Hand, Foot & Mouth

Ah.. little hands, tiny feet and soft mouths are probably some of the cutest aspects of any newborn child.. but that’s not what I’m chatting about today. I’m starting the conversation about Hand, Foot and Mouth… Yep, that nasty sucker that tends to go around and clinch is nasty grip on any baby that likes to put things in his or her mouth.. which is almost any baby it seems. Some cases run very mild while on the other hand, you hear horror stories of dealing with the wrath of rashes on top of a cranky child. Thankfully we just went through a very mild case in our household.. one that we didn’t recognize as hand, foot and mouth until we were into day 3 and I’m talking why we might have experienced the lesser of the evils when it comes to being contaminated.

All of the sudden in coastal Orange County California, I’ve heard of many people dealing with hand, foot and mouth. Some are friends, whereas others are acquaintances and funny enough my child hasn’t come into contact with any of these other babies in the last month. He most likely picked it up from an oddball place like a highchair, table, shopping cart or [insert guess here] but the fact of the matter is, he got it.

The rash does not necessarily appear right away, which can cause confusion to a parent in determining what’s wrong with your out-of-hand child. Here is what our timeline of dealing with HFMD looked like day by day:

  1. Slight rash under bottom lip. Can be easily confused with a slight food allergy or reaction. Woke up in the middle of the night and was up for 2 hours straight (very uncharacteristic of our son, typically easy to console and lay back down)
  2. Diaper rash appeared in the form of red spots that looked almost like pimples would around the bottom. Crankiness continued to consume most of the day and not much appetite.
  3. Appetite still not as usual and by mid-day the rash started to appear along the sides of the sole of both feet. Diaper rash was very present at this time. We implemented the use of natural remedies by the afternoon on day 3.
  4. Rash continued to appear on hands, feet, under bottom lip, thighs and diaper area.
  5. The rash started to fade with the continued use of natural remedies and our sons appetite and demeanor was back to normal levels.

Obviously there are many different reactions to HFMD, but this was our experience. We are thankful he did not have a strong case, his was very mild compared to some of the stores I have heard. The reason I believe we dealt with a milder case is thanks to diet and use of natural solutions.

I keep my son on a pretty nutrient dense diet and we regularly diffuse and use essential oils in our house which typically keeps our immune systems pretty strong, but that doesn’t mean we are immune to getting sick or catching oddball viruses. However, when we do catch something our bodies typically run through these viruses pretty quickly thanks to our immune systems being so in tune.  While I will talk about what helped us kick HFMD pretty quickly, these are also staples you’ll want to consider keeping around for everyday use so you can be ahead of the next sickness before it strikes.

Essential Oils
I will start off by saying, essential oils do not in anyway treat or cure those afflicted with HFMD. However, essential Oils are an effective alternative for soothing support. They also support the body’s natural antioxidant defenses. Quality is key! Essential oils are so readily available on supermarket shelves nowadays but what many people don’t realize is this is not a regulated industry so many oils are not properly tested and can be labeled as one oil but contain chemical properties of another, which give them different capabilities in function and use. The ones I used on my little one when we dealt with the pathogens are the Protective Blend, Melaleuca, and Lavender. I made a spray in a 1 ounce bottle for quick and easy use to spray onto minor skin irritations. Full recipe below. If you’re looking to learn how to start using essential oils, visit my Essential Oils page.

Coconut Oil
This magical oil can be ingested and applied on the body and has so many incredible properties. If you do not have organic cold pressed coconut oil in your home, I highly suggest buying a large jug of it now to keep around for the plethora of uses you will end up finding for it. I add it into my son’s food for the high quality of fats that keep him satiated, but specifically used coconut oil for HFMD because of it’s antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. I gave my son a coconut oil bath and added some essential oils (protective been + lavender) to help sooth his skin.  If doing a coconut oil bath, due note this will make the tub slippery, use caution on watching your child extra closely in the tub. I also was sure to add coconut oil to his smoothies since it was the one food option he would seem to take without complaint.

Antioxidant: The antioxidant properties of Coconut oil come from its saturated fats like Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid, Caproic Acid, and Myristic Acid. 

Antimicrobial Properties: The acids discussed above convert themselves into great antimicrobial and anti-fungal agents like monocaprin and monolaurin when acted upon by certain enzymes. These derivatives protect our body, both internally and externally, from conditions like Athlete’s Foot, rashes, itches, ringworm, and dermatitis.

Other properties: Coconut oil is found to help absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and glucose in the body, aid proper secretion of insulin, improve circulation and fight tumors, colitis, ulcers in the stomach and food pipe, correct renal infections, reduce inflammation due to rashes or contact with foreign substances. It is also very effective in curing and relieving bruises and small cuts.

We intake probiotics on a daily basis. There have been many studies on how a healthy gut flora can boost the immune system and overall health. What do probiotics do? They help us maintain a good balance of bacteria in our gut flora. Which in essence help us break down food and absorb nutrients. When our gut flora is out of whack, digestion can become an issue. One of the main functions of healthful bacteria is to stimulate immune response! Now, not all probiotics are created equal.. since it’s becoming a ‘diet fad’ there are many products coming out that market their added probiotics where as the best forms come from fermented foods. Certain examples include, plain unflavored yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and kombucha.  The easiest form of probiotic to give to any small child is coconut kefir, which can be found at local health foods stores or you can make it at home. Find a kind with no added sugar, just coconut water and live cultures. This can easily be added into purees, milk, or water that you give your child throughout the day, plus not much is needed to keep a healthy gut flora alive!

Soothing Spray

If you have not been introduced to a place to purchase high quality essential oils, please follow this link to learn how to purchase yours today. Be aware of the many distributors of oils today and yet the unregulated industry leads to oils that are not truly pure, which can be dangerous when used if not Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.

Fill the glass spray bottle with the 3 essential oils and fill the rest of the bottle with fractionated coconut oil.  Spray on hands, feet, diaper area or wherever skin needs soothing from irritation. You can also spray into your hands, rub together and apply around mouth area where skin irritations are present. These Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils are safe to use around the mouth, please take caution in doing so if your oils are not Certified Pure.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.