POST DISCLAIMER: Let me start by saying I am NOT a Doctor or medical professional. My advice should NEVER take the place of medical advice given by a true Medical Professional. These are based on my experiences.
What Is It?
Hand, Foot, and Mouth is a mild virus that causes sores on the hands, feet, and around or inside the mouth. The sores are a combination or red raised bumps and blister like sores. The symptoms can last between 7 to 10 days and go away on their own. It occurs more commonly in infants and children under the age of 6. Although, I have heard of cases where adults have been affected.
How Does It Affect My Child
I am about to get real honest. Your child will be miserable. There is no way to sugarcoat it. Your best friends during this time will be pain medication, baths, pedialyte and deep breathing.
Usually the first symptom your little one experiences is a fever. This is where the miserable part comes in. Your child will feel unwell and it may affect their appetite. Then the rash (and possibly blisters) comes. It can be on their feet, legs, hands, mouth, and sometimes on their bottoms. Your child can also experience headaches, itchiness, and a sore throat.
If you have a child who isn’t talking yet or has a small vocabulary, then they cannot communicate what may be going on with them. So, you will get frustrated that you are doing all you can but it will not take away their discomfort. I know I did.
What Can I Do To Help My Child
The biggest thing you can do is to keep your child comfortable and hydrated. All of the following recommendations are from my personal experiences or from other moms I know. Again, this should NOT replace advice given by a medical doctor!
Motrin or Ibuprofen works better than Tylenol if you little one is able to take it.
Add a tablespoon of baking soda or Epsom salt to their bath. It seems to soothe their poor skin.
Use an oatmeal based wash. I used the Aveeno Cleansing Therapy Eczema Baby Bath Wash and it worked wonders at soothing her rash.
Pedialyte can make the difference between staying hydrated and a trip to the ER for fluids. We gave Scarlett whatever she would drink. Water, water mixed with pedialyte or juice, milk, chocolate milk, and we even bribed her with a milkshake. Literally whatever it took to keep her hydrated. Some parents use popsicles but in our case, she is not fond of them.
This is a very short season. It will not last forever. On average, 7 to 10 days. Give your little lots of extra snuggles but make sure you are washing their hands, your hands, and keeping things clean in general. Also, it can be spread by sneezing and coughing. Just use caution and practice lots of patience. Most of all, it will be over with before you know it.