We have been seeing a lot of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease at Bayshore Pediatrics lately. A lot of parents hear that diagnosis and get very nervous. Although this illness can cause some serious discomfort, it is not a serious problem. In fact, most cases can be easily treated at home. It is a common infection in children that is usually caused by the coxsackie virus or other viruses. It can cause mouth sores and a rash on the hands, feet, or buttocks. Your child may have a sore throat, drooling, or pain when swallowing. Fevers are common, but should not last more than 3 or 4 days. Kids are no longer contagious 24 hours after the fever is gone. It can be easily spread from one person to another and usually appears about 1-3 days after exposure, so it is important to wash hands and not share food or drink with anyone who may have it. The illness usually lasts about 7-10 days. Because it is a virus, there is no medicine that can stop it or make it go away faster, but there are things you can do at home to help your child feel better. The most important thing is to make sure your child is comfortable. Some things to aid in that are:
- Offer plenty of fluids.
- Alternate Tylenol and ibuprofen every 3-4 hours to help with pain and fevers.
- If your child is old enough to swish liquid in his/her mouth and spit it out, you can try “Magic Mouthwash”
o To make it, mix 25mL diphenhydramine liquid (such as Benadryl) with
25mL antacid liquid (such as Mylanta).
- Swish and spit 5mL of the mix every 6 hours.
- Give your child cold liquids, ice, or frozen juice bars may help soothe mouth pain. Avoid giving your child spicy or acidic foods.
- A cool-mist humidifier in your child’s room can help your child breathe more easily. Be sure to clean the humidifier often using directions from the company that made it.
There are some times you should call the office:
- If your child is unable to drink.
- If your child has signs of dehydration such as crying less tears, dry mouth, no urine for 8-10 hours and decreased activity.
- The rash gets much worse and the joints are swollen, red or painful.
- If your child is breathing faster or has a hard time taking breaths.
- New ear or face pain.
It can stink big time to see your child with hand, foot and mouth. The frustration can be endless to see your child so uncomfortable, but have comfort in the fact that it will pass and children are very resilient.