Last week started off like every other week. Same routine and Emma being he usual active and happy self. By Friday she was acting off. She woke up an hour and a half early from her nap and was cranky the rest of the day. The whole day she was clingy and wouldn’t let me put her down. Literally the whole day she was acting this way. I of course couldn’t get anything done and had to be on mommy duty with no breaks until my husband got home from work.
This is very unlikely behavior for Emma. She’s usually very independent and while she likes me being around her all the time, she doesn’t typically cling on to me. She plays with her toys by herself and as long as I’m on arms reach she’s ok. She’s not the type to cuddle and she definitely doesn’t usually wake up so early from her nap. She loves nap time.
Another thing I noticed was a rash that had started on her face. It spread to her arms and feet and some on her legs. They were tiny red hives right one her cheeks and the ones on her feet looked a little worse. Throughout the weekend the rash seemed to get worse but she didn’t have a fever and her mood got better too. We went to a birthday party on both Saturday and Sunday and she had a great time. She danced, played, ate, and had fun. Still no fever.
I however was still concerned about her rash so Sunday night I decided I would call the doctor in the morning. By Monday morning the spots on her hands and feet looked much better, but the ones on her cheeks were still just as bad. I called the doctor and they had us come in for the doctor to see her. She instantly diagnosed her with Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease. While this is a very common virus for kids to catch, I wasn’t very familiar with it. I had come across it online while researching what her rash could be. But I didn’t pay much attention since she didn’t have a fever, her rash wasn’t anywhere as near as bad as the pictures I came across, and she didn’t have any spots in her mouth.
My immediate questions were, what exactly is hand, foot, and mouth disease? How do we treat it? And how did she get it?
She said that hand, foot, and mouth disease is known as a common end of summer/fall virus. It causes small ulcers in the mouth that can be very painful. It also makes small blisters and red spots appear on hands and feet. The spots can spread to other parts of the body and if they turn purple then medical attention should be seek immediately. A mild fever is usually caused along with the spots on the body. This illness usually occurs in children age 6 months to 4 years.
To treat it there really isn’t any medication for the blisters and red spots. They go away on their own after about 5-7 days. Tylenol or ibuprofen may be given to reduce fever. Maalox or Mylanta can be given to child to rinse their mouth with. Cold foods such as Popsicles and sorbet can help sooth the pain from the ulcers in the mouth. The virus is usually contagious within the first 24-48 hours from when symptoms first appear.
As far as how she could have gotten this virus is something we will never really know. Her doctor told us to not dwell on that because it will just drive us crazy. She could’ve gotten it from another child, at the store, the park, etc. Having a clean house doesn’t prevent these viruses from happening either. Babies will get sick with these type of illnesses and there’s nothing we can do to prevent them. As parents it’s important for us to keep that in mind and not beat ourselves up with the question how could I have kept my baby safe from this? Because the truth is, we just can’t.
This week Emma has been doing much better. We were lucky that she didn’t get the ulcers in her mouth and like I mentioned before didn’t get a fever either. The doctor mentioned that Friday was probably the worst day for her going through this and that’s why she was so cranky that day. While she didn’t have spots in her mouth she probably did have some cuts in her throat which caused extreme discomfort. I’m so glad I spent the day with her and held her when she wanted to be on mommy and fell asleep on me.
The red spots on her hands and arms are gone and the ones on her cheeks are almost all gone as well. Her doctor also tested her for strep throat and she was cleared of that.
This virus has thought me that my baby is a strong little girl with an even stronger immune system. This is only the second time she gets sick with something more than just a stuffy nose. She had a cold after she turned one which actually caused her to get a fever. Her getting this mild disease will just help her body get stronger and ready to fight any other diseases she may get later on with even more strength.