Hand, Foot, and Mouth: If you have kids, this is a must read!

Stevie's hand

A virus that causes the hand, foot, and mouth disease has plagued my home. And since it’s taken over my days and nights, I feel the need to pull something positive from it.  I want all of you parents to know how to spot it, how to handle it, and how to protect other children from getting sick.

My son, Stevie, was the first to get sick, and now my daughter has it too. I’m going to share our story along with some helpful information incase this takes over your home. I also want to share the pictures I took of my son and daughter.

What is hand foot and mouth?

This is a disease caused usually by Coxsackievirus A-16 and less frequently by Enterovirus 71. This virus usually affects small children (Infants to 5 years) much worse than it does for older children and adults.

What does it look like?

Stevie's Foot
Stevie's Toe

Hand, foot, and mouth begins with a mild fever (101 F-102 F), 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 begin in the back of the mouth but may move to the 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.

My son came down with the fever first, as is typical. I figured he was coming down with a little something and didn’t think much of it. A few days later he would not eat, was incredibly cranky, and just not himself. That night a few sores had appeared on his butt, calves, and feet. He did not sleep that night. In the morning his palms, calves, bottom, and feet were covered in terrible oozing blisters and red-purple spots. The next few days were long. He wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep, and couldn’t be put down. After four days of not eating, still having high fevers, and the worst blisters I’ve ever seen, I took him in to see a doctor. Like I figured, there wasn’t much he could do to help him, but he did tell me that Stevie’s case was the worst case he had ever seen. That’s why I wanted to share this story and these photos.

Read moreHand, Foot, and Mouth: If you have kids, this is a must read!

Seeing Spots: Julian’s Chickenpox Story

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If you’re like me, you probably had the chicken pox as a kid, way before the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine was introduced to the public. I vaguely remember the itchy spots and can recall lying on the couch for week watching cartoons. But, if you made it through childhood without catching the chicken pox and haven’t been vaccinated now as an adult, you may be begging for trouble. As Julian found out, getting the chickenpox in adulthood is absolutely horrific.

As a schoolteacher in Australia you may assume Julian has had just about every cold and virus out there. Children tend to be little Petri dishes, harboring all kinds of germs, but the schoolyard is not where his chickenpox story begins.

Julian was spending time with his two sons while on summer break. His oldest son had been vaccinated with the varicella vaccine on schedule, while his youngest was still not old enough for the vaccine.

That summer, Julian’s oldest son came down with a mild, short-lived case of the chickenpox. 

As with many vaccines, even if you get vaccinated it is still possible that you may come down with mild symptoms of the disease should you come in contact with it.

It had never occurred to Julian that he may be susceptible to getting the chickenpox virus, as he assumed he had caught it as a child just like everyone else. However, according to his mother, that was not the case. Julian had never caught the chickenpox, and was a sitting duck for the virus.

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Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine (MMR)

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 9.48.28 PMThe measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe. The end. Phew, that was easy!

Of course I’m only kidding. That’s definitely not the end, not even close. There’s so much information out there about the MMR vaccine—good and bad, informative, and plenty of opinions—that it’s hard to know what to believe. I’m not going to give you my opinion on the vaccine (although I’m sure you could guess), that’s for another post. These are the facts.

Read moreMeasles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine (MMR)