Last month we flew to San Diego for my cousin’s wedding. We made it a quick trip – in Friday night and out Sunday morning. Traveling with two to a hotel is enough for another post, so I’ll spend this one on the souvenir I brought home with me – Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.
Technically we had it before we got there. The Tuesday prior my daughter had a fever. Friday on the flight my son had a fever. My son had a rash that Saturday and one small mouth sore. My daughter and son were blessed with about 10 “blisters” a piece, so I got the brunt of the virus.
I’m writing this because while I was suffering through this I found solace in personal posts about people’s experiences. While the medical websites helped, they didn’t give me a specific idea of what might happen day in and day out. Hopefully this will help you if you’re searching for some answers.
As I mentioned, we were in San Diego. We were lucky enough to be at a hotel right on the beach. The hotel itself left a bit to be desired, but it was so close I could see the ocean from the window. That meant the room was pretty damp.
DAY 1: On Sunday, as I was getting dressed to leave, my feet were still damp from my shower and the ever-present humidity in the room. I asked my husband for some foot powder but he had already packed it. “No big deal,” I thought.
Walking through the airport I started to feel blisters forming on my feet. I figured this was just because of my shoe choice and lack of powder.
DAY 2: The next morning I had a few blisters in between my fingers. My husband and I chalked this up to all of the things we had been carrying through the airport. I popped a few trying to make them go away faster (see the one on the bottom of my pointer finger – then look at one of the next photos to see how bad it got).
- Do NOT pop HMFD blisters. This is one way the virus can spread.
- Coincidentally, this does not make the blisters go away any faster. In fact I feel as though it just made new blisters under the old blisters.
I casually texted a friend about it and she mentioned HMFD. I looked it up and it seemed to be in line with what I was experiencing. Thank goodness she mentioned it or I would have had no idea.
I had a fever that night. And then it really got started.
DAY 3: I developed more and worse blisters. The worst part was they weren’t blisters filled with fluid, but under the surface blisters that hurt just because I had hands. The blisters on my feet weren’t visible but felt like I was walking on pins. Eating was difficult. Cooking was difficult. Taking care of my kids was difficult. I couldn’t take my dog for a walk. I could barely walk through the house. I’m breastfeeding so all I could take was Tylenol.
I called the pediatrician just to check in and see if there was anything I could do for myself (the kids were basically done with the virus at this point). I also mentioned we’d been at a wedding with all of my family (including my grandmother) and asked if we should inform them of the potential of getting this virus – they said yes. I wrote everyone an email explaining what this was, what signs to look for, and sent some links to medical websites. Luckily no one else got it.
- At this point, pain was at its height.
- I started to wonder how people make it through life with any sort of constant pain.
- It became apparent I would never survive an apocalypse of any kind.
DAY 4: “Redder and better” say my notes. I started getting red spots all over my hands. It spread to my legs and arms. I developed a blister on my inner thigh and one on my upper thigh. (I still have a scar from one of these.) The pain was better.
DAY 5: Pain got increasingly better – I’d say it dropped to about 5%. I developed a blister on my nostril. All of the red spots turned to brown, almost shiny skin since the skin had died and was ready to peel off.
DAY 6: The blisters started peeling. I was down to about 2% pain.
DAY 7: My skin was dry and peeling but the pain was gone. Phew.
For the next three-four weeks all of the skin on my palms/fingers/bottoms of my feet peeled off. Some in large chunks, some in itty bitty pieces. The majority of the blisters on my hands that I never knew I had came to the surface in really small pinhead spots of dry skin. The large spots of new skin produced pain only until those spots became “normal.”.
I was remarking to a friend a few weeks ago that yes, my feet were still peeling from this ordeal. And now it’s almost two months later (TWO MONTHS) and my feet are still dealing with the after effects of continuing to peel. This is new skin. So I’m not sure when this cycle ends or if it’s just how my skin is going to be now.
The good thing is other than the one scar on my inner thigh (and I didn’t even pick at that blister) I didn’t scar from this. I was concerned my hands were going to be visibly scarred but they look just like before.
I also managed to miss the mouth sores. Thank goodness because if I was unable to eat on top of the pain in my hands and feet I would have been quite miserable.
If you’re going through this, I hope you get rid of the pain as quickly as I did. I thought it was going to last forever but it was only really one full day of bad pain.
Best of luck and here’s hoping neither I, nor the kids, ever get it again.