Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dear HFMD: YOU SUCK!

Braden never gets sick.Well, there was that one time before his first Christmas when he had his first and only fever, double ear infections, and was lethargic for a few days...but he literally slept it off. He's had the odd toddler runny, gunky snot nose...but hasn't ever reeeeeeeally been sick. Until now.

Braden has always had eczema, he often breaks out in rough, scaly patches once a month or so. But with the use of many different lotions for eczema and the odd oatmeal bath, we've always managed to control it very well on our own. When I left for my weekend away, he had bad eczema on his legs for over a week. No matter what we did this time...it wasn't going away. When I came home on Sunday, Jay said his eczema was getting worse and worse, even though he continued to apply the lotion. After church, as soon as they walked in the house he projectile vomited, luckily it was just the one time. He had a good nap and was really perky after that. By the time I got home he was starting to look worse and worse and ended up going to bed with a fever of 38.8. He passed out midway through a bedtime song, which is very unlike him. The fever broke really fast after some Tylenol and an hour later he perked up and was awake, happily in bed for the next hour or so. He made it wonderfully through the night...but then on Monday his "eczema" on his legs got worse and worse and was spreading like wildfire. He had a patch around his bellybutton and it was beginning to spread to his forearms.

Jay's cousin, and my friend, works in ER with me and I knew she was on that night. I texted her pictures to show the docs at the hospital and they thought either chicken pox or hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD). I, myself, kind of thought at first that his eczema was reeeeeeally infected but it didn't make sense that it would spread so bad. I got him an appointment with his family doc at the clinic for Tuesday AM, but I should have listened to my instincts and took him right into ER that day...for the night was awful. He was up every hour until 3:30 AM and finally got a 3 hour stretch of sleep in until he was up for the day at 6:30. I received a diagnosis of "infected eczema" at my doc's office...was kind of leary of that diagnosis, and went to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled for cloxacillin - a very strong antibiotic often prescribed for skin diseases. The pharmacist took one look at Braden and said "there's no way that's just eczema, it doesn't spread like that - you go get a 2nd opinion RIGHT NOW." Plus, God was watching over us and that pharmacy was out of clox anyway. Eep! I love our family doctor, I do...but I agreed with the pharmacist, so as Braden fell asleep in the truck, I drove the hour + drive to the town I work in to go to my ER with him.

By Tuesday he started to develop tiny blisters on his hands, but none on his feet. He did have a little lesion on his tongue from the night before, I noticed. As soon as I got to triage, our charge nurse said "that's hand-foot-mouth!" I don't have a lot of experience with childhood rashes. Whenever they do come to ER and I triage them...I just write "rash" and let the docs deal with it. I've never really seen HFMD up close and personal...but from what I had researched, it didn't seem like a typical presentation of it.
Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease Blisters
One tiny lesion on his tongue and as you can see a few small blisters starting on his lips (the one on his cheek is a bug bite!)
We got in right away to see the doc, God bless the nursing card I was able to pull!, and she never did say that it was officially HFMD, but she said it was a really bad viral infection and he had sores all over the back of his throat and she couldn't believe how "normal" and well he was acting. That's been our saving grace, for us and for Braden, is that during the day you would never know that he was sick, but at nighttime...he has a very hard time settling - just think of yourself and what it feels like to go to bed and sleep with a sore throat...without all the sores in your mouth to boot. :( So we left with a prescription for glaxal base cream mixed with 1% hydrocortisone to settle his rash down. By that time it became pin-point on his tummy, genitals and up his arms. Luckily, the rash hasn't seemed to bother him and he does not scratch it - thank God! She also swabbed him for strep throat which came back negative - so that's another good thing.
Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease Blisters

