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What a Mom Wished She Knew: How to Protect Your Child from Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

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For a lot of parents bringing their child to a public play place is a great form of exercise, it gets them moving and interacting with other kids. However, these places can also be a hub for bacteria exposing your child to viruses. Madelyn, a mom from the Philippines experienced this first hand when her son Clark contracted hand foot and mouth disease after visiting a play place in a mall.

She began seeing symptoms the very next day. Her son woke up with a high fever covered in red spots from his hands to feet, she rushed him to the doctor who immediately recognized it as hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Madelyn shared her experience on Facebook to warn other parents to be cautious when bringing their children to public places. She says “ this post is sending awareness to parents for them to prevent their children from being infected and to know what to do in case this illness emerges.” (1)

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease Symptoms

Hand foot and mouth is common among children, especially those under the age of 5 although it’s possible for adults to also contract the disease. It is mildly contagious and is spread by being in contact with another person who has the virus, specifically through contact their saliva or other bodily fluids. This makes it common in a child-care setting because of the frequent diaper changes, shared bathrooms and contact with shared surfaces.

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It is usually a minor illness and only lasts a few days but can lead to complications such as dehydration so it is important to stay hydrated. When checking for HFMD in your child watch for these symptoms (2):

  • High fever
  • A sore throat
  • Red rash and painful blisters on the hands, foot, and mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability among infants and toddlers
  • Loss of appetite

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It’s a virus so it will go away on its own but there are a lot of things that you can do at home to help the healing process and make your child more comfortable (3).

1.Coconut Water Ice Cubes

Sores and blisters in the mouth can make eating and drinking very painful, the ice cubes will cool the mouth helping to relieve some of this pain. Coconut water is also full of potassium and electrolytes which works wonders to fight dehydration!

2. Bone Broth

It is important to make sure your child is eating highly nutritious foods when they are sick to help combat the virus. Bone broth is full of collagen which supports healthy skin giving the body a much-needed boost when dealing with HFMD. Check out an amazing bone broth recipe here.

3. Tea Tree Oil

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This essential oil is filled with antiviral, antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties to help speed the healing process and prevent the virus from spreading further. Add a few drops to your favorite liquid hand soap and wash with it frequently. Keep in mind tea tree oil should not be used by pregnant women.

5. Coconut Oil

You can help speed the healing of blisters by gently applying coconut oil to the skin. It contains antimicrobial and antiviral compounds that can provide relief and help prevent the spread of the disease.

6. Epsom salt baths

Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is another great way to provide relief and speed up the healing process by soothing the skin and detoxifying the body.

7. Salt Water

To get rid of any potential irritants in the mouth after eating have your child rinse their mouth with salt and water. Mix half a teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt in a glass of lukewarm water, swoosh in the mouth, spit and repeat. Pink Himalayan salt helps to balance pH levels to support a healthy immune system.

Prevent HFMD, Wash Your Hands!

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The best way to treat HFMD is to try and prevent it all together. Here are 4 of the best ways to do so (2):

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap, especially after using the toilet, changing a diaper or preparing food.
  2. Disinfect high-traffic areas and surfaces.
  3. Make sure your family is practicing good hygiene and avoid putting their hands or fingers in their mouth
  4. Isolate contagious people by keeping children who have foot-and-mouth disease out of childcare or school until the fever is gone and most of the blisters have healed.   

 

1.BETTS, A. Mom Warns Against Crowded Places After Son Acquires Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD)  Betts, A. (2018). Mom Warns Against Crowded Places After Son Acquires Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD). [online] Elite Readers. Available at: https://www.elitereaders.com/mother-warns-crowded-places-son-acquired-hand-foot-mouth-disease-hfmd/

2. HAND-FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE – SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES Mayo Clinic. (2018). Hand-foot-and-mouth disease – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353035

3.HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE + 17 NATURAL TREATMENTS – DR. AXE             Dr. Axe. (2018). Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease + 17 Natural Treatments – Dr. Axe. [online] Available at: https://draxe.com/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease/

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