Saturday, August 27, 2016

When Mama Gets Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease

... Yes you read that title correctly.

What I learned over the summer is the internet is FULL of information about children having hand-foot-mouth disease, but there is very little information about when a mother gets it.

Some of the little, and very frustrating information that you might see online about a mother getting hand-foot-mouth disease includes the following:
  • Adults don't get hand-foot-mouth disease because their immune system fights it off
  • If they do get it, the cases are very mild
... Well, let me go on record... when a mama gets hand-foot-mouth disease, it is a horrible experience.
So, over the summer, Tracey, Howard, and Caroline each came down with a fever, about a day a part.  I never gave the fever a second thought -- they each had it one day, and each felt better the next day.  No big deal.  Kids get sick and rebound really quickly.
Then, about two days later, I came down with a fever.  No big deal, I probably picked up whatever they were passing around.
The same night that I got the fever, my throat started to hurt, and nursing began to hurt.  But, no big deal -- so I was coming down with a little virus, and the nursing thing was probably just the fact that the babies were teething.
My fever was gone the next day, but my throat got progressively worse over the next 48 hours.  It was so bad, I looked in my throat and saw, what looked like small white kanker sores all over the back of my throat forming a rainbow over my tonsils.  The sores hurt so much, I could eat or drink anything without severe pain.
While my mouth sores were getting worse and worse, nursing was getting more and more painful.
It wasn't until four or five days after my fever, when itchy red spots started appearing on the palms of my hands that we started really putting together what was happening to me.  Although, it took several hours because I thought I was having an allergic reaction on my hands to some dust or mold I might have come in contact with while I was helping pack my parents house.
When the same itchy red spots started appearing on my feet, we realized all of these symptoms were related -- the fever, the mouth sores, the hand spots, the feet spots -- and the nursing issues.
Since I was fighting an air-born virus, all I could do was treat the symptoms and wait it out (and home and pray that the children and Chris would not develop the same symptoms).
The mouth sores took over a week to heal and feel better.  The pain was excruciating.  I was so thankful none of our children got them because they would have been miserable.  The spots on my hands and feet took about five days to feel better and begin to heal.  The nursing issues took over a month to resolve.
Apparently, when you nurse, any sort of dermatitis or skin affliction can show up on a mother's breasts and nipples because they are so sensitive due to the nursing process.  That is what happened to me with hand-foot-mouth disease, and not only was it incredibly painful, it took the longest to heal because the area was aggravated so many times a day when I nursed both babies.
We think that maybe the kids picked it up in St. Louis, and each had very mild cases that resulted in a quick low-grade fever.  Then they passed it to me a few days later.  Thankfully none of Hubby or the children developed the symptoms I did.
It is with great relief that I can report, the virus seems to be fully out of my system -- hands, feet, mouth, and nursing but it was one of the worst illnesses I have ever experienced.
Mothers can and do get hand-foot-mouth disease, and they deserve a lot of help and sympathy when they do.

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