Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease: A Double Whammy And What It’s Really Like

Joanna Venditti January 25, 2016 Family, Parenting, Lifestyle, Wellness

Twins hand, foot and mouth diseaseHand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFM) is the WORST. I have four kids, and over my six years as a parent we have experienced chicken pox, countless stomach flus, colds, roseola, and a handful of injuries. But the past week of each of our twins having HFM has felt almost biblical.

Apparently not every experience with HFM is as bad as we’ve had it, and as far as pain goes, we have been the lucky winners.

Let’s back up a week. After a weekend of one of Everly acting “off” and cranky, she spiked a fever on the Monday. I had been suspicious that it was HFM because her daycare was experiencing a full blown outbreak. The only thing was, she didn’t have any of the typical blisters around her mouth, hands or feet, which goes hand in hand with HFM (hence it’s name).Hand foot and mouth disease sign

The sign hanging on the door at Mia and Everly’s daycare. Not what a mom wants to see.

By the Tuesday Evening I was racing Everly to the ER, because she was inconsolable. Her fever had broken the day before, but she wasn’t sleeping and was crying all. of. the. time.

After a thorough check-up, the doctor finally found blisters on the roof of her mouth. HFM blisters look like little pimples. Mystery solved. What could we do for her? Give her Advil and Tylenol (on a rotation) every three hours and wait it out. HFM is viral. It cannot be treated by antibiotics. To read more, here is a great article from Baby Center.

It was a long week of crying, but by the Friday, she was finally back to herself. We thought HFM was behind us and Everly’s twin Mia had dodged a bullet, but we were so wrong.

On Saturday morning, after a fussy night, I suspected the worst. Sure enough, Mia had the ominous fever. My husband, Mike, and I braced for what we knew was coming: a couple sleepless nights and a lot of crying.Toddler cryingBy Sunday, Mia had a full body rash, concentrated around her mouth, on her arms, feet and the worst area being her thighs, torso and bum. In fact, I have read that having the rash around the buttocks is very common.Hand foot and mouth rashHand, foot and mouth disease rash on 18 month old.

While Mike and I were heading to bed, after all four kids had been a asleep for a couple hours, I had an unsettling realization. Mia barely drank anything since that morning. Every time we had offered her a drink, she would push it away because her mouth was so sore. In fact, she hadn’t had a wet diaper since 2pm. This was concerning, and we knew that a trip to the ER was waiting for us in the morning hours.

That night was brutal to get through. Mia screamed the entire time, and wanted me to hold her constantly. By 2 a.m. I was about to race to the hospital with Mia, but she suddenly started to take sips of her water, so we decided to try to grab some sleep and put off the hospital until a more friendly hour.

5:50 a.m. Mia woke up wailing and she wouldn’t stop. She insisted that I hold her all of the time (picture a Gorilla and her baby). I should point out, she is 25 pounds and I am a short, teeny tiny person with a history of back problems. As much as I would love to say I am an expert baby wearer, that is not the case. Oh, and have you ever gone to the bathroom while a person is sitting on your lap? It’s quite the experience, you should try it sometime.toddler drooling 2

The white stuff on Mia’s face is Calamine lotion… which helped a lot with the blisters. Both twins drooled a lot. I think because it hurts too much to swallow.

I headed with Mia to the hospital, ready for her to be admitted for dehydration. But luckily, by the time we arrived she had turned a corner. Mia started eating, and taking more sips of water. Once the doctor got to us, Mia had produced the most beautiful wet diaper I have ever changed. We were sent home, instructed to keep doing what we are doing, and once again, wait it out.Hand foot and mouth disease hospital visit

Mia in the emergency room. Not impressed.

While at the emergency room, a triage nurse was telling me that she and her son had had HFM before, and she was able to describe what the pain felt like: She said that her blisters went all the way down her throat, and the pain was so bad, she was prescribed codeine. The blisters on her hands and feet felt like… you know when your foot has fallen asleep and as the feeling comes back, it can feel like pins and needles? The blisters feel like pins and needles all of the time. She said that putting pressure on it, like wearing gloves, made the sensation a little more bearable. Oh, and her toenails also fell off, which apparently is also very common.

So here we are. Mia is napping, our house is trashed, and Mike and I are feeling like we have been hit by trucks. We are praying that this is the end of HFM for our home. I am not sure if we can take anymore… mercy! Mercy!

