From Friday evening my 18 month old has been suffering with hand, foot and mouth disease…and it’s been worse than the newborn days, the fourth trimester and the four month sleep regression all put together. And he’s only had it fairly mildly.
In case you have never heard of it hand, foot and mouth disease (or HFMD) is a highly contagious virus that mostly affects children. Symptoms are fever, headache, stomach ache, sore throat and a blister like rash that commonly affects the feet, legs, buttocks, hands mouth and nose.
It all started with Rafe having a fever and vomiting his entire dinner all over our bed and bedroom carpet on Friday evening. This fever continued through Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night and eventually broke on Sunday morning. Obviously I administered alternating doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen suspension to keep his temperature stable, but he literally would not sleep at all. It was like the newborn cluster feeding days all over again, except with a stronger more wriggly toddler.
After the fever had reduced Sunday I noticed a rash had appeared mainly on the soles of Rafes feet, his legs and his hands. He also had a couple of spots on his bum, poor boy! It disappeared with pressure and the fever was gone so I wasn’t overly concerned. And after some Googling I had my suspicions that it was HFMD that we were dealing with. Sunday night was awful again and it my sleep deprived, neurotic mum state I ended up calling 111 at about 3am and the lovely lady that I spoke to confirmed that it did indeed sound like HFMD, rather than Sepsis, that I had been panicking myself about. Better safe than sorry though I guess.
This whole time, since Friday evening Rafe has had barely any appetite for solid food and has only wanted breastmilk (it’s now Tuesday) and I have to admit it’s been a time where I have both loved, and hated breastfeeding in equal measure! Loved it for the comfort and antibodies that it’s giving him, helping him to get him better as quickly as possible. And hated it because it has meant I haven’t been able to get a break this whole time because he only wants me (or more specifically, boobs!) day and night. And I feel completely ‘touched out’ and exhausted.
So as mentioned we are now on Tuesday. The blisters seem to be improving by the day and it’s really only the ones on his feet that look a bit uncomfortable, although they don’t really seem to be bothering him. We have been applying calamine lotion daily and I am planning on giving him a breastmilk bath to help soothe his skin. I’ve never tried it before but because breastmilk is anti-bacterial, antiseptic and contains the fat ‘Conjugated linoleic acid’ (which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) I’m thinking that this will probably help.
So the good news is Rafe seems to be on the mend…the bad news is that now my fiancé is showing symptoms of it, so just when I thought I might get a bit of a break, I will be looking after him aswell! Just keeping my fingers crossed that by some miracle it skips me!