Watch the YouTube Video
Please take a look at my video on our experience with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. If you suspect that you or your child is infected with HFMD right now, this video is what you’re looking for. It’s real, just like everything on my channel. If you’re offended by my drunkenness or colloquial language, then watch a nice, polished video the nightly news has produced. They will sugar coat this illness and make it out to be something minor. If you want to see what HFMD can do to your ass, just push play.
*This video is about an hour long and is rated PG-13 for colloquial language. It was filmed on several different cameras and the audio at times ain’t that great. I was in too much pain to get my videography act together.
***Legal Disclaimer: If you suspect that you or your child may have HFMD, go see your doctor. Don’t diagnose any illness by watching YouTube or by consulting Dr. Google. I posted this video for educational purposes and in the interest of public health. However, don’t try to formulate your own diagnosis based on my video. Several diseases manifest in a similar manner and can be misdiagnosed, even by a professional. There. That’s all the legal cheese I’m serving. Here is some information and my opinions about Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease:
Our Experience with Hand, Food, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)
As I type these initial words, I am still recovering from Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. This is DAY 11 from the first time I could have potentially been exposed to the virus.
Yesterday, I was unable to type because it was too much pain for my fingers to take. Today, I can at least type and hobble over to my desk.
Folks, this post is going to be long and rambling because I want to document the small details we are experiencing with this illness.
What Causes Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is caused by a virus. In the United States, outbreaks typically occur during the summer months, or from Spring to Fall. In the tropics, the threat is year round.
I’m from the U.S., but right now I live in Subic, Philippines. There is some relevance to the fact that I’m here in Southeast Asia. From my research, it seems that Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in the United States is usually caused by Coxsackievirus A16 (although Enterovirus 71 is present as well). It reportedly results in a milder form of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. The cases on this side of the world are usually caused by Enterovirus 71 (although Coxsackievirus A16 is here as well). EV71 results in a more severe illness and has caused fatalities in children, even in the United States. Between 2008 and 2015 in China, 3,222 children died during numerous outbreaks. Apparently, it is also possible to be infected with both viruses at the same time while riding out HFMD.
I can’t confirm that EV71 caused our illness as the doctors don’t normally order those types of tests. They typically diagnose Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease by a physical examination. That’s all it takes, although sometimes HFMD is misdiagnosed as the Chicken Pox.
It is possible to get HFMD more than once. If you get HFMD caused by Coxsackievirus A16, you can get it again if you are exposed to Enterovirus 71.
Coxsackievirus A6 has also caused HFMD in the United States and the Philippines. I just now found some statistical data from 2017 that the Philippines Department of Health published. Out of the cases they tested, Coxsackievirus A6 caused roughly 86% of the cases of HFMD during 2017.
How Do You Get Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
The viruses that cause Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease are secreted by an infected person’s saliva, nose secretions, poop, and the fluid from blisters. You can be exposed to HFMD by close personal contact with an infected person, getting sneezed or coughed on by an infected person, or through the oral-fecal route. If you touch a surface contaminated with an infected person’s poop, and then put your hands near your mouth, eyes, or nose, you may become infected.
In one lab study I read about, it was determined that Coxsackie viruses could live outside the body on a surface for two weeks.
HFMD is very contagious and easily transmitted. It makes for a great case for you to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
Is There a Vaccine for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
No, and Yes. Here’s what the CDC says about Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease:
“There is currently no vaccine in the United States to protect against the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease. But researchers are working to develop vaccines to help prevent hand, foot, and mouth disease in the future.” – CDC.gov
So, for the United States and most of the world, there is NO vaccine available for EV-71 or Coxsackievirus A-16.
BUT, in this article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), apparently China developed a vaccine against EV-71 in 2015 and are working on a vaccine against Coxsackievirus A-16.
WTF? Why the fuck has China got the vaccine and the United States does not? What the fuck is going on here? We can fund studies on the mating habits of homosexual mountain goats but we can’t compete with China when it comes to a virus that can kill our children?
Our Experience – Day 1
(*Make a note that I’m referring to the days’ numbers beginning when my daughter got to my house. I can’t be sure of the day she was potentially exposed to HFMD. That’s an unknown factor. However, we will make the assumption that I was NOT exposed to HFMD until my daughter arrived and that I probably contracted the virus from my daughter.)
I have an agreement with my daughter’s mother. I get my daughter for two weeks and then she goes to her mother’s house for two weeks. It’s a 50/50 split that I really can’t complain about. However, it’s the same drill when my daughter comes home. It is the same routine now that I went through when I used to get my son back in the States. I think every divorced father in the world experiences what I’m about to describe.