Here are some tips from some of my friends which I plan to try with Mia:

  • popsicles and soup are easier for kids with HFM to eat.
  • If your child is old enough, do a salt-water mouth wash, or apparently there is a “magic mouthwash” some doctors prescribe.
  • banana smoothies (think all alkaline foods), with hemp hearts, ice cubes, and protein to fill them up with coconut milk to soothe the mouth.
  • Make coconut milk popsicles, both yummy and soothing.
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34 thoughts on “Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease: A Double Whammy And What It’s Really Like”

  1. HFM is awful…especially when my husband got it as an adult! The kids handled it well, it took him down for the count. He was miserable and in so much pain. And all you can do is wait it out.

  2. Oh you poor things!! Poor babies, poor mommy and daddy! Hope you guys are on the mend and everyone can get some much needed rest.
    My almost two year old son spiked a mystery fever this weekend so now I’m on the look out for what comes next 🙁 always waiting for the other foot to drop with kids! Thanks for the good info on HFM. Best to you and your family, get well soon!

  3. My twins it at 2 yrs old, got it at from daycare, then as an adult , I got it. It was awful!. Wanted to cut my feet off!!

  4. My girls (almost 3 and 1.5) just went through this glorious “milestone” and had it at the same time. They were NOT very fun for a week. Bonus on Friday at lunch time the older one opened her mouth and I got on the phone for a prescription to treat the Thrush I found… Super excitement and a LOT of going stir crazy because I refused to leave the house and therefore pass this to anyone else (since it’s super contagious). Thank goodness it’s over!!

  5. We’re going through this right now. Luckily she doesnt Seem to be in too much pain just at night. The only thing she really wants to eat is yogurt bit she’s been keeping hydrated with water readily available. It looks as though the blisters are healing

  6. My twins are 18 months and they have it right now. It’s the second time they have had it. It literally is the worst. I was praying it was strep throat cause a couple of days on antibiotics and it would be over! I wish there was a vaccine for this! And btw I know exactly how it is to use the bathroom with a baby on your lap lol

  7. This is one of the worst viruses ever! They should warn parents to be prepared. My daughter had 104 fever for days. I always baby her, cuddled bathes to help,etc but when I caught it that was another story I hear it’s not painful for children like adults.. I remember trying to eat and it felt like a knife in my throats and my rashes would wait me with pains of needles pricking me. I recovered and lived but months after all of my finger nails fell off like the virus attacked my nerves and killed them. It’s was horrible. Protect yourself if you are near anyone even your loving baby. I’ll wear a mask next time 🙁

  8. I first read your posts when I was pregnant with my twins. Being emersed in twin life the past 19 month I sort of stopped following everything (I too am a mom of four). My twins have HMF and looking for something to calm my second twin’s rash I stumbled upon your article (at 1:10 in the morning with a clingy baby). If nothing else, it helps to know that others have survived the same! Thanks. All the best to you. Cheers

  9. Hang in their, parents! I can’t even imagine what y’all are going through with the littles. My son is 11 and came down with what we thought was his annual strep and turned out to be HFM (Who knew?). I’ve since found out it’s common in contact sports and rapidly spreading amongst the HS athletes right now. Ugh. On top of HFM, my guy picked up Impetigo. Apparently this happens more than people think. So be careful with you’re seeing a different type of rash around the face. Impetigo is staph bacteria and needs antibiotic ointments and antibiotics Meds to treat more quickly. It’s been a week and we are really hoping the other shoe doesn’t drop. The rest of us haven’t gotten it yet…..

    1. Same thing happened with my 12 year old this week. It is absolutely dreadful for him. Almost overnight the blisters around his nose and lips turned into impetigo. This was the first time any of my children have ever caught this. And he is the youngest by 6 years. I can’t be how bad the blisters are! It must be because he is older?

  10. I started reading this after googling the things my poor 21 month old is experiencing…started reading and recognized the details such as your twins and the name everly. Then realized i watch your blogs on yt! I should have known by the nesting story title…haha ty for posting this tho because its exactly what im going through at the moment

  11. I just got over a bout of hand foot mouth and I can tell you that it’s humbling. As an adult, I assumed my immunity would be better but HFMD really knocked me out. My throat hurt CONSTANTLY – hot drinks, cold drinks, room temperature- it didn’t matter. The pain was way worse than strep throat and the BLISTERS! I chronically have canker sores starting in the fall but a full mouth of them was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. If HFMD is half as bad in children as adults, any kid who has had it is a real trooper! Also, the skin on my fingers is peeling like crazy two weeks after my initial fever. What a weird disease!

