Dealing with Coxsackie - aka 'Hand/Foot/Mouth Disease'

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My little one started daycare less than a month ago and he has already had the disease that I heard all of my mommy friends lamenting over in years past.  Literally the week after he started going to daycare three times a week, I received an email from the director telling me that HFMD had struck the preschool and that there was nothing that they could really do to contain the disease at this point because it is contagious before the classic sores appear on the hand, feet, and mouth.  Ugh, I thought to myself, as I imagined barnyard animals running around in mud with red spots on their snouts and hoofs (actually not even the same disease, but it is what I associated with it...haha).  Gross.

I was at work when I received the email, so I immediately did some research on what I was potentially in for.  Fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, general malaise, and of course, the rash on the hand/feet/mouth.  That Wednesday evening, little B came home with a note about how the Coxsackie virus was spreading like wildfire through the center.  LOVELY!

The next weekend, my husband and I were scheduled to take a trip to Bermuda for my birthday.  It was just a quick weekend getaway, without the baby, who would be staying at our house with my MIL.  I had gotten an email from the daycare the day that we left, telling me that they thought that the outbreak was over.  Hooray!  I thought that we had escaped unscathed.  The mighty powers of breast milk, I thought to myself.  Hehe...riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.  If only it really was a panacea!    

Our trip was short, but great.  It was just what the two of us needed to reconnect.  We missed the baby, terribly though.  Especially when we saw young families with babies that were about his same age.  We vowed that our next trip to Bermuda would include our third family member.


Back to reality on Sunday evening, it seemed as though the baby was out of sorts.  He was fussy, drooling so profusely that his shirt was soaked, and he wasn't really eating his dinner.  Pretty much all he wanted to do was nurse.  I chalked that up to teething, him missing me, and wanting to catch up.  He did start to feel warm in the evening and a temperature check revealed a low-grade fever of around 100.  We gave him some infant's Tylenol to help make him more comfortable.  That night he slept 9.5 hours straight.    

Monday morning he was with my MIL and it was much of the same from Sunday night.  His fever started rising (up to 102.2) and he started developing, what looked like, a heat rash all over his chest and back.  It started out with no color and just rough and then progressed to a reddish color.  I Googled (naturally) and it looked like scarlet fever.  I started to get worried as I remembered the Velveteen Rabbit from when I was little.  My MIL quickly put my fears at ease when she told me that babies don't usually get that disease.

By Tuesday, the rash had spread to his arms and his fever was about the same.  He was pretty miserable.  I tried to get him to bed early that night.  He fell asleep around 6:15 PM without nursing much.  What happened next, was truly the worst part of the disease (which we didn't even know that he had at this point because he had no rash on his hand/feet/mouth).  He woke up around 9 PM and vomited in his bed.  This scared him, and probably hurt too, and so he started crying pretty hysterically.  I rocked him and attempted to nurse him, but he kept writhing in pain and wanted nothing to do with mommy's milk (probably because his throat hurt).  I finally gave him some infant's Tylenol and got him back to sleep.  He then started waking up about every 20-30 minutes screaming in pain.  I tried letting him lay in my bed, I tried rocking him, we brought him down stairs...nothing worked to help him stop crying in pain.  He was so miserable.  This went on ALL NIGHT.  Around 3 AM, we decided that we were going to take him to the emergency room because he was such a mess.  We had never seen him in so much pain in his entire life.  I got dressed and I sat and rocked him while my husband got dressed.  Finally, at this point, he fell asleep.  We decided to give him one last try.  He ended up finally sleeping from about 3:30-5:30 AM.

The next morning, Wednesday, I called the doctor as soon as they opened to make an appointment, even though his fever had gone down.  I called B out of daycare and explained the symptoms to the director.  She told me to call her back as soon as we got a diagnosis and wished him well.   My husband took the baby because I had to work.  A half hour after they left, I got a text I was not expecting: "HFM".  What?!  I was shocked and confused.  He didn't even have a rash on his hands/feet/mouth.  Fancy that.

I called back the daycare and director said she thought that was what he might have had based on what I told her when I called the first time.  So much for the eradication of the disease!

Where the rash was the worst...not on his hands/feet/mouth

I stayed home with B for the rest of Wednesday and Thursday.  During that time his condition improved immensely, but his rash finally spread to around his mouth and a little to the sides of his feet.  He no longer had a fever as of Wednesday afternoon and he started nursing again that evening.  I sent him to daycare on Friday for part of the day and he did ok, except that he still didn't have much of an appetite.  

Finally last weekend, he was 100% back to normal, with the exception of scabs all over his arms, which did not seem to bother him.  He ate enough on Saturday and Sunday to make up for all of the food that he did not eat in the previous week.  Seriously, I have never seen this kid eat so much.  I let him eat whatever and as much as he wanted (granted he is a gluten free, mostly paleo baby so it was all healthy!).  He also had a blast running around outside and playing with the dog.  Yay!  My baby was back!!

So I guess the worst is over.  The totally sucky thing that I found out in my brief research of the disease is that it is not like chicken pox where you have it once and then you are immune.  You can get Coxsackie more than once.  Fabulous!  I hope that he does not get it again.  I hope that we don't get it.  I hope that you and your babies don't get it either.  It sucks.

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One Response to “Dealing with Coxsackie - aka 'Hand/Foot/Mouth Disease'”

  1. Ugh. This is bringing me back to my weekend. The cherry on the cake for me is that I now have it (only no rash). It's damn miserable.

    Glad that your baby is on the mend. And I look forward to the day there's a vaccine for this.