When my daughter shows up, she’s always sick, hungry, and needs a bath. EVERYTHING in her bag is dirty and needs to be washed. There is no milk and no diapers in the bag. Usually, if I send five sets of clothes with her, only one dirty set comes back. It was no different dealing with my son’s mother back in the States. It’s like the kids are being raised by wolves when they are at their mother’s house.
The Jay Dogg had the exact same experience in dealing with his son’s mother. We often discuss how fathers are truly the better parent. All of the courts seem to think that a child is better off with the mother. We strongly disagree. Neither myself or the Jay Dogg have ever sent our kids back to their mothers when they were dirty, hungry, or sick. NEVER. We’ve never sent back one dirty article of clothing.
When my daughter showed up, she had a few bumps on her arm. Her mother said she recently had a fever and was not feeling well. That’s always par for the course so I wasn’t too concerned. I looked at the bumps and they resembled ant bites. I was just glad to see my daughter and was excited that she was home with me. It was late at night so I decided to get her some food, give her a bath and put her to bed. If the bumps spread by morning, I would take her to the hospital.
Day 2 – The Trip to the Hospital
By the morning, the bumps had definitely spread. It certainly wasn’t ant bites because we don’t have a bug problem at my crib. I put the call into my tricycle driver and told him to pick us up. It was a rainy morning. We arrived at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital here in Barrio Barretto a few minutes later.
I planned to go to the emergency room but our driver took us to the Pediatric clinic on the left side of the building. The pediatrician was seeing patients by appointment only, but the nurse was kind enough to sign us in.
When it was our turn, I spoke with the doctor and informed him that I suspected my daughter had the Chicken Pox. He conducted a physical examination and then looked in her mouth. He told us that she had Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. According to the doctor, HFMD is often misdiagnosed as the Chicken Pox. The doctor advised that HFMD is common in the Philippines and that a lot of children currently had it.
After explaining to us about the virus and prescribing some meds for fever and pain, we were on our way. He scheduled us a follow up appointment with instructions to basically keep a close eye on her fever and to keep her hydrated. If her fever got out of hand or she wouldn’t eat or drink, we were to bring her to the emergency room.
The medications were for pain, fever, and her cough. The doctor also prescribed children’s numbing gel to deal with the sores in her mouth. He said that dehydration was the biggest risk in babies because it is painful for them to eat or drink. The numbing gel would help keep the mouth sores under control.
After stopping at a couple of pharmacies we were soon back home to begin caring for her.
Day 3, 4, and 5 – The Worst Days for My Daughter
These were her worst days. Fluid-filled blisters formed all over her little hands. It was horrible. She had sores and bumps all over her arms and legs and the bottoms of her feet. She also had several bumps around her mouth and nose. She could barely walk due to the pain in her feet. The sores inside her mouth were painful to where we had to apply the numbing gel before she could even take a nap.
As a parent, these days were terrible for me. It’s because there is nothing definitive you can do about the situation. You watch your child suffer in pain but all you can offer is basic care and pray that time will go by faster. Time is the only definitive cure for the virus.
Day 6 – My Daughter Begins to Improve. I Get a Sore Throat.
On day 6, she seemed to feel better but still couldn’t walk right. She would try to tip toe around and wanted to play. This was a good sign.
I got a sore throat. I was tired all day long but chalked it up to a lack of sleep. It just made sense because I had been up all night caring for my daughter.
Day 7 – Felt Like I Had Athlete’s Foot
The sores on my daughter began to scab over and appeared to be healing. She was back to playing and could walk around, although gingerly. I would say at this point the worst was behind her. She was on the road to recovery. Her improvement came at the right time because I was beginning my ride with HFMD.
I developed one bump on my hand and one inside my nostril. By nightfall, it felt like I had a bad case of Athlete’s Foot.
Day 8 – Getting Worse – I Become the Patient
When I woke up, my feet and face felt like they were on FIRE. My head was itching. I had developed a dark spot on my foot. It felt like I had needles pricking the bottoms of my feet every time I took a step. I could barely walk.
I was now the primary patient of the household. I decided to banish myself to my man cave out back. So far, the two ladies and our baby boy weren’t showing any signs of contracting the virus. I wanted to keep it that way and figured a quarantine of my ass was the best option.
