Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a much dreaded viral disease that most commonly occurs in children below five years old and leaves them feeling immensely uncomfortable. It is contagious and easily spread by direct contact of bodily fluids. A child with HFMD may suffer from fever, sore throat, ulcers and a rash on their hands, feet and buttocks.
The first symptom noticeable in your child is usually fever, followed by a sore throat, accompanied by a decrease in appetite. Painful sores and ulcers and rashes subsequently develop a few days after the fever begins.
As there is currently no treatment for HFMD, the uncomfortable symptoms can be relieved, as child and parents have to wait it out. Because the disease spreads so easily, especially among young children, it’s advisable to avoid public places and stay home until the doctor gives your child the clearance, and that it is okay to return to childcare or school.
Ways to relieve the pain and help your child feel better when diagnosed with HFMD
- Create an oatmeal bath
Blisters are a much-dreaded symptom of HFMD. Oatmeal is effective for soothing inflamed skin and is extremely relaxing. To make an oatmeal bath, simply grind a cup of raw, unflavoured oatmeal into a warm bath and mix it until it is thoroughly blended into the water. Soaking in an oatmeal bath for 15 to 20 minutes helps to calm those angry rashes on your child’s body. Remember to moisturise after drying off!
- Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
To deal with skin irritation, lots of moisturising is necessary. Apply coconut oil or skin moisturiser liberally and frequently after baths to help your child deal with those rashes or blisters that are prevalent during the course of HFMD.
- Offer nutritious food in creative ways
Kids who are down with HFMD may refuse food because the painful ulcers in their throat making it hard for them to swallow. Despite the pain and decreased appetite, it is still important for them to take in nutritious food, and stay hydrated. Chinese soups are nutritious and comforting for poor appetites.
The icy temperature of frozen breastmilk popsicles or fruit lollies can ease their mouth sores and relieve pain. If they are unable to take in solids, offer non-citrus juices, cold fresh milk or Einmilk formula milk to ensure they receive the daily essential nutrients, especially when their body needs to fight the HFMD bug and heal on its own. Lots of plain water is recommended to flush out toxins.
- Plan some indoor activities
Besides feeling lethargic and listless, your child will feel uncomfortable dealing with the HFMD symptoms and may feel sad being homebound for more than a week. Look on the bright side – when was the last time you get to spend so much time with your child alone? Though sick, your child will likely enjoy your undivided attention. If your family is open to screen time, you can indulge your child with his favourite movie. Otherwise, work on simple craft activities together, like this lion mask. Set up a teepee or makeshift indoor tent with blankets and pretend you’re at a safari camp! When stuck indoors, imagination works wonders to broaden the mind.
- Lots of Tender Loving Care
Lastly, shower your child with lots of tenders, loving care and attention. Emotional encouragement aids in speeding up the recovery process and builds up a stronger parent-child bond too!
What are the best ways to provide relief for your children when they are down with Hand, Food and Mouth Disease? Do share with fellow parents below!