Hand foot and mouth disease AKA Coxsackievirus is one of those childhood illnesses that seems to run through daycares, sparing no one. When you see the telltale rash on a kid's hands, even sanitizing your whole house from top to bottom won't help — it's too late. And while most of us think of hand foot mouth disease (HFMD) as something that only affects kids, think again. You can definitely catch it from your kid, so you're going to want to know how to treat hand foot mouth disease in adults, because you're probably going to catch it.
Hand foot mouth disease is a virus that you can catch from an infected person's "nasal secretions or throat discharge, saliva, fluid from blisters, stool, or respiratory droplets sprayed into the air after a cough or sneeze," according to the Mayo Clinic. And to treat it, you'll need to stay hydrated, bring your fever down with acetaminophen, and keep any sores clean, they advised. While you're at it, you may as well try to prevent anyone else having to go through what can be a miserable 3-6 days of illness.
The Mayo Clinic also explained that many adults can have the virus and not show any symptoms. However, when they do show signs that they've caught it, it can be pretty miserable, though each case is different. The symptoms of coxsackievirus are not any different from a baby's or child's: fever, sore throat, sores inside the mouth and on the tongue, rash on the hands, feet, and around the mouth, which can turn into blisters, according to WebMD. In addition, the rash can spread to the knees, elbows, buttocks, and/or genital area. Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination.
There is also no cure or special treatment for HFMD. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explained, "There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Fever and pain can be managed with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen." In addition, staying hydrated is important, even if you have a sore throat or little appetite. The CDC said, "It is important for people with HFMD to drink enough fluids to prevent loss of body fluids or dehydration."
While you might just have to suffer through the symptoms of HFMD, you can try to prevent spreading it around your household by ensuring everyone washes their hands regularly with soapy water, especially after you've changed a dirty diaper or helped a toddler go to the bathroom. If someone in your house or at daycare has HFMD, make sure to disinfect common areas to prevent the spread of the virus. The Mayo Clinic suggested " cleaning high-traffic areas and surfaces first with soap and water, then with a diluted solution of chlorine bleach and water."
One of the silver linings of having HFMD might just be a little unexpected quiet time to yourself (provided that you have someone else to mind your kids), because one of the best ways to prevent spreading the virus is to isolate the infected party. So while you might only have energy for binge-watching something on Netflix, at least you might catch up on that show everyone's been talking about and you couldn't find time to see!