Since my daughter had sores all over her arms and legs, I assumed the sores would appear on my body in the same manner. I decided to go on the offensive and conduct a pre-emptive attack on the inbound sores with direct sunlight. It was a hot, sunny day here in the Philippines. I stripped down to my speedo bathing suit and went to sun bathing and drinking cold beer. How did I come up with this idea? Well, when I was a kid I had a skin rash called Pityriasis Rosea. It’s a very mild rash that clears up on its own, but the doctor recommended I just play out in the sun. Light therapy usually helped it clear up. So, for the inevitable herd of HFMD sores coming to infect my skin, they would have the heat and rays from our sun to deal with upon arrival. I baked myself for hours and actually ended up with a pretty good tan to show for it.
You may think my attack on the sores with sunlight was crazy. Maybe it was. However, I sustained zero sores on my legs, torso, and arms. The sores were contained to my nose (already there before the sun therapy), hands, and feet. I had a few bumps pop up on my shoulders but they didn’t stay around long. Compared to my daughter’s pattern of sores, I got off light on their overall spread. Maybe that sun baking session prevented the little bastards from manifesting. Maybe it did nothing at all. I’ll never know for sure, but if I get this shit again, I’ll do the same thing. As a matter of fact, I’ll sunbathe all day every day while I have it.
By nightfall, I couldn’t walk without using a chair as a walker.
I couldn’t lie down due to the pain in my feet. I ended up chillin in a beach chair and watching YouTube on my iPad. I drank down the last of the Jim Beam and was able to make it through the night but it was close. I almost had to wake up the ladies and have them make a run to the liquor store for another bottle of whiskey.
Day 9 – Worst Day for Me. Wanted to Chop Off My Feet with an Axe.
This was my nightmare day. My feet went from feeling like I had a hundred needles sticking in the bottom of them to something more drastic. Both feet now felt as if someone was boring holes with a Black and Decker drill. In addition, the pain had permeated into my muscle and bone. The entire lower portion of my leg was affected. I couldn’t leave my beach chair. I couldn’t walk. I had to piss in the damn flower bed all day because a walk to the bathroom was out of the question.
I soaked my feet in a tub of water. We tried rubbing aloe vera on them. We tried rubbing the oral numbing gel on these dogs to maybe lessen the pain. Nothing really helped.
My course of action was to get drunk in order to deal with the pain. It was either that or go to the hospital to get something intravenous. Tylenol or any over-the-counter medication was not going to help what I had going on. I contemplated just checking myself into the hospital for a few nights so I could get some sleep and real pain relief. Here in the Philippines, a private room in most hospitals is comparable to the cost of a hotel room. I was seriously about to roll to Our Lady of Lourdes and beg for morphine and valium.
After a half a bottle of Jim Bean and about 12 beers, I talked myself out of going to the hospital. I would ride it out at home.
I was sweating, my skin was on fire, but I felt freezing cold due to another round of fever. I wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fan and donned my winter toboggan.
Day 10 – Golden Boogers
I didn’t sleep all night. I just kind of hung out on the floor. By the morning time, my nostrils were filled with what I call Golden Boogers. They were packed with a gold-colored crust produced by the bumps inside my nose. I had to hobble to the shower and deal with this little situation. I used Q-tips and basically waterboarded myself in order to clean out my nostrils. Those cotton swabs felt like I was rubbing a strand of barbed wire around inside my nose.
The spots on my hand and foot became more red and well-defined, but hurt 1% less than the day before. I was still messed up but this day started the recovery phase.
Day 9 had definitely been the worst day for me.
(I later figured out that the Golden Boogers were caused by Impetigo messing with the HFMD sores. I couldn’t win for losing.)
Day 11 – On the Comeback Trail with a Swollen Nose
I woke and was able to get up by myself without the old lady helping me. My feet and hands are much better but the problem now is my nose. My damn nose is swollen 2X it’s normal size. The sores inside and outside the nostrils along with the buildup of Golden Boogers are causing my nose to swell and burn.
I’m able to get back on the computer today and do some typing.
Day 12 – Nose is Still Swollen
I was able to sleep a little bit last night. The pain in my feet and hands is now only about a two on a scale of one to ten. I can walk and function for the most part. Life would be good if it were not for my damn nose. It’s still swollen to where I look like a clown. The Golden Boogers have diminished significantly but the inside of my nostrils are as raw as hamburger meat.
By nighttime, my damn nose hadn’t improved much. It’s become the main source of pain. I had to drink a few Jim Beam and Cokes to numb it up at bit.
I just hope I can get some damn sleep tonight.
Day 13 – Nose is Still Messed Up
I was able to sleep for a couple of hours last night.
This morning, I had to waterboard my nose for fifteen minutes while standing in the shower. It’s still fucked up and swollen. The sores and lesions inside my nostrils refuse to go away. I’ve got one lesion on my scalp that is refusing to heal.