  12. I have it right now and everyday it gets worse and worse. It started off as a fever. I am 18 years old. Some guy at work’s daughter had it and he probably transmitted it to me by talking to me. But Sunday my throat was dry and I was very fatigued. Monday I had a “zit” on my forehead. Then I got home from work and I was aching and tired as hell. I slept for 12 hours and woke up Tuesday. The pains were gone but now I have twelve “zits” on my face. I was freaking out because I don’t have acne. I went to the doctors and they told me I had HFMD. Yayy… no cure no treatment. So I wake up Wednesday and its now on my feet and hands and everywhere on my face. It sucks so bad!!! My feet itch. My hands are numb. I look like a freak. I might have to take school off tomorrow if it worsens. I will update you guys again.

  13. Hi Again! I posted above in early Sept. about my son getting it. Well…his older sister got it NINE days later (!!!) and ended up with DIFFERENT symptoms and a much more severe case. My 14-year-old daughter also got a severe sore throat, headache, and fever (with a touch of nausea). She felt AMAZING after about two days and we sent her to school on Monday. By lunchtime, she was freaking out that dots were spreading on her face. By the end of day, it was clear that she was going to have it bad. NO blisters in her mouth or nose, but her legs, face, feet, and hands were covered. Our doctor calls it the “Hand Foot Mouth EVERYWHERE” disease for a reason. Our doctor confirmed that she also had HFM (It’s going around her HS too!). She was extremely itchy with numbness thrown in. Caladryl worked best (we got the clear one) and some Benadryl. About two weeks AFTER she recovered, the insane hand peeling began. Deep layers of skin sloughing off from her hands. Her feet started peeling this week (3 weeks out!). I also picked up HFM from my kiddos, but I never got blisters. I could see light patterning of a rash on my hands. My throat was crazy sore for almost a week, and it wasn’t for a few days before I realize I had “baby” tiny blisters in the back of my throat. For me, that was the extent of my symptoms, which I’ll take since I can deal with a sore throat! I’m so glad this plague is gone for the moment. My daughter ended up missing one week of school because hers was so severe.

  14. OMG!!! So glad I found this website! I’m going through this now with my previous 2 year old son! This is the hardest thing we’ve been through as parents and we have a 10 year old and didn’t go through this with her. I don’t know where he got it from because he doesn’t go to day care and none of us have it. But it started out with him saying his mouth hurts. We thought it was maybe a tooth growing in but we couldn’t tell. Then he started saying my feet hurt. I didn’t see anything wrong at first but then I noticed something that looked like a bug bite. I thought it was a mosquito! But by that night I noticed the bottom of both his feet were covered in tiny red bumps! He cried and screamed the whole night. We felt so helpless. It slowly dawned on me!… painful mouth, red bumps on the feet…oh no! Hand, foot and mouth virus! Yep, it was confirmed by the doctor. No cure, no treatment… WHAT!!! So my poor, suffering baby has to wait it out???? Of course Tylenol for fever but this bumpy rash looks terrible. Its on his mouth, feet, arms and now his private area! I feel so bad for my little man. I sent my 10 year old daughter to stay with my mom until his condition clears up. I wish there was something to put on the rash and blisters….

  15. Thank you for sharing this, we have been having the roughest 3 nights . It really is the disease from hell! I don’t moan easily at all, our wee chap was born extremely prem . It takes a lot for me to moan

  16. I live away from home for college. About 4 days ago I had what I thought was a severe flu with a mild fever, sore throat, and chills. I slept all day, only waking up to go to class just to sleep in it, which was probably a stupid idea. 2 days later my “flu” was gone but that night I realized a bump formed on my hand. I could not go to sleep that night. I felt every knew bump form, my hair was itchy as I got bumps there as well which was so weird, and my throat and tongue were killing me. The next night I could not sleep as well as the bumps furiously itched and I went to the clinic so they provided me with benophan for the itch, Advil, and lipocaine for my mouth. Now I’m at my 4th night with hand foot mouth and it spread to my ears, elbows, and feet. I slathered calamine, that my roommate graciously got for me, on my hands and ears because they were the worse and stay in bed all day. I just want it to end and I’m nervous about my head.

