When it comes to our children getting ill, there’s nothing worse than just having to sit by and watch. You feel helpless and useless, after all, they’re your babies, you should be protecting them and making them feel better. But sometimes you just can’t. Viruses are the worst as there is nothing you can do for them, no magic medicine or antibiotics will help… So for the past week I’ve been feeling like a rubbish mum for having exposed William to hand, foot and mouth disease.
It started in the Easter Holidays, we’d been to my sisters for a BBQ. My nephew, we thought, was suffering with chicken pox (as told by 3 doctors!), and as my kids had already had chicken pox last year, I figured it wouldn’t be a problem for us to go! On the Wednesday afternoon, William started to feel warm, he was off his food and very tired. That night was awful. I was awake for most of it with him asleep on me in my bed, sweating and running a temperature. Any attempt to lay him back in his bed just ended in more tears (from the both of us) so I just gave in and let him sleep with Martin and I. William had his 1 year injections back in March, and I was told the Rubella vaccine symptoms would probably come about 6 weeks or so after the injections, and would likely just appear as a temperature and William would be off his food. But the dates didn’t really add up so I wasn’t entirely convinced.
Thursday morning came, and I noticed he had a red dotty rash on his feet. Initially I put it down to heat rash from being so hot from having a temperature, but then the same rash was appearing on his hands, At this point I was connecting the dots and waited to see if any spots developed. Just call me Sherlock, as his hands were the first to get spots that day. By Friday his face had broken out with spots around his mouth and cheeks, and his toes and feet had also gained spots. All up his legs and arms was the same dotty rash I first saw on his hands and feet. He also had spots on his bum, which again I just thought was bad timing nappy rash, but no, it’s possible to get them with this disease too. Thankfully though his temperature had gone down!
“So what can I do about it?” I thought. First things first, Google. (where else?) Nothing. I could do absolutely bugger all. What’s worse is that this disease lasts for 7-10 days! The next question I thought: “how long is he infectious for?” Well, apparently he would be infectious from just before their symptoms start showing. Brilliant, I thought. I’d only gone and seen half of Martins family this week! (And yes, I managed to infect a lot of his family either with this, or a blasted cold I was suffering with! FML.)
We’re now on day 8, and I’m happy to report that it has all just about cleared up, a few little spots left on his hands, but the dotty rash has disappeared!
So here’s what you need to know about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease:
- Typical symptoms could be a high temp of 38 degrees or more, loss of appetite, feeling unwell, coughing, sore throat/mouth.
- It can last 7-10 days.
- You’re infectious just before the symptoms start to show, up until about 5 days in.
- Rashes and spots occur on the face, feet, hands, which can sometimes blister over. They can also appear on the bum and in the groin alongside ulcers in the mouth.
- There is nothing you can do for it. Your chemist can suggest pain relief and gels/sprays to help with ulcers.
- Stay off school/nursery/work until you’re feeling better.
- It isn’t related to Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease that affects sheep, pigs and cattle.
When to seek advice:
- Your child is under 3 months with a temperature of 38C or above.
- Your child is 3-6 months with a temperature of 39C or above.
- Your child is unable/unwilling to drink fluids.
- Your child is showing signs of dehydration.
- Symptoms haven’t improved after 7-10 days.
All the information provided in this post came from The NHS Website. If your child is unwell and you’re not sure what to do, Call 111 for non-emergencies (in the UK.)
So, the mum guilt is strong right now, but kids get ill and I guess I would rather he builds up his immune system now! I’m sure it won’t be the last illness we go through.