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease Blisters
Tiny blisters on his sweet little hands :(
So I'm unofficially diagnosing him myself with HFMD. The weird thing, to me, is that he got the blisters AFTER the rash on the legs and arms...and usually it's the opposite to what I've read. Here's some more info, and my disclaimer is - I'm writing this as a parent of a child with HFMD and not as a nurse. This is not health advice, it's just information, please follow up with your family doctor if you suspect your child has HFMD:
  • it is a viral illness, therefore no antibiotics or any medicine will make it go away, it just has to run it's course
  • it's spread through coughing and sneezing, or through stool (eww)
  • it usually takes 3-6 days for the disease to show symptoms, which makes sense why Braden got his blisters later I suppose
  • in some cases kids get a rash before the blisters (okay, now I know Braden has HFMD!)
  • the sores/blisters usually go away in a week or so
  • most cases go away in 7-10 days, currently we are on day 5 since symptoms began, I assume day 6 since exposure most likely at the swimming pool on Saturday
  • wash, wash, wash your hands to prevent the spread of infection
  • the virus can live in the stool several months after the blisters heal - take extra caution with diaper changes, or in our case with wiping a dirty bum
  • until the blisters dry, a child is considered infectious
I don't want to show you pictures of how awful his legs were, even though I know it's not my fault, I feel like an awful parent for him having to go through this! Please keep him in your prayers, I hope that his throat feels better so that he can get a decent sleep tonight, he is SO overtired! Being snuggly in bed with Mommy and Gus this AM:
Late AM snuggles with my sicky and Gus.

Thanks to all my friends and family for the texts and to my IG and Twitter friends who have been asking how B is doing, it sure means a lot!
Sarah

20 comments:

  1. poor Braden :( My daughter had HFMD last fall, but a more minor case than your little one I think. Then I got it! So I feel their pain. It is really weird feeling actually. The sores are tingly more than painful, but the fever taht goes along with it and mouth sores are no fun. We used something they called "magic mouthwash" - I don't know if your doc told you about it. Its just a mixture of Benedryl and liquid antiacid, so if his mouth really hurts, maybe that is something to look into too. hopefully it will pass soon and he will be healthy for a long time again!! You're lucky that he hasnt been too sick for 2 years!

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    1. Oh it's just awful...I don't think he'll get the "swish and spit" thing of mouthwash, otherwise I'd just try a saline rinse. Thanks for the advice though!

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  2. Oh that poor little guy. Hugs and prays that he feels better ASAP!

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    1. Thanks, Candice...it's awful to see your child suffer knowing there's really not much you can do about it. Sigh.

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  3. Poor kiddo. If you remember, Colin had HFMD recently and it didn't last very long. Hopefully B's will go away soon! Hugs to you both!

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    1. I do remember! We're well into it now and he finally turned a corner last night/today. It seemed to last forever!

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  4. Poor little guy!! But it sounds like he's normally pretty healthy, let's hope he's heals up quick! I'll send up a prayer for the little man. Give him some extra snuggles and enjoy the cuddles, before you know he'll be running all over again! =)

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    1. This seems to have taken forever, but yes...I'm enjoying the snuggles and cuddles because he's pretty frugal with them otherwise!

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  5. Poor baby boy! E had HFMD too and it looked just like what he has!!! Hope he feels better soon!

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    1. It's just awful! I feel like a horrible parent, but I guess it's one of those childhood diseases that just goes around. It sucks.

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  6. Oh My gosh! That is so awful that he has to be going through this and not easy on him or mommy. I hope he feels better, give him a big kiss and a hug...xox

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    1. Not easy but I think we're on the mend now. Hugs and kisses a plenty!

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  7. Hope he is getting better! Our extended family just went through this!

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    1. Much better today...and it's just an awful thing!

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  8. Sounds like he's on his way to getting better, but if his mouth sores seem to be bothering him you can put mylanta or magic mouthwash on them with a q-tip for some relief (which I know is SUPER easy with a toddler;)). Hope he feels better soon!

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    1. Yes and even better today. And yeah...there's no way I could do that for his mouth, but thanks for the advice!

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  9. Poor guy. Hugs to him. Hope he gets better soon. My little guy had it when he was in a center daycare and it spread like wildfire. He got it from another little guy in another classroom. It's just nasty. Thinking of you guys!

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    1. I had no idea how awful it is, I will definitely be able to teach more about this in ER when parents bring in their kiddos!

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