This very cute baby isn’t mine (photo credit). Thankfully, little Ned’s case never got this bad.
When I learned we had been exposed to Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, a slight shiver ran down my spine. It sounds simply dreadful, doesn’t it?
Thankfully, it’s rarely as scary as its name.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is a contagious illness caused by several different strains of Enterovirus, but it’s hardly ever serious. Usually it starts with a sore throat, proceeds to a fever, and then little rashes or blisters appear on the hands, feet, and/or mouth.
Of the half dozen children I know with it, only one followed the normal progression. Edmund was perfectly happy till he came down with a fever on Sunday.
Meg played like a champ all day Tuesday, but an hour after tucking her into bed she complained “My hurts all over.” She didn’t have a fever, but had little rashes on her feet. I rubbed homemade herbal salve on her feet, gave her a bit of pain medicine, and she woke up perfectly happy (though she still had a painless rash.)
I didn’t even told Rose she has a slight rash on her face. It hasn’t seemed to bother her in the slightest and since we’re quarantining ourselves anyway, what’s the use of worrying her?
I am not a doctor or a nurse. The only hospital I have ever worked at is a doll hospital. There, a band-aid can cure a heart attack. As always, please do you own research (these are some of my favorite resources) and talk to your health care provider if your condition is serious.
Herbs for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Since Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is caused by a virus, antibiotics are useless. It usually clears up on its own within a week, but I wanted to do what I could to boost all of the children’s immune systems and fight the illness off as quickly as possible. (We have an Ancient Egypt party coming up at their weekly academy and simply have to be better in time! 😉 )
Here are a few herbs that are generally considered safe* for children that help fight viral infections and/or boost their immune system:
- Astragalus root tincture
- Echinacea tincture (not to be taken for more than five days in a row)
- Elderberry tincture (or tea)
- Garlic (served with a bit of honey, it’s not that bad!)
- Peppermint tea (iced it helps sooth a sore throat)
- Cayenne pepper (but only if they’re okay with it! Just a teensy bit acts as a carrier herb, making the other herbs more effective. But unless it’s serious, I rarely even attempt giving cayenne to little people!)
Instead of giving one big dose a day, herbal remedies are best split into multiple smaller doses throughout the day. I aim for every hour or two during the height of the illness, then tapered off for a couple of days once they’re recovering.
I also rubbed homemade herbal salve on their rashes before they lay down, which seemed to sooth them.
A lukewarm oatmeal and lavender bath also soothes itchy rashes (and the kids just think it’s fun!) To avoid a very slimy oatmeal mess, put the oats in a clean old sock and run the water through it.
Very rarely, serious complications occur, which cannot be treated at home. Usually though, Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is a non-threatening childhood illness whose speedy end can be helped along with herbs.
Have you (or your kids) had Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease? Did you follow the “normal” progression?