Monday, March 24, 2014

What is hand, foot, and mouth disease?

I soooooooo wish I did not know how to answer this question. If only I were as ignorant about this as I was just a week ago. If only... If only... Que lastima! and if only...

Okay, okay, I'll stop moaning.

According to the CDC's website:
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth (herpangina), and a skin rash.



And mouth:

It is also known as the bane of my existence.

Maybe it's time for a story...

Once upon a time in the blissful life of yore (last Tuesday), I took Miles and Caleb to the park. It was just another morning in paradise. The sun was shining. The trees were blooming. All was well. Except Miles wasn't acting like himself. Normally an active, adventurous kid, he was hanging back, just wanting me to hold him and rest. But I didn't think much of it.

When we got home, I told his mom about it, and she took his temperature. He had a slight fever but nothing to worry about.

The next day, he had a little bit of a rash on his legs and around his mouth, so we made an appointment with the doctor, still thinking she would tell us it was nothing. And then came the phone call from the mom who'd had a play date at their house the Friday before. She said her son had hand, foot, and mouth. 

We had to look it up. It's not good, folks.

That definition from the CDC doesn't mention how contagious it is. Or how hard it is to keep a two-year-old from touching a three-year-old when they're brothers and best friends. Or what to do when there's also a not-even-three-month old baby in the house. Or how painfully Purell stings when you put it on for the fifteenth time in two hours!!!

And there's definitely nothing on the CDC website that tells you what it's like not to be able to nanny the other kids you love to see every week because you are now a potential carrier, even though you don't have any symptoms. I miss my kids.

So anyway, the only viable solution to keep the baby from getting sick is for Mom and Baby Kate to stay quarantined in the master bedroom while Dad or I watch the boys. And we also do lots and lots of hand-washing and disinfecting and all that. It was working fine, and we thought we were in the clear until Friday night when Caleb came down with a fever. Now he's got it too, albeit a milder case.

But still... Sigh.

Just one more week. We can do this. Assuming the virus doesn't mutate and nothing else comes up, we're all clear next Monday. In the meantime, I'll be the one over here in the corner, wearing a sign that says, "unclean" and avoiding all human contact.

Well... not quite all. By the time we found out the official diagnosis, I'd already exposed The Boyfriend to it. I told him maybe he shouldn't come near me for a week or two, but he decided to take his chances. :)

So instead we went to San Francisco on Saturday and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. Good times.

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