There’s Something Worse Than ChickenPox! Ahhh!!!

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In many cities there have been outbreaks of this lovely childhood virus.  Our small southern town has not been immune.  One innocent trip to the children’s museum downtown and voila! Little man caught the dreaded bug.  For two days we tried everything we could think of to get him to eat and to combat the fever.  We had no idea what we were dealing with, so on the third day we carried him, kicking and screaming, to the pediatrician.  I have never in my life seen my little guy so miserable and I had no idea why.

Ten minutes into our visit we had the answer.  After pointing out a bump on his leg that I had thought was a mosquito bite and examining his throat with the dreaded tongue depressor, the pediatrician delivered the verdict.  Our little angel had contracted Hand Foot & Mouth disease.  Cue the mommy guilt.  How could I not have noticed?  There were large bloody sores in the back of his mouth.  They were too far back to see without that awful tongue depressor but that didn’t matter.  I should have known. I’m his mom and I feel like that means I have to know EVERYTHING.

I had no idea what HFM was.  The pediatrician gave us a brochure to begin our adventure into the land of terror and sent us on our way.  I promptly read everything I could get my hands on.  Then I tried everything I could think of.  As those of you who have experienced this particular roller coaster ride of disaster know, there are no medicines for it.  Also, the disease, like most awful things, gets worse before it gets better.  Oh, and it lasts for a miserable length of time ranging from three days for the lucky ones to seven days for the unlucky ones.  We are not lucky. We are never lucky.

On day three, I sat in the floor of the nursery with a toddler covered from head to toe in coconut oil.  He alternated between screaming and wanting to breastfeed.  He was exhausted and in a lot of pain.  I rocked him while I sat Indian-style with him in my lap.  Thirty minutes later he was asleep and I cried. I did a lot of crying that week.  It’s a horrible sinking feeling when your child is sick and you can do nothing to make it better except hold them and ride out the storm.

After I put him to bed on the fourth night, I complained to my husband.  I said to him “Why is it that they can make a prescription medicine to grow longer eyelashes, but there is no treatment whatsoever for this awful terrible disease?”  He laughed at my theatrics.  I fumed.

His little body was covered in sores that looked like blisters that hadn’t yet popped. He had so many sores in his mouth that the only things he would eat were popsicles, whip cream, and breast milk.  He couldn’t walk for all the sores on his feet and he had the worst open sores all over his bottom.  If you’re dealing with the devil that is HFM and you need some tips, here’s what helped us: coconut oil on his feet (be sure to cover with socks), coconut oil in his bath, lots of breast milk, and popsicles.

At the end of the week we were reminded by the pediatrician that our little guy would need to stay away from other kids for a few days as he was still contagious although feeling better.  When our quarantine was over, my sister called to ask if we wanted to go to the aforementioned children’s museum.  NEVER AGAIN!  We haven’t been to the children’s museum since.  I feel a twinge of post-traumatic stress just walking by the building.

Written by: Sara Parise


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2 Responses to “There’s Something Worse Than ChickenPox! Ahhh!!!”

  1. Urgh! How horrible! My daughter has croup, and I thought that was bad enough! You poor thing. Did you try any essential oils with the coconut oil? Thanks for the tip!

  2. I did some research, but couldn’t find any mention of specific essential oils being helpful with the sores. We did burn some lavender in the evenings (anything to help him sleep!).
    Having sick little ones is the worst! 🙁