The day the family stood still

Mount Etna

Photo Credit: gnuckx

I hope this will not happen to your family.

I definitely don’t want this to happen again in my family as it seriously interrupts the workings of the household.

It surely disturbs even the littlest moments we enjoy each day with each other.

What happened?

On Sunday – April 8 – K was really hot to touch during dinner time. I thought it was a normal fever and I put him to bed right after dinner. He looked lifeless and lethargic – drastically different from his normal, active self.

The temperature was 39.1 degree Celsius.

Holy sh*t!

But I didn’t ask K to take any medication that night.

Came the following morning, he was still feverish (around 38.1 – 38.3 degrees). But that was one thing very apparent. He got sore throat.

Poor thing.

Not knowing what had actually happened to him, I asked him to gobble up our daily dosage of fruits and vegetables juice. You know how much it hurts to drink juice when you have sore throat. Up to a stage tears were rolling down from his face.

K didn’t go to school. I still waited and observed how it went. And with the hope that he recovered from his fever and be active again.

Against my will, K complained of severe pain in his throat on Tuesday night. With the intention of relieving his pains, I gave in and rushed him to a neighborhood clinic right before it closed.

It came as a shock to me that the doctor on duty that evening was so convincingly sure that K was contracted with hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD)!

I never thought it would happen to my kids. And I have to report the case the Healthy Ministry.

In fact, there’s no cure (and vaccination) for HFMD except for medications to relieve pain and inflammation.

HFMD Symptoms

After doing some research, here are the symptoms of HFMD:

Fever – first one or two days. Followed by blisters in the throat. Rash on the palms and soles after a few days.

How long does it take to recover? 7-10 days.

How does HFMD spread? Through saliva, mucus, or feces of an infected person. Strictly no sharing of food and no kissing please!

What to Do

The main thing you must make sure is the child infected with HFDM is to stay hydrated. Cook something soft/fluid that is easy to eat and swallow. Such as noodle soup and porridge. Ask him to drink lots of water.

It’s not easy to ask someone with HFMD to drink water as it hurts when he does. But luckily I had no problems getting K to drink.

And keep personal hygiene to the highest standards to prevent spreading and recurrence. Yes, you can get HFMD more than once!

In order not to spread to other kids in school, K self-quarantined for one whole week.

If you think this is bad, wait until you hear out the entire story.

On Wednesday, J felt sleepy in the afternoon (which was abnormal as she no longer naps). And she got a bit warm towards the evening.

My wife and I were mentally prepared to face another case of HFMD in our household.

As we anticipated, J complained of sore throat the next morning but she had already recovered from fever.

J skipped school for two days. And she felt sad over the absence.

J didn’t see doctor but she used the spray given to K by the doctor to spray on the throat to relieve the pain.

Both J and K did not have obvious rash on their palms and soles. The most painful part was the throat.

Thinking that that was the end of the HFMD virus attack.

The worst was not over yet, apparently.

My wife complained of body ache when she woke up on Friday morning.

“Oh, no!” I thought silently.

That’s the sign of fever (but J and K didn’t have body ache but only rise in body temperature). She took early leave from the office after noon as she felt very tired. Her temperature was not as high as J and K though and no apparent signs of fever.

The same thing happened to my wife the next morning as it did to J and K: sore throat.

But the pain was far more inflicting and it was so painful one night that she was waken up from sleep by the pain.

And she had more blisters in the throat than J and K did. She was forced to work from home for a week.

She was fully recovered on the 7th day. That was about the time both J and K recovered too.

Phew! Finally the “outbreak” is over.

3 out of 4 from the family knocked out by the stupid HFMD virus (most common ones are Coxsackie A virus and Enterovirus).

I am the only who is spared from it. Call it lucky or healthy?

You tell me.

Anyway, if you see similar symptoms in your child (hopefully not) – fever followed by sore throat – take note of the hygiene and make sure he takes lots of water.

It’s no fun when disaster strikes in this manner. But be calm and know what you are doing.

To get more and other parenting tips that challenge conventional wisdom, check out my recently launched book “The Nonconformist’s Guide to Parenting.”

More details at:

The Nonconformist’s Guide to Parenting

About Abel Cheng

I am a work-at-home father and chauffeur to my 2 children. I love simple living and my latest passion is healthy eating. Lastly, I am the founder of ParentWonder, which shares tips on becoming better parents.