KC Parent Magazine June 2011 issue
Just when you think your children are out of the woods with the cold and flu season behind them, a summertime disease called Hand, Foot and Mouth rounds the corner. It comes on with fever, muscle aches and painful blisters attacking your child’s mouth and throat, the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet.
Dr. Carlos Monzon, a pediatrician with Pediatric Associates of Olathe, says that during the summer and fall months, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is quite common. “You see the illness mostly in toddlers and young children,” says Dr. Monzon. “One child comes in; then you see two or three from the same place over the next few days.”
The virus is quite contagious and can spread from person to person on unwashed surfaces and hands contaminated by feces.
“HFM disease is spread by direct contact; however, there is no specific treatment,” says Dr. Monzon. “You treat the symptoms—the fever, the pain—and make sure to keep them hydrated. Sometimes the child is not drinking enough because of the pain (mouth ulcers).” If the pain is so severe that the child is not eating or drinking, a compounded medication called Magic Mouthwash, a combination of several drugs mixed together by a pharmacist, can have tremendous therapeutic outcomes. “Magic Mouthwash is a good way to alleviate the ulcers in the mouth and great to soothe mouth pain,” Dr. Monzon says.
They don’t call this one magic for nothing! As soon as this medication contacts the mouth and throat ulcers, pain relief is instant.
“Doctors write differing prescriptions for Magic Mouthwash, but most include equal parts of lidocaine, Benadryl and Mylanta or Maalox,” says Tracy Dryer, a pharmacist with Red Cross Pharmacy, Grain Valley, MO.
“The lidocaine works the best for the sores,” she says. “Mylanta or Maalox helps adhere the substance to the ulcerated area, and the Benadryl is an antihistamine,” which relieves the irritation of the sores.
Follow instructions carefully. “You want to make sure the child swishes and expectorates (spits out) the medicine. You don’t want a child to swallow a whole bunch of the lidocaine,” Dryer says.
Can My Kid Catch HFM from Petting Zoos?
Not unless your kid is a goat! Hoof and mouth disease is an often fatal viral disease, which affects only domestic and wild bovine animals. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is completely unrelated to this barnyard animal and livestock disease.
Stacey Hatton is a pediatric RN and mom to two kids, who are not goats.