Posts Tagged ‘ Coxsackievirus A16 and Enterovirus 71 (EV-71) ’

Have You Ever Come Down With Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

I did. And not because I ate my poop. Or my kids’. Or even Wayne’s for that matter (though I am the one who scoops his box).

It began with Fia. She had a semi-mild fever, ranging from 100-102 degrees off and on for a few days. She would break out in splotches of hives as well, which is how her body sometimes reacts to a virus. Other than that, she was totally fine. She wasn’t tired or cranky and she wanted to play and do all her usual things. I was puzzled.

Going on day 4, I took her to the doctor. As soon as they looked in her throat they discovered the mystery cause. She never had the sores that often form on your hands and feet, thus giving this disease its name. This is the second time she’s had it though and I hear there are something like 54 strains. Each time you get one, you don’t get that strain again. So now she only has 52 or so to go (not to worry. This isn’t a contest to get them all. Most of us only get a couple). That’s one reason why adults don’t usually get it. We’ve all had a strain–or 5–when we were communing with other Petri dishes in our own preschool days, so typically that immunity pays off.

Before she was diagnosed I probably wasn’t as careful as I should have been in not eating or drinking after her, though I stand by my non-poop eating statement. After the doctor I became diligent. But it was too late. Whatever strain Fia had, I apparently wasn’t privy to in my childhood (and there is a new one that came out in 2012). I woke up 2 days after Fia was diagnosed feeling like I had razor blades in the back of my throat. The telltale sign is little red spots on your hard pallet. Check.  Fia was almost 100% better by then. I was down for the count. It hurt to eat or drink anything and the only thing I could do was take ibuprofen and wait it out.

Thank god my in-laws were in town. It was Fia’s spring break and my lucky one. They played with her while I rested. I wasn’t sick all the time. I would wake up with a decent amount of energy, run an errand and get suddenly wiped out.

But the real problem is the name of this virus itself suggests you should be confined to a leper colony: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Imagine if the common cold was called the “Common Mucus Disease.” We’d all be walking around with a rubber bubble duct-taped around our body.

It can be transmitted a few ways: Oral contact with poop–which we’ve covered. It can be from trading blister fluids, which sounds like a blast, though we are a blister-free household.  And then there’s snot, which we do have a lot of. Emmett is to snot what Mt. Vesuvius and it’s spewing lava was to Pompeii. There seems to be a constant flow. So I suspect he probably picked it up from his 2 days a week at preschool and passed it along to Fia and we never knew he had it.

According to the CDC, this virus is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease (also called hoof-and-mouth disease), which is a disease of cattle, sheep, and swine. However, the two diseases are caused by different viruses and are not related. Humans do not get the animal disease, and animals do not get the human disease. I guess that takes the possibility of me eating Wayne’s poop out of the equation. So at least that’s a relief.

 

pic of sick child via shutterstock

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