Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

What Is Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a contagious viral infection that is common among children and infants.  It is identified by a rash on the hands and feet and sores inside the mouth.  The illness doesn't last more than a week or so and it is most common in the summer and fall, but it can occur any time of year.  HFMD is not to be confused with Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), which only affects animals like sheep, cattle, or goats.  The HFMD virus spreads easily through coughing, sneezing, or touching objects that other infected perons have touched. 

Signs Of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

The identifying symptoms of HFMD are sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet.  Symptoms can take anywhere from 3-6 days to develop after contracting the virus.  The initial stages of the infection may result in a sore throat or slight fever, followed by the rash and sores days later.  Some of the following symptoms may occur if the child contracts HFMD.

  • Fever
  • Sores inside the mouth
  • Rash, which doesn't itch and sometimes blisters on hands and feet
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Irritability in infants and todlers
  • Loss of appetite
What Causes Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

The cause of HFMD can be attributed to a group of viruses in the enterovirus category, with the most common cause being the coxsackievirus A16 strain.  A child usually contracts the virus via oral ingestion, but can also contract the virus by common in contact with an infected person's mucus, saliva, fluid from blisters, or respiratory fluid from a cough.  Children under 10, especially those under the age of 5, are most prone to contracting the virus.  Common causes include:

  • Oral ingestion of virus
  • Placing mouth on an infected surface
  • Person-to-person contact with blisters, saliva, or mucus
  • Direct contact with feces

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • It can be beneficial for the infected child to eat probiotics, echinacea, and goldenseals, as all of these help the body naturally eliminate the virus.  Probiotic foods can include sauerkraut, kimchi, or fermented pickles.  You can make goldenseal and echinacea teas for your child to drink while they have the virus.  These herbs have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help calm the virus. 
  • Antiviral teas can be very beneficial to those with HFMD.  Peppermint, elderberry, and rooibos teas are some of the best teas you can drink to combat viruses.  The trick with these teas is making sure that you don't brew them too strong.  Most kids won't drink these bold flavors if they are brewed too intense.  It's also important to not drink too much elderberry tea because it can cause diarrhea. 
  • Because kids like soup, making an antiviral broth may be a viable option for a natural remedy.  Using vegetable broth as the base, add fresh garlic, thyme, rosemary, and sage and let the flavors simmer in the broth for at least 30 minutes.  All of these herbs have strong antiviral properties that can help reduce the symptoms of HFMD. 
  • It is crucial to instruct kids who have HFMD to always wash their hands.  Practicing proper hygiene can help stop the virus from spreading.  If a kid has HFMD, it is important that you clean anything they touch and that they avoid going to school, as the virus can spread easily.  In addition to this, do not share utensils, towels, or any other objects that an infected child touches. 
  • A soothing remedy for the rash or blisters on the hands and feet is organic, unfiltered coconut oil.  It has wonderful soothing properties that can help restore healthy skin.  You can mix some fresh lemon juice with the coconut oil and apply this mixture to the skin for added relief. 
  • Taking an epsom salt bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil can help soothe the skin.  While this bath promotes relaxation, epsom salts are known to help calm inflammation and naturally flush out toxins.  
  • You can help your child fight the virus by feeding him or her a plant-based diet.  A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds means that your body is getting all the essential nutrients it needs.  Eating processed foods, junk foods, GMOs, dairy, a lot of meat, and refined sugars only does damage to your body.  By giving the body what it needs (i.e. nutrients from plant-based foods), you can help it naturally heal.
  • It is important to make sure that a child with HFMD is properly hydrated.  Drinking lots of fluids can help naturally flush the virus out of the body.  A good rule of thumb to stay properly hydrated is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.  If the weight of a child is 60 pounds and you divide that by 2 to get 30, then he/she should be drinking 30oz of water every day. 
Things you should eat
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Garlic
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Coconut Oil
  • Goldenseal
  • Echinacea
  • Onions
  • Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, & chard)
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Asparagus
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Oranges & Lemons
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