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

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.

18 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 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!!

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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 🙁

  7. 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

  8. 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?

  9. 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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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….

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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