The Birthday Curse

My son, Stevie, is turning three in about ten days and here it is again, the birthday curse.

On his first birthday he contracted a nasty case of hand-foot-and-mouth that left him with open sores, finger and toe nails falling off, and a cancelled birthday party. And on his second birthday we were all throwing up from a stomach virus. So he’s turning three in a few days and it’s only appropriate that he come down with another case of hand-foot-and mouth.

What’s going on?! I’m convinced it’s the birthday curse. Or maybe it’s just the curse of the preschooler–they’re germy little buggers.

Hand-foot-and-mouth is a disease caused by multiple viruses and virus strains. There are at least seven strains of the coxsackievirus and at least one enterovirus that can cause the disease. So therefore, your little ones CAN get it again.

Hand-foot-and-mouth begins with a fever, diminished appetite, sore throat, and a general feeling of being sick. A few days after the fever begins, painful sores develop in the mouth. The sores usually display on inside of the cheeks, tongue, gums, and lips. These sores may begin as red dots and tend to develop into blisters that may pop, leaving lesions or ulcers. This rash is then seen on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, knees, genital  area, and lower calf.

Hand-foot-and-mouth is a contagious disease and can easily spread from person to person. The virus spreads through the saliva, nasal discharge, and through the stool. The sick child will be most contagious during the first week and if you’re worried about whether your exposed child is going to get sick, there is a 4-6 day incubation period for the virus. (This means from exposure to a sick person, the child would become sick after the incubation period.)

Since Stevie has hand-foot-and-mouth, I’m keeping him home from preschool this week. Kids with hand-foot-and-mouth shouldn’t go to school, daycare, a friend’s house, or even the grocery store. I don’t want to be responsible for getting another child sick if I can prevent it and neither should you.

I’m also trying to keep my older child from getting sick by disinfecting around the house and washing our hands much more often, especially after I change Stevie’s diaper.

We are treating the symptoms right now and offering lots of fluids and rest. He’s a cranky little sucker, and rightfully so, so I’m hoping it passes quickly. The good news is that normally this disease is less severe with age. He’s definitely much better off  with this case of hand-foot-and-mouth than he was on his first birthday.

Here’s to hoping it passes quickly and quietly.

Happy (early) birthday to my poor little fella!