I've heard of a few recent cases of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease so I wanted to touch on this subject.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is a common viral infection affecting mostly children under the age of 10 although it can occur in adults as well. Symptoms include fever, headache, loss of appetite, a rash with small blisters on the hands and feet or diaper area, sore throat, and ulcers in the mouth, throat, and/or tongue.
This is a self-limiting disease which means as unpleasant as the symptoms may be, the immune system is more than capable of handling it and no treatment is necessary. Antibiotics are not effective on viruses! The fever is not harmful and is a sign that the immune system is working well. I do not suggest using any medications to bring down the fever as you will inhibit the body's ability to fight off the virus. The only danger is dehydration so be sure to give plenty of fluids.
Probiotics can be very helpful in lessening the symptoms and hastening full recovery. Infants up to 12 months of age should receive 1-2 billion bacteria cells per day of the B. Infantis strain. Children 2-4 years should receive 2-4 billion bacterial cells of the B. Infantis strain. Children 2-4 need 4-8 billion bacterial cells and can have a mix of acidophilus and bifidophilus strains. Children 4-10 will need 8-12 billion bacterial cells per day and can also receive a mix of acidophilus and bifidophilus.
If other symptoms seem severe, check with your local naturopath or homeopathic doctor for suggestions. The disease typically will last from 1-5 days with full recovery within 7 days. The time between infection and development of symptoms is 3-7 days so warn your child's daycare providers and any others that have been in contact with your child in that time period.
To avoid contracting the virus, essential oil blends such as Four Thieves or TOFKAT can be very helpful. Just dilute with water in a spray bottle and spray on hands, feet and surface areas to kill the virus on contact. These blends also have immune boosting properties.
Good health to you!
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.