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Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease: What to Expect

As I sit typing this, I cannot believe that I am typing this. You guys- my family has been hit with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Ugh! A couple of weekends ago, we were at a family birthday party for my sweet niece. At the time, no one knew that she had picked up HFMD from daycare. She and Baby S 'played' together and shared some toys. Later that week, S began not feeling well. I knew something was wrong, but she didn't have the usual cold symptoms. It wasn't until I remembered that my sis-in-law texted me to tell me that little M had been diagnosed with HFMD mid-week that it all began to click. 

Our HFMD Timeline

Friday night-
S was irritable and had a moderate fever. She slept for 1 solid hour during the night. I slept for 45 minutes. She had a lot of discomfort and gas.

Saturday morning-
We noticed little red bumps forming on S' arms and legs, and decided to take her to the weekend doctor. Luckily, her pediatrician was on call, and we got to see him. He didn't diagnose her with HFMD, because the bumpy rash was on her arms and legs and not yet on her hands, feet or mouth, nor did he see any spots in her mouth/throat. He said she has a mild ear infection and was probably fighting some other virus that could cause a rash in babies. He prescribed an antibiotic for the ear infection and told us to give her infant Tylenol for the pain.

Saturday afternoon/evening-
S was still in a lot of pain, and the rash began to spread. No sleep again on Saturday night- but fever was gone.

The rash was full blown. Poor S had red spots all over her little body. It broke my heart to see my perfect little babe covered in blisters. They didn't seem to bother her as long as we kept up with giving her the Tylenol. S had very little appetite all day and had trouble nursing or taking a bottle. I pumped as much as I could to keep up my milk supply. No sleep Sunday night.

Rash spread to mouth, neck, chest and ears. No sleep Monday night.

S' rash started to dry a bit. Some spots started to disappear, while others were scabbing over. Tuesday afternoon was when I got sick. I felt extremely achy, had chills and hot flashes, an extreme headache, and nausea. I went to bed at 6 pm, and couldn't nurse S. She had expressed milk from a bottle. I did nurse S around 9 pm, and again at midnight. Once everyone went to bed for the night, we all slept until 4 am.

I woke up with a sore throat, and felt very hungry. I ate breakfast and noticed that it hurt to swallow. As the day progressed, I noticed a couple of red spots forming on my hand. The sore throat also worsened throughout the day. Baby S continued to feel better, wanted to play, and her skin continued to dry out.

I felt much better, yet noticed more spots forming on my hands and feet. By Thursday night, the sore throat was gone, but red spots were spreading and it hurt my feet to walk. S ate, slept, and played as usual. I had a hard time going to sleep and felt dehydrated, despite drinking tons of water all day.

I woke up at 5 am in extreme pain. My hands and feet felt like they had pins and needles and were on fire at the same time. The rash had spread and there were many more large and small spots on my fingers, hands, feet and in between my toes. My feet were swollen. I got up to use the bathroom and cried because walking hurt so badly. I took Ibuprophen for the pain. Throughout the morning, the rash began to itch, so I took a Benedryl.

This is as far as we've gotten in this journey. I'll update my story as it continues. I can tell you that I didn't even know about this disease until a friend of mine mentioned that her kid's daycare had a case of it last spring. I thought that unless my kids went to daycare (which they don't), they would never get it or be exposed to it. It's miserable. It's like a combination of the flu, poison ivy and the chicken pox! I expect that I will be in quarantined through Labor Day weekend (this is highly contagious), which sucks, because it's my hubby's birthday. This is not how we envisioned spending this weekend. B doesn't have any symptoms, and neither does hubby. I pray that they do not get this.

It's most common in kids 0-5, and most commonly contracted at daycare, because it's spread through saliva and/or feces (gross, I know). S got it from her cousin. It can take 3-5 days to germinate and for symptoms to show up. Symptoms are not necessarily the same for adults, and actually seem to be worse than they are for kids. Yes, adults CAN get this. I continuously washed my hands and Cloroxed my whole house, but I have a 4-month-old attached to me 24/7- sneezing, coughing, drooling on me, etc. And yeah- I kissed all over her when she started to feel sick last Friday. We had no idea that she might possibly have HFMD.

What is HFMD?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, mouth sores, and a skin rash.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing, or contact with blister fluid or feces (stool) of an infected person. You can lower your risk of being infected by:

Washing your hands often with soap and water
Disinfecting dirty surfaces and soiled items
Avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with infected people

*There is no treatment for HFMD. It simply has to run its course, which can last anywhere from 5-10 days.

No lie- this disease is painful, takes a toll on you, and is extremely inconvenient and irritating. It should not exist. I hope and pray that you never have to deal with it, but if you do, at least you've read our experience with it and you'll sort of know what to expect.

Stay well & have a safe weekend!


  1. Im so sorry this happened! I hope it runs its course quickly so you all can be healthy again soon.

  2. I have heard of this disease and am so sorry that you got this! I hope you are getting over it and are feeling better. Your poor baby!

  3. I have it too right now!! My 18 month old showed symptoms last Monday, red spots by Thursday, and I had fever Friday evening. My spots didn't show up until Sunday afternoon/evening but the pain is now excurciating. My hands look like yours and itch like crazy!! I've never been so miserable in my life!!


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