Hand, Foot and Mouth

Since Pip joined us the boy and I have kept ourselves to ourselves quite a lot.  This isn't really by design but due to the fact that the little man naps in the morning, thus scuppering our social life. By the time he wakes up it's lunch time and then it's almost time to do the school run again.  We have seen some friends but it's occasional rather than regular.

I've been feeling a bit guilty that Pip isn't spending enough time with other children his age though and as he approaches his first birthday I decided it was about time that we both got out of the house a bit more and did some baby stuff so we've been to our local soft play and also a special soft play for under 3's run by our local leisure centre.  I'm more confident about moving nap-time around these days and Pip can handle pushing his morning nap back by an hour or so now he's that bit older. 

It's nice to go back to this particular soft play because it brings back memories of taking Katie when we first went and the children can play relatively safely with minimal parental initiative (which some days is a real blessing!).  What I didn't think about though was the viral risks lurking in these places that will jump on a baby's immune system and I'm in the middle of a bit of a rude awakening on that one because Pip has contracted Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD).

I'm lucky, in some ways, being an older mum whose friends have already raised their children because I've picked up things along the way, through hours of feigning interest in their children's illnesses and symptoms during our infertility years. I'm armed with this bank of information that I seem to have absorbed by osmosis.

On Friday Pip was really ill.  Really, really ill.  Temperature over 102 degrees sort of ill.  The sort of ill when they just want to lay on you and sleep and can barely open their eyes.  It's lovely that they want to sleep on you and you can get some amazing cuddles and snuggles but it's horrible that it comes at the price of them being ill.  Pip was so hot that it was like having a hot water bottle laying on me.  I was pretty calm about it all though.  I alternated between Calpol and baby Nurofen (taking care to read the administration guidelines of course) and had success in bringing his temperature down.  He seemed to have a sore throat but it appeared to only effect him eating acidic fruits and he was fine with cereals and lasagne.  I did phone the GP though for a chat about when I might need to take Pip to the doctors.  The doctor went through the checklist of symptoms to worry about and we both felt happy that Pip was doing as well as he could be at the time and we didn't want to make him trek to the GP unnecessarily.

After a fitful night Friday night which resulted in Pip leaking the most amount of
mucus I have ever seen in my entire life (my hair was sodden after cuddling him.......it was gross!) we awoke on Saturday morning to a very different looking Pip.  His mouth was covered in angry red spots.  A little light bulb sprang on in my mind and I quickly checked his hands for clarification.....yes there were little blisters on his hands.  Hmmmm I think this might be HFMD I said to TCM.  I couldn't see anything on his feet though.

Being a modern mum and embracing all technology (and being a A full list of symptoms listed by the NHS can be found here. After reading through the symptoms I realised that Pip didn't have a sore throat but lots of ulcers in his mouth.  This would explain the issue around acidity. Poor little Pip. He was feeling really rotten.  Of course on a purely selfish front this would have to happen on the one weekend that I had finally booked to see a girlfriend for a day out and TCM and I were going out for dinner!  Our first dinner out alone in over a year and the first since a farewell to freedom with friends in February!  All plans cancelled of course.
dab hand at self-diagnosis) I jumped onto Google and asked it to show me information and pictures of HFMD and all the other spotty viruses and bugs that children can contract. 

Pip slept a lot of the weekend and coped amazingly well with Calpol and cuddles but by Monday I was concerned about a post-viral rash that had also appeared all over his body and I wanted him checked over by the GP.  The GP confirmed my diagnosis of HFMD and noted that the spots on his face were becoming infected and his poor little nose getting crusty so prescribed some yummy antibiotics for Pip (we are noticing an improvement already - although his nappies are like something that an alien might create!).  I am also covering him in Epiderm to counteract the fact that his skin will feel awful when the rash dries up and putting some Aloe Vera on his facial spots to aid the healing.  He slept much better last night and only woke up around 11pm for around an hour.  He even greeted me with a smile this morning although that soon vanished when he realised he was going to get his dose of antibiotics.

Giving a child antibiotics is tough at the best of times.  They taste foul (however much they try and flavour them) and the type that Pip is on can't be mixed with yoghurt etc to mask the flavour plus they have to be given on an empty stomach.  I can mix a little orange juice into the syringe though and this is helping make it taste more palatable.

Obviously we are in quarantine at the moment, not wanting to pass this onto anyone, and washing our hands a lot!.  Hopefully we'll be back at soft play next week and I will await the next bug that he catches (of course Katie is bringing them home from school as well!).


  1. Oh dear, that's all you need on top of all the other adjustments. Hope things settle soon and you both get some daytime fun.

    1. Thanks Annie. Yes it's typical that, just as we finally brave it out of the house, he gets ill. All those bugs just waiting for his young immune system unfortunately. x

  2. Oh I am so sorry to hear that Pip has been so poorly :( Having worked in a couple of nurseries I know how quickly and easily these things are spread, and have seen it first hand since I returned to work and Oscar started childcare himself. We've had tummy bugs and tonsilitis but thankfully nothing this bad... poor Pip! I do hope he is feeling much better soon xx

    1. Thanks Amanda. Yes I really underestimated how awful HFMD is. Pip is looking heaps better now though. His viral rash is almost gone (thanks to lots of Epiderm) and his face is clearing up/ He's very sore under his nose but I've been using Aloe Vera gel on his face and it's really helping. I've also discovered that 1ml of orange juice with the antibiotic makes little man quite happy to take it. xx

  3. A very timely post for me - we have just received a Hand Foot and Mouth / Chickenpox warning letter from my little one's Playgroup. Apparently both are going round, although he's already had Chickenpox. Now I know what to look out for and what to do about it :)

  4. I came across your blog because my 4 year old and 2 year old have it (and I have a very mild case) and its absolutely horrendous trying to get the through it!


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