Health Tip: Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease


If your child comes down with the eponymous Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, a.k.a Coxsackievirus, don’t panic. Despite how frightening they look, the little red dots of blisters – the only rash to appear simultaneously on all three, hence the name – will go away within 7-10 days. Since it is a virus, there is no need for antibiotics. Medical intervention is normally not considered necessary unless the fever is concerning or no fluids are going down (however, we are not doctors and as a parent you do know best – if your inner voice is telling you to rush to the doctor, please listen to yourself). Sores inside the mouth could make drinking or eating painful. We suggest trying smoothies (a favorite recipe follows) and broth soups. And, as always, wash your hands frequently.

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Most likely your Child will have come into contact with the virus through saliva, holding a blistered hand, or playing with a toy that a person with the virus touched. Symptoms such as fever, sore throat or runny nose appear three to five days after exposure. The rash usually makes its appearance a day or two after that.

There is not much to do to stop a case of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease once it is underway, but you will need to stay away from other people (so contagious) and wait. You may find the time to wipe surfaces often with a natural cleaner such as vinegar, and to add Tea Tree Oil to your hand soap, which is an effective natural anti-bacterial.

Baths of apple cider vinegar and virgin organic coconut oil may help to soothe your Child, as may a bath of baking soda or Epsom Salts with lavender essential oil. A salve of tea tree, lavender and coconut oils is nice to put directly on the sores to sooth the itching. We have also found that baking soda with a pinch of water and a dash of tea tree or lavender oil can help with itching and keeping the sores clean. Trimmed nails are necessary to prevent the type of vigorous scratching that can cause the blisters to open and become infected.

Vegetable or bone broth, garlic and more vegetables are delicious blended and can be helpful for your Child as the overall curative effect may soothe the body and boost the immune system. Thyme, rosemary and sage, found often in the French Herbes de Provence, are among the most recommended to get through this trying time.

Since your Child will most likely experience periods of decreased and increased energy, even while still contagious, tea parties can be fun. For HFMD, suggestions include tea made with lemon balm, peppermint, elderberry or rooibos – these tend to be so yummy and sweet that honey may not be necessary.

A Cooling Smoothie

2 tsp organic hemp protein powder (We use Nutiva: “It tastes like chocolate!”)
2 tsp ground organic flax seed
1 frozen banana (cut into pieces before freezing)
1/2 cup blueberries or strawberries – can use fresh but we like frozen for the ice cream effect
1 cup milk (whatever your Child likes that has lots of calcium)
blend it and if you have left overs they make great frozen treat bars to sooth the mouth and throat

A Comforting Broth

2 cups vegetable or bone broth (homemade or store bought organic)
2 cloves garlic pureed
1/4 block tofu, cubed
1 pinch each of thyme, sage and rosemary (fresh is best, powder works too)
1 cup pureed vegetables and greens (whatever you have on hand is good – kale, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, onions)
Mix everything together
Heat to the liking of your Child

Please remember that prevention is the best medicine, boost your Child’s immune system with healthy, organic food, plenty of sleep and fresh air, warm clothes and frequent hand washing.

Bon Appétit and Get Well Soon – More Autumn Health Tips to Come