WORK/LIFE BALANCE FROM A MOM AND NURSE PRACTITIONER

TGIF: Our week with hand, foot and mouth

4/15/16
This week was a doozy. Last Thursday I was out with a friend at lunch with my son, who is normally well-behaved at lunch if he has something to distract him. He was so fussy he was throwing his toys and refusing to eat. My friend who is a PA, pointed out a rash on his arm. My son frequently has eczema flare-ups, so I hadn't thought much of the rash, but it did look different. That night when I got my son ready for his bath the rash had spread all over his diaper region, hands, and feet.



He was still fussy, but didn't have a fever or any other symptoms. I kept him home from daycare the next morning, and took him to the pediatrician who confirmed my suspicion of hand, foot and mouth disease. Hand, foot and mouth disease is the general term for a viral infection, most commonly caused by the Coxsackievirus or Enterovirus. This infection can present with symptoms of fever, rash on hands, feet, and sores in the mouth. Adults are less likely to develop rash, however can have the other mentioned symptoms. This infection can be spread through close personal contact, air, blister fluid, saliva and stool. Generally, the illness is contagious within the first week of symptoms. This infection is usually self-limiting, meaning requires no medication other than treating a fever, and will resolve within 7-10 days in most cases. The most serious complication in children is dehydration related to being unable to take in adequate fluids if mouth sores are severe. That afternoon after my son's rash developed, I started to feel chilled, but chalked it up to the unusually rainy weather we had been experiencing. However the next day, I was shivering, had a sore throat, and a fever of 102. I was so fatigued, I couldn't get off the couch. I took a good look in my throat the next day, and I had ulcerations in my posterior pharynx, confirming that I had also come down with hand, foot and mouth disease as well. Anything I ate burned, and I could only tolerate eating yogurt for a few days. The fever only lasted a day, but the ulcerations in the throat were 4 days, and were unbearable. Thank God, we are both feeling better for the weekend.  If you suspect your child has hand, foot and mouth disease make sure to see your pediatrician. More serious illnesses, such as Kawasaki disease, can present with similar symptoms. More information on hand foot and mouth disease is available on CDC website here. Have a great weekend!
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