Monday, July 19, 2010

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

"Isn't that an animal disease?" Why no! In the spring and summer, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease seems to run rampant in daycares and other kid-filled places. Eventually, every kid seems to get it. Certainly don't take take the advice of this column over the advice of your doctor, but here is my experience.

It seems to come on with a high fever that doesn't respond well to medicine. However, kids can get it multiple times and subsequent times the fever may not be as high. My son didn't even have a fever at all the third time he got it.

Some kids have the tell-tale blisters on their hands and feet, but others will just have them in their mouth. The first time my son had it, he only had one blister in his mouth. Blisters in the mouth might cause your child to refuse food or liquids.

So, all kids seem to react differently - some are really miserable and are clearly sick. Others show very few symptoms at all and you'd hardly know their sick. Only your doctor will be able to diagnose Hand, Foot, and Mouth. But the good news is, other than fever reducers, TLC, and popsicles (if they're refusing food), there isn't a whole lot you can do. It usually goes away in a few days - and subsequent outbreaks may only last 48 hours.

Don't fret if your child gets this weird sounding "disease." It's a right of passage. And if your child is like mine and gets it 4 or 5 times, you'll basically be able to diagnose it yourself. And yes, parents can get it. It's rare and if you do get it, it won't likely be severe. However, if you're really run down, you're more likely to get it and it's more likely to be bothersome (e.g., bad sore throat).

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