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Relief from Adult Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Relief from Adult Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand foot and mouth disease… this was new to me until November of last year. I wanted to share our experience with hand foot and mouth disease (also referred to as HFM) and also share what seemed to help us during the sickness since there is no treatment. I found a lot of suggestions online for helping find relief for babies with HFM, but I had such a terrible time finding tips for relief from ADULT Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Obviously it’s all the same virus, but my case was MUCH worse than my daughter’s was.

This was her before I knew what she was sick with – before the rash appeared. She was so pitiful 🙁

First, my daughter all of a sudden didn’t seem to have an appetite. She also developed a fever, but I wasn’t sure what was wrong. The fever wasn’t too high, so the doctor recommended I didn’t bring her end unless something else popped up. After 1 week, she developed a rash on her legs that made me call the doctor back and take her in. Come to find out, she had hand foot and mouth disease. I had not been around this sickness before to really know what it was, or to know the beginning symptoms of the virus so that I could keep myself well. The pediatrician said there was nothing they could do, but once the rash popped up that it was nearing the end and we would just have to wait it out. That sucked. The pediatrician also said that we would likely not get it, that it was most common in children and we would probably be fine.


Well, Steven didn’t get it. But I did. And this was the worst sickness I have ever had, and the fact that I could not find hardly any information on the internet about adults having hand foot and mouth disease, is what sparked my inspiration for writing this.


So sad 🙁


This was the worst of Kendall’s! The worst was on her legs.

So what is hand foot and mouth disease? HFM is an illness that causes sores in or around the mouth and on the hands, feet, and sometimes the butt and legs. The sores may be painful.  The reason I didn’t think that Kendall might have HFM is because her rash was only on her legs, unless she had sores in her mouth that healed before I got her to the doctor.  HFM is not the same as diseases that have similar names, such as foot and mouth disease, hoof and mouth disease, or mad cow disease. So don’t stress. You’re not gross if you get this…it’s viral and extremely contagious.


What is the cause of HFM? HFM is caused by a virus called an enterovirus.  The virus is spread very easily and is highly contagious. It can be spread through coughing and sneezing, but also through infected stool, such as when you change a diaper. Apparently, it can take 3 to 6 days before a person gets symptoms of HFM after being exposed to it. This is the dangerous time, because you may be carrying it and be contagious but not even have any symptoms.  I am so surprised that my husband did not get it.

This was the day I KNEW what I had was HFM. Ugh! I woke up with these. They got WAY worse.

What are the symptoms of HFM?  According to WebMD, the first symptoms may include lethargy, sore throat, or a fever between 101 degrees and 103 degrees. Then in a few days, sores or blisters may appear in or on the mouth and on the hands feet and sometimes butt. In some cases, a skin rash may appear before the blisters do. The blisters may break open and crust over. GROSSSS.


How is HFM treated? This is the good part that I wanted to share with you today. The pediatrician gave me plenty of tips, but as an adult, I think that HFM can be worse.  And any cases of HFM in adults were very hard to find on the internet when I was desperately searching for something that would help me. I searched the internet for hours and days trying to find relief, so I wanted to share with you the very few needles in a haystack that I found so that you didn’t have to do that same searching that I did.

I felt so gross! I took this photo knowing I would later blog about this experience, but I did NOT share this.

There are no medications to help HFM, which is a huge bummer. I have never wanted medication more in my entire life as I did then. In fact, on Thanksgiving day I was in urgent care because I could not tolerate the pain in my throat and thought that I either had the flu or strep throat. I failed to mention that my daughter had had HFM, because I was told I wouldn’t get it, so they did not even look inside of my throat. But I must have had tons of blisters in my throat.  I tested negative for the flu and strep throat before I realized what was happening. It had been almost 2 weeks since Kendall first came down with HFM, so because it had been so long, I did not even think that I might have it.


For children, although these things did not work for me at all, it was recommended to offer plenty of cool liquids to help with sore throat. Cold foods such as popsicles and ice cream were recommended. It was recommended to avoid spicy or acidic foods. And it was recommended to give Tylenol or Advil for pain and fever.


My symptoms were ten times worse than Kendall’s were. She only ever had blisters on her legs and very few on her hands and feet. When I say very few, I mean maybe 10 at the most. However, my throat was full of blisters, and I developed blisters all around my mouth,  all over my hands, feet, legs, and my entire torso and butt. I had blisters everywhere on my body except for my arms. and when I tell you that these blisters were painful, I am highly under exaggerating. There were two days during this sickness that I could hardly walk. I could not use my hands to do anything because my skin was so tight and painful. This is when my desperate internet search was at its highest.


For my mouth sores, I was told to mix Maalox with children’s liquid Benadryl and swirl it in my mouth and spit it out. This was a challenge, because apparently Maalox isn’t being made currently. I  ended up buying milk of magnesia and trying to mix that with the liquid Benadryl, but it literally gave me zero relief. Another thing I tried was cold foods, that did nothing. I tried Ibuprofen and Tylenol and that did nothing. Literally, the weirdest thing I found on the internet is what gave me the most relief. I found somewhere in the endless world of the internet a website recommending to soak your hands and feet, or wherever the blisters were that you could soak, in Greek yogurt. I had some plain Greek yogurt in the refrigerator, and in utter desperation I soaked my hands and feet in the yogurt for 10 minutes. Honestly, this is the only thing that helped  give me any relief. Something about the yogurt cooled my skin, and the pain was almost gone the next day. I don’t know if I can attribute the pain being gone to the yogurt, or if it was coincidence, but it honestly did feel better very soon thereafter.

My feet may not have LOOKED that bad… but oh my gosh – each little red dot felt like I was being stabbed with a needle and I could barely walk.

My hope is that you never experience HFM, because I have never been in so much pain. I literally felt like my skin was on fire. And it made me feel so badly for all the children that get HFM, especially as young as Kendall was because she cannot express the pain that she is in at that age. I hope that I felt a hundred times worse than she did because I would not ever wish that she would feel that much pain. But if you do unfortunately catch  HFM,  just try the Greek yogurt, as weird as it sounds. And it definitely feels gross squishing around in Greek yogurt, but I promise… you will be willing to try anything!


If you have any tips that I didn’t share… please share in a comment below!!


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  • Reply Heather April 27, 2017 at 5:42 PM

    I have HMF right now and so does my 12 year old son. My throat is covered in blisters and I can hardly bare the pain. He has a slight rash on his ankles and groin area but so far mine is contained to my throat. I am so desperate for throats relief right now. The fever comes and goes but honestly this is the worst sore throat of my life!!!!

  • Reply Alesia Kahn June 15, 2017 at