Monday, December 15, 2008

HFMD = bad times

About a week and a half ago a letter came home from school with Jack that said a member of his classroom had been diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD). We'd heard it had been going around the school but what are you going to do? Cover your kid in plastic wrap?

About 2 days later (Wednesday), Jack says his cheek is hurting him at dinner time. We take a look, but don't see anything. "Stop whining. Finish your vegetables."

The next morning, Jack takes his first bite of breakfast and winces. The cheek again. He opens his mouth and I take a look. There's three tiny blisters on the inside of his cheek.

"OK buddy, no school today. You can go watch TV."

Melissa took him to the neighborhood doctor that morning. As he only had blisters in his mouth, and not on his hands or feet, the doctor said he couldn't be sure, but he thought it was HFMD. He said that if the symptoms change, we should bring him back in, but otherwise, take some Ibuprofen and tough it out.

(Quick info on HFMD. It's not the same thing as hoof and mouth disease. Different animal (cow) different virus. HFMD is a highly contagious, painful, but mostly harmless viral infection usually limited to children under 10. Painful blisters appear in the mouth and/or on the hands and feet. It usually lasts about 3-4 days.)

By the next day, Jack was miserable. The three little blisters had turned into dozens all over his cheeks and tongue. For almost two days, he barely ate or drank anything. When you offer a starving 6 year old a milkshake and he won't even consider it, you know he's in pain. It hurt so much for him to talk that he basically didn't speak for 2 days. He just kept his mouth shut and grunted and pointed to communicate.

We were getting to a point where we were starting to worry about dehydration when things finally started getting better. He started eating ice cream and drinking some water on Saturday. By Sunday he was feeling much better and had steak and mashed potatoes for dinner.

Because HFMD is so contagious, they require that anyone who even thinks they may have it take a whole week off from school. There have been cases in the Singapore public school system where the government has shut down entire elementary schools to stop the kids from passing it back and forth. Jack's first day back at SAS was today (Thursday).

He's feeling fine now and looking forward to Christmas. His Grandma Chris arrived from Virginia last night and we're all looking forward to a fun holiday together.

If you ever hear that a kid at your child's school has HFMD, cover your kid in plastic wrap.

1 comment:

Julie Tracey said...

Poor Jack! Glad he's feeling better!