I decided to create a thread dedicated to this very nasty little bug as I am currently suffering from it as a 31 year old male (my age will be
What is HFM?
It is a common human syndrome caused by Coxsackievirus A-16, which is the most common strain of this virus. Enterovirus 71 (EV-71) is the second most
common cause of HFM. It is spread through direct contact with mucus, saliva, or feces of infected individuals.
HFM is commonly found in daycare centers, pre-schools, and kindergartens during the summer and fall months. It is normally
found in children
ages five and below, however, it can be transmitted to young adults, and even older adults on rare occasion (I guess I'm the rare occasion). HFM's
incubation period is 3-6 days with onset of symptoms within 24 hours of the last day of incubation. It works fast.
What does HFM do to the body?
HFM starts off as a "mock" flu. A spike of temperature usually in the 101-103 range is the start of it, along with a sore throat and what looks
like strep pustulars at the back of the throat, on tonsils, and on the back of the tongue. Lack of hunger/thirst and lethargy accompanies the other
symptoms. Within 48 hours of the "flu" symptoms, small flat red bumps begin appearing on the palms of hands, on the soles of feet, and in some
cases, around the mouth, and in the mouth. These eventually raise like small blisters and fill with fluid. At this point, in many cases, all of the
flu symptoms disappear and one is left with the painful little bumps. From the beginning of the symptoms to the end is roughly 7-10 days with the
blisters drying up and hanging around for a few days after the illness is completely gone.
In rare cases it has been known to cause other more serious symptoms that affect organ systems.
How to prevent HFM
Obviously, hand washing, sanitizing, and other normal methods are somewhat effective at limiting the spread of this virus. Making sure to keep your
child home from school when showing symptoms is also a very effective methods.
This is currently no vaccination or cure for this strain of virus. There have been efforts to create a vaccine, but there isn't one commercially
available. You gotta wait it out.
Relief from HFM
Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen alternated every five hours for fever and pain relief and benadryl for the itching. If mouth pain is severe enough (mine
didn't get to that point), you may wish to have your MD prescribe "magic mouthwash" which is a combo of several analgesics that can be swished
around to provide relief. For the blisters, many people have reported that the only relief comes from using cold substances on the hands and feet
(ice, frozen veggies, etc.). I didn't have much success with topicals applied to the sites of the blisters, and it seems that that is the case with
many adults who have suffered from this bug. For your little ones, many have reported that oatmeal baths have provided relief (much like relief from
the chickenpox), as well as cool foods, foods high in fat, etc. for eating/drinking.
The most important thing is to stay hydrated because if one does
develop sores in the mouth, they are extremely painful and make it hard to
So how did I get it?
I'm a preschool teacher. This is my first time working with kids this young and I have never had this condition, or even heard of it, before I
entered this program. Typically, adults won't contract it. With all of the germs and bugs that typically go around in a school, my immune system
was working in overdrive to fight everything else off. This made it a virus of opportunity in my body.
Oh, and it sucks.
The symptoms vary from person to person, and from what I have read from anecdotal accounts, kids rebound much faster than adults from this disease. I
can tell you that I have a minimum of 40-50 red bumps in varying sizes on each of my hands, and several very large blisters on the bottoms of my feet.
The first day of the breakout, my hands and feet burned like nothing I have ever felt before. Burning hot pins and needles is the only thing I can
compare it to. The only
thing that brought relief was ice cold water and frozen vegetable bags applied directly to the affect areas. As I
type this now, the burning is gone, but the bumps are a pain in the butt. Some have started to dry up already, while others are still forming. I was
given a medical release from work duties until Monday, which is about how long it will take for this to clear up.
Overall, I wouldn't wish this thing on my worst enemy, and I hope that this is the last time that I am affected by it.
in Adult Male
HFM in Toddler
News Sources for Outbreaks
KSPR- Springfield, MO
Times Dispatch- Richmond, VA
KRNV- Reno, NV
The news sources are only a small snippet of what I have found across the country, however, many of the medical professionals interviewed for these
stories have said that the outbreak has been much bigger and much more widespread than in years past. While HFM is very inconvenient to have, it
isn't serious in the overwhelming majority of cases. My question is why this year has been marked with this disease?
If I have forgotten anything, let me know. I did my best to give a comprehensive look at this disease.
If you or your kids have suffered from this, please comment and let us know. How did you deal with it personally?
Thanks for reading.