Recently, I was down with hand foot mouth disease, yes you hear it right, the daddy got it! It never crossed my mind that adults could get it. I always thought that it was a kid’s disease and how in the world could adults contract it. I did some research on the internet and this is what I found out about hand foot mouth disease
Hand Foot Mouth disease (HMFD) comes mainly from the Coxsackievirus A16 virus or the Enterovirus 71. This virus is commonly found in places where there is a high volume of children. Some examples are child care centres, indoor playgrounds. It is spread through direct contact with the mucus, saliva, feces of any infected person. It can also be spread to adults. Yes, adults are not spared. It is not a deadly disease but a highly infectious one.
For me, it started off with a low grade fever. It fluctuated between 37.6 to 38.2 for about 2 days. At first I thought it could be just a normal virus. Most viruses has low grade fever as one of the symptoms. On the 3rd day, my throat started to fill scratchy and it got worst as the day passed. Swallowing water was likened to eating glass. I decided to see a doctor and he found white spots at the back of my throat and near the tonsil areas. This were throat ulcers and there were probably at least 10 of them. The doctor told me very likely it was HMFD and he asked me to wait another day to see if red spots appeared on my hand, feet and mouth area. I remembered that very night, I could hardly sleep because the pain was so bad that nothing could really comfort me.
The very next day, the reality of HMFD hit me as i saw patches of redness all over my hand. I knew that’s it. All my plans for the weekend and the following week was totally spoiled. I immediately went back to the doctor and he confirmed it was HMFD. HFMD has not vaccination against the virus. All the doctor could give me was lozenges, mouth gargle, calamine lotion and loads of pain killers. I was told to quarantine myself for at least 7-8 days. That was the average time the HFMD needs to run its course in the body.
My wife and son was immediately evacuated out of the house for a couple of days to prevent any spread of infection. The scary thing about HFMD is that the incubation period could be up to 6 days before the first symptoms appeared. During that time, anyone who had direct contact with me could have potentially gotten the virus from me.
Two days later, my son was down with a mild case of HFMD but thank GOD, he recovered in less than 5 days. It was no short of a miracle. Once kids gets HMFD, they will be very cranky as they have trouble swallowing food and the itch will definetly irritate them.
What are the common symptoms for HFMD?
- fever (37.5 to 38.5 degrees)
- mouth/throat ulcers
- rashes that look like discolored spots/bumps on the hand, feet and mouth area
- loss of appetite
3 tips that I have for all the parents out there in regards to HFMD
- Quarantine is a must. No matter how hard it is, make sure you minimizing contact with a HFMD infected adult or child. All it takes is just a sneeze or a cough and the virus can spread.
- Sanitize the house once the infected adult/child recovers. You can either do it yourself by purchasing sanitizing solutions to rid the house of the bacterial or you can engage a house sanitation service provider to do a one time sanitation for you. We did the latter as we wanted the professionals in to make sure every corner of the house was sanitized. Sanitation is not magic, it does not mean that you will be immune to the HFMD virus in future. It just means that if an infected person touches the sanitized stuff in the house, the bacterial that is transferred from the infected person’s hand to the stuff that he/she touches will be killed.
- Rest. Make sure the adult/child have lots of rest. Rest can help the body to fight the virus better. It applies to all illnesses. I am sure , that if you have an infected child at home, you would want your child to recover faster. Make sure your child gets enough sleep. I know how hard is it to be resting when your whole body itches but just try to get them to lie down and relax as much as possible.
As I am writing this, I am thankful to GOD that I have fully recovered and able to get back to my normal routine. HFMD really causes a lot of inconveniences and it is hear to stay in Singapore. The best thing is to keep proper hygiene so as to minimize the risk of HMFD.