  17. It is 4am and my 4 year old grandson is going though this at this moment. My household has not had any sleep in 48hours and will not see any for a while. We try to take shifts but the screaming of a 4 year old in pain is hard to sleep though. I would use this in war because this is pure hell. We will all soon be in the hospital.

  18. Thank you so much for posting this! It’s 4am and my 1 year old has been crying since 9pm – it’s giving comfort that we will survive the night!!

  19. Yup. I’m sure my 5 year old don has hfm. We are 3 hours away from home camping. It has not been a good night. We have had very little sleep:( My poor boy is so uncomfortable. The worst for him is the itchiness of his hands and feet. He has been complaining of a sore throat for 24 hours (I did not think at all it was hfm until I noticed to bumps on his hands, feet, bum and groin area. I have been alternating between tylenol and advil every three hours. I think this is why he is not complaining too much about his mouth ….. yet. Hoping to get out of this campsite by 6am and drive home. It will be way easier to have the comfort of our own home.

  20. My 7 month old got this from going to the neighborhood HOA park or from other kids in the neighborhood. My 3 year old didn’t get it one bit. I now have 5 blisters on my feet and its sore like exposed skin when you walk on them. I am trying vitamins and oatmeal. He had them all over his legs and knees. They scabbed over. Horrible illness from hell!!!

  21. thanks for this. yesterday night was a nightmare for our 15month baby. he’s much better this morning but no one had told us just HOW bad it could get…

  22. I’m up right now with our 3 year old daughter who was just diagnosed with HFM (horrible blisters outside her mouth and a few inside, bumps on arms, hands, legs, and feet). Thank you all so much for reassuring me that this screaming, itching, crying, and hysteria is “normal”… night 1 is just starting.

    1. I am up with my right month old. He finally is sleeping after 1 hour of straight crying screaming. This is horrible

  23. My 9 month old has it right not and he just fell asleep after screaming for three hours. Day 2 is far worse than day 1. I hope his sister don’t get it. Scared of what is to come. ….oh wait, he is up and crying again.

  24. My 18 month old has it. Only has blisters in his mouth but oh my gosh, there are so many!! On top and underneath the tongue, and all over the roof of his mouth. He’s miserable. He cried all night long, was inconsolable. I’m dreading what tonight will bring…. We are so tired! Praying our older children don’t get it!!

  25. Thank you all for posting .Im a 51 year old caregivers.I was recently looking after a client with a granddaughter who had what we thought was the flu..That was on a Thursday the next Tuesday I broke out with a rash on my hand and it was That Wensday I was told the child didn’t have the flu it’s hfmd. I feel so bad I have been every where to the washer to the nursing home to visit my mom. I m worried about my husband.Today they called me and told me my mom is in the hospital and I’m scared to go I’m all broke out I’m really bad broke out in private areas.mine hurts my throat feels like nothing does any good. I’m trying not to feel mad but I feel angry. I no it’s no one’s fault but this is so bad .i find myself crying .its this bad on me I can amigan how your baby’s feel

  26. What works on cleaning hfmd
    I washing dishes I always put a half of top of bleach in my dish water.I have been washing the tub out and cleaning it with bleach.How long does this virus live on a surface.i have even spayed my important papers with Lysol and my school books.Do I need to wash my bed covers every day.please share what your doing to clean up.Im wearing a mask when I go out. Please share .

  27. Does any one have a rough time line for this please? I’m hoping to see some light at the end of this very dark tunnel soon.

    I’m a single mum to two my 22 month old daughter currently has HFM her fever started 5 days ago that seems to have broken but the ulcers in her mouth and her sore throat are bad. She is sipping water but nothing else. Not sleeping at night and that cry of pain is horrific. I’m tired and emotional and just want my princess better

  28. I love all this! As a dad to four, twins included it is rough on both myself and wife. I share everyday on my parenting platform called htttps://www.curiousbillgentlebull.com along with stories, tips and trick for this wild parenting world. I always appreciate the comments section! You and others are welcome to check it out.