My daughter’s sores continue to heal. On her little toes, it’s as if she is shedding skin like a snake. As the skin begins to peel, she will pull on it causing herself pain. She has a one-inch long lesion on her scalp that is taking a long time to heal.
The synopsis is that we’re both still feeling the effects of HFMD as we come up on the two-week mark.
Day 14 – Nose Still Healing
My daughter’s sores continue to heal. We have to keep long pants and a long-sleeved shirt on her to prevent her from constantly scratching the sores.
My damn nose is still messed up. It doesn’t seem to be on the same healing schedule as everything else. It’s healing at a snail’s pace and is my only real issue now.
Day 16 – Doctor’s Appointment – HFMD with a Side of Impetigo
My daughter and I went to see the doctor this morning. The good news is that we are at the end of the HFMD ride. The bad news is that now we’ve got a side of Impetigo to go with it. Fuck. I can’t win for losing, my friends.
Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection so now we are riding the antibiotic train. The doc prescribed Cloxacillin and some antibiotic cream.
That’s all I can say at this point.
It’s been coming a monsoon rain for days now. Between the constant rain and pain, this shit has truly sucked. The good news is that we are alive. Children have lost their lives over this shit so I’m not complaining. I’m just venting.
A Month Later…
I initially said this was a two-week nightmare. I was wrong. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease affects you for a good solid month.
One of the last things we both experienced was that our feet and toes shed a layer of skin like a snake. It wasn’t like a sunburn where your skin is paper thin and easily peels off. The skin that peeled off was thick. Around my heels, it was as thick as a slice of cheap bologna. What happened to me was that I got to where I could walk again and then the peeling started. It itched like hell. When you pulled off a piece, the skin underneath was raw and tender. Then it hurt to walk! It took another week for the new skin to properly heal.
My daughter suffered one last blow by losing some fingernails and toenails. According to the CDC, this is common in young children and can happens weeks after the disease is gone.
Home Remedies We Used
There are all kinds of recommended home remedies out there on the Internet. We got plenty of suggestions from friends and neighbors. Here’s a list of what we actually ended up using.
Boil Leaves from a Guava Tree for Itching
Our friend Teresa said to boil some leaves off of our Guava tree and rub the leaves and juice on my daughter’s sores. It did seem to help her a bit with the itching. I can’t say it worked for certain because I didn’t try it on my wounds.
Aloe Vera Plant for Pain and Itching
We used fresh Aloe Vera on the sores. This seemed to work for the itching but only a little bit for the pain. For me, it mostly helped with the pain in my feet DURING the application. My old lady chopped off a big piece of the Aloe Vera plant and sliced open the stem. She used the stem itself as an applicator. That felt good to the bottoms of my feet. After she was done, they went right back to throbbing with pain.
Direct Sunlight to Suppress Sores
I baked my skin in direct sunlight BEFORE the sores had a chance to appear on my arms and legs. This either worked perfectly, or I wasn’t meant to get any sores on my arms and legs.
This is one you need to research or ask your doctor about. But hey, if you’re a sore caused by a virus, would you want to pop out under a blistering hot ray of sunshine beating down on your ass? Probably not. You’d just call it a day and stay in the blood stream.
Jim Beam Whiskey for Pain Relief
If you’re an adult and you get Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, you had better have some hard liquor in the house on stand by. Your doctor may only recommend Tylenol or an over-the-counter pain reliever. Tell your doctor to come down to fucking reality and prescribe some real pain medication. If he/she doesn’t prescribe a hard-hitting pain killer that’s a close friend of Mr. Morphine, stock up on Whiskey and Coke. You’re gonna need it.
One More Recommendation – Buy Crocs 1 Size Larger than Your Normal Shoe Size
My feet swelled up so bad I couldn’t get them in my flip-flops. During this ordeal, there was absolutely no way I could even begin to put on a regular shoe.
Buy you a traditional set of Crocs, but at least one size larger than what you normally wear. You’ll need these to hobble around in to prevent your feet from painting the floors of your home with contagious HFMD.
Make damn sure you don’t try to wear shoes with any type of studded insoles. I stepped into an old pair of flip-flops with a rough insole and pain shot all the way to my head, via my cock. The traditional Crocs will work perfect.
Articles and Info on Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
- Mayo Clinic – Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
- CDC (Centers for Disease Control) – Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
- CDC – Enterovirus A71
- CDC – Non-Polio Enteroviruses
- Cocksackievirus – Wikipedia
- Cocksackievirus A16 – NCBI
- Enterovirus 71 – Wikipedia
- Philippines Department of Health – 2017 Statistical Data on Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
- Sudden Pediatric Death Caused by Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in Malaysia