It started with a little red bump on her chin. I thought it was a rash from dummy drool, a little red spot to remind me that I’m a terrible, lazy mother for still letting my daughter use dummies at the age of almost two. She spends half her day with one stuffed in her gob, mumbling about how a bird did a caca on our car and then Daddy cleaned it. This happened weeks ago, but she stills talks about it. Constantly.
Anyway, then the fever came. A high one. I could practically feel the heat radiating off her spotty little body.
Oh yeah, she was spotty all over now, but mostly on her hands, feet and…errr, mouth. So it was pretty clear what was going on here.
Here’s what to do if your little one gets hand, foot and mouth, which they probably will at some point if they attend nursery, because nurseries are filthy, primary-coloured cesspits of germs.
1. Freak out, but only a little. Hand, foot and mouth disease isn’t serious, but it IS pretty gross. So just allow yourself a moment to recognise that while you love your child no matter what they look like, they’re looking pretty nasty right now.
2. Feed them soft foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt and soups, because they’re likely to develop mouth ulcers. Avoid acidic and spicy foods, because if you serve them and your kid starts crying because their tongue is on fire, you’re going to feel like a real a-hole.
3. Keep your child hydrated. My daughter has a few cups with straws that seemed to be easier for her to use when the ulcers were really bothering her.
4. Give them Calpol for the fever and sore throat that often accompany the disease. It helps if they really like Calpol like my daughter does. We started calling it her ‘special treat’, so now the thinks she’s getting something really great when we bust it out.
5. Keep them home from school or nursery until they’re feeling better. Apparently you don’t have to wait until the last scab has healed over, but no one is going to thank you for rocking up at school/nursery with a spotty child.
6. Don’t get the fluid from their blisters in your mouth. This is one of the ways that the disease spreads, apparently. Think that’s gross? It also spreads through poo. This virus is the worst.
7. If they ask for a cookie, let them have it. They feel awful and cookies are great.