Hand Foot Mouth Disease: How to survive it.

Last week at preschool Waverley caught Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD). We got a letter from the school telling us that the 2 year old classroom had been “exposed” and if any symptoms should appear to keep your child at home. We’d already gotten one of those letters about Pink Eye and also about some weird skin virus a few weeks ago so I was starting to think that I’ve been sending my kid to to some germ-infested wasteland. The first thing I did the next morning at drop off was try to figure out who patient zero was. I know this accomplishes absolutely nothing and placing blame on an innocent child is cruel but it just made me feel a little bit better about the whole situation. After the whole fiasco, I found out that that little boy singlehandedly took out 9 of the 12 kids in Waverley’s class. Thanks Griffin.

Of course the next day, Wavy woke up complaining of “owies” in her mouth and when I looked in — blisters. Lots of them. I started to panic because that meant that I wouldn’t be able to finish binge watching Black Mirror on Netflix that day, or even that week. Again, thanks Griffin.

Anyhow, HFMD is caused by a virus and it’s super duper contagious. Everyone kept telling us to wash our hands but seriously, there’s pretty much no way to avoid spreading it to everyone else in the house or classroom.

The worst part of HFMD is the mouth blisters. Christopher had HFMD a few years back and had a few blisters on his hands and feet but nothing in his mouth. This time around it was bad, really really bad. Wavy had blisters all on her tongue and the side of her mouth (plus her butt, feet, legs and knees). Every time she ate or drank anything she would cry. And for the remainder of the day she would whine. Literally all day — whined. I know I should be more sympathetic to her pain but seriously 12 hours of whining can really do a number on you. And the best part, right before the weekend started we found out Christopher had caught it too. Yay! Double whining!

Anyhow during this week of pain (physical and mental) I compiled a list of things that helped me (and the kids) survive:

Popsicles. Lots and lots of popsicles. I made some homemade apple juice popsicles and these Weelicious strawberry yogurt pops. I also picked up popsicles from the store to keep things exciting.

Gatorade/Pedialyte/coconut water/juice. I went to Target to buy Gatorade but when I read the label, I just couldn’t do it. There is so much sugar in it it’s ridiculous. Also why does it come in neon colors?? Both kids don’t like Pedialyte or coconut water so I resorted to watered down apple juice. My kids almost never get juice so the fact that they had endless amounts all day made the whining stop for at least 10 minutes at a time. Win for me.

Jello. Ugh. Again, super high in sugar and filled with lots of artificial crap. But, it was seriously one of the only things they would consistently eat. Waverley kept saying, “it’s so jiggly!”

Pudding and Applesauce.  In cup and pouch form. Both were a hit.

“Go-Gurt” style yogurt sticks.  I like the Stonyfield, Siggi’s and Trader Joe branded ones. My kids love all of the flavors except when there’s only one strawberry left and nobody wants the blueberry. Then inevitably a fight erupts and I end up yelling and eating the last strawberry myself.

The good thing about HFMD, according to my pediatrician, is that it’s not that harmful of a virus in the sense that the likelihood of death is pretty low. The bad thing is that it can last for a week or more so prepare yourself mentally for lots of whining, fights over who gets the last orange Jello cup, endless hours of coloring and play doh, and a few sleepless nights.

Waverley was back to school 6 days after the blisters showed up and Christopher was back in 5, and I was able to finish watching Black Mirror the following week. Good luck.


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