I haven’t posted in a while. Life has just taken over and looking after my sick child has taken up most of my week. She has been sick for so long now that I’ve lost count. I guess this is what they mean when they say kids get sick alot when they start childcare! This week, alongside with her cold and flu symptoms, she has been diagnosed with mild bronchitis and HFMD (hand foot and mouth disease).
It sounds alot worse than it really is. During the day, she is still her bubbly self and you wouldn’t even notice she’s sick. But at night time, the poor thing is waking up screaming and nothing I do will calm her down, which scares me. After an hour of screaming, she eventually falls asleep on my chest. Today is day 4 of this and I’m wearing a bit thin. Her mild bronchitis is making her cough so much that she ends up throwing up, which I have gotten use to. She’s not eating much but thankfully she’s still taking her bottle, so at least she’s having something!
What is HFMD?
Well, it’s caused by the Coxsackie A Virus. It’s present in fluids from the nose, mouth and chest, and spreads to other children through their cough or sneezes. It is also the fluid within the blisters that form on their arms and legs. It’s also present in the stools of infected children. It sounds all very serious but in most cases it is rather mild and harmless. However, it is very contagious and given that there were 10 confirmed cases at Madeleine’s childcare, I wasn’t surprised she got it too!
What are the symptoms?
The virus infects the child 4 to 6 days before symptoms arises. Over the weekend, I noticed that Madeleine was very tired and restless, waking up constantly throughout the night and her naps were all over the place. She wasn’t eating much and was rather fussy. She had a high temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius (101 degrees Fahrenheit) the night before her symptoms showed up on her skin. The next day, tiny blisters showed up around and in her mouth, arms, feet and nappy area. The blisters are bright red and the ones in her mouth have given her a sore throat resulting in her lack of appetite. The symptoms usually crust over or clear within 7 to 10 days. The child is considered contagious until the blisters have crusted over, so she’s having a week off from childcare.
Are there any treatment available?
Unfortunately, because this disease is caused by a virus, there’s no treatment available except for symptomatic relief. I’ve given her some paracetamol (acetaminophen, Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®) to ease the pain and fever. I find that alternating between the two works best for her. Giving her lots of fluids and formula (when she hasn’t eaten much) will help keep her hydrated and keep the fever down.
I am trying to be extremely careful so that I don’t get it too! So hand hygiene is very important. Things like washing your hands after touching her blisters and changing her nappy is imperative! I’ve heard of cases where the child is infected first, and soon after both the parents get it too!
Unfortunately for me, even though Madeleine is really tired, she’s not sleeping very much! Therefore, I’m not sleeping very much. I can’t wait until the week is over. She is still her happy self and plays like nothing is bothering her. Hopefully she’s better soon so we can head out, staying at home for a whole week isn’t very fun!
How did you cope when your little one had HFMD?