment, I realized that although it is a common term for me, it does sound very serious. So I am going to take this opportunity to educate all you fellow moms on exactly what Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is and what you need to know if your child gets it.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is a VERY COMMON and contagious virus. I have to say that, over the summer time, I get at least one case during every shift I work in the Pediatric Emergency Room. It usually starts with a low grade fever (101-102 degrees), malaise, and a rash on the buttock. About 1 to 2 days after the fever, you will begin to see blisters on the hands, feet, and inside the mouth. There may also be a full body rash.

Many moms come into the ER with complaints of extreme crankiness and refusal to eat. Most kids won’t eat because their mouth hurts.  This is okay, because even as adults, when we have a sore throat we barely eat either.  Whenever I hear those complaints, I am always suspicious that there is something going on in the mouth which eventually leads to my diagnosis of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. This is a virus, so there is no medication that will take it away!

The most important thing is to stay calm, the virus usually resolves within a week. The key to treatment is to alleviate the symptoms with pain control medications and to allow the virus to take its course. Hydration is also a very important piece of the puzzle.  It is imperative that your child drink and drink something that is a source of calories. Pedialyte is the best for hydration but Gatorade will work as well.  Since hydration is difficult due to pain, hydration requires pain control. MOTRIN, MOTRIN, MOTRIN!

If your child is refusing fluids, give a dose of Motrin (as long as they are of appropriate age), wait 30 minutes, and try to hydrate again!  If your child has a severe case, you will need to alternate every three hours with Motrin and Tylenol.  Of course consult with your doctor for evaluation, proper pain management and dosing. WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS! Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is contagious and is spread through nose and throat secretions (such as saliva or mucus), fluid from the blister, or feces. Make sure you wash your hands after changing diapers too! I hope this makes the drama of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease a little less scary!

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