  29. I am 50 years old. No children at home. Live with my boyfriend and a roomate. Ive had hfm for 7 weeks now. Started out when i had cellulitis very bad on both lower legs. At er i asked doctor what the flat round patches on my ankles were, she said hfm. I asked if there was a treatment,she said no. For the first 5 weeks there were just these flat round spots on my ankles .then the outside of my foot. No big deal, but then about two weeks ago i started devoloping these spots on the bottom of my feet. They are driving me insane with the intense itching and burning. I want to scrape my feet on a loofah so hard but i know that wont make it stop itching it will only cause abrasions on my walking surface.. i know cause i tried it for a few minutes. It felt so good and so bad at the same time. Im currently parked in front of a 24 hour pharmacy at 3:42 am looking for a remedy. So far not much info on how to ease tgye aggravatingly intense itch. Someone said calamine. i will get some of that. Im also going to get a pain cream with lidocaine .My grandpa once told me tea tree oil cures any skin ailment. So im going to get that and apply it every hour. Ive had a flat spot on my inner armfor about 2 weeks as well. I thought it was ringworm because a couple puppies i got about a month ago had it. I treated the arm with antifungal cream made for ring worm. It seemed to help, the spot faded and is almost gone. But then… The itch.. its just like my feet. A panicky itch. Im wondering if it was hfm the whole time. I didn’t even think about that. I have none on my hands or face.. praise the Lord. But i am wondering how much worse will this bout get. My bf and rm have no symtoms.. yet. I hope they dont get them at all. So im off to venture inside to buy anti itch cream lidocaine cream, tea tree oil and antifungal. Probably some melatonin as well so i can fall asleep regardless of my feet itching so bad a sand paper scrub sounds relaxing. 7 weeks and getting worse… I cant imagine this continuing for much longer but i dont know what to expect. I will report back often with updates on what is working. Guess if i use all lotions regularly i wont know the single remedy, maybe it will be the tincture created from the mixture. For those if you going through it.. i feel your pain. Hope you dont feel mine! Good luck my fellow hfm victims. They really need to figure this thing out and get a vaccine and remedy that works quick. Ok, im out.. watch out store hear i come.. slowly but surely. Gloved up masked up and itchy itchy oh so itchy… Stay tuned….

  30. My 2 year old son picked up hfmd from his childcare. Initially we thought he was just feverish from a meningococcal B vaccine which he got Friday, but come Monday he was still up and down, so I took him to the er thinking he’s had some delayed reaction. Oblivious to hfmd, I saw the blisters forming on his mouth but again thought they were part of vaccine reaction. Sure enough, I was told he had caught hfmd and to be extra careful cleaning his things and keeping him separate from his 5 month old sister.

    The next day after midday, I instantly start to shiver, fever feel lethargic and that wretched sore throat. I went to get a COVID test concerned it was that, at the same time wondering if my first vaccine jab over the weekend was the cause.

    Day after my son being diagnosed, I see a few spots appearing around the areas I usually have eczema, so still didn’t think anything of it. Fever had become better and my son had actually started to get back to himself with minimal fuss (very grateful!). That night, swallowing suddenly became very difficult, as if I was swallowing sandpaper.

    Day 2 after son being diagnosed, my daughter is fevering and straight away knew that she’d picked it up off my son, meanwhile my hands were beginning to be covered in rashes. I also noticed it began to feel uncomfortable when my hands were closes to anything mildly warm, let alone hot. It eventually clicked that I had also contracted hfmd and that sudden realisation that the uncomfortable feeling I was getting was from these blisters that had formed deep underneath the skin in every (yes every!) finger.

    My son by this point was fairly well, just probably a slight sore throat as he didn’t quite have his usual appetite back. My daughter continued to fever, but did feed and produce those important wet nappies which was a relief. For me, I started to feel blisters forming on my feet, but not so much that they were a pain. That night wasn’t a great night’s sleep tossing turning, though mind you since the day I started getting a fever I hadn’t slept well.

    Day 3 after son was diagnosed, hands were covered in rashes and blisters continued forming in the tips, at least 5 blisters in each fingertip. Walking all the sudden became a bit more painful too. Throat was no better, and although I was actually hungry and craving for some food, the thought of having to swallow it completely put me off. By now my face was also popping up with blisters too. My son on the other hand had his ones behind his knees slowly clear up, whilst my daughter only had a very minor increase in her blisters but seemed happier her fever was gone.

    As the day went on though, my foot blisters were becoming unbearable. Couple that with the fingers, it was like constant burning pins and needles. Just completely relentless. I knew come night time it was going to be horrible and that is why I’ve had to time to write this.

    I simply cannot sleep due to the burning tingly sensation in my feet and hands. So far this has been downright one of the worst things I’ve experienced and I’m just hoping it doesn’t go on for too much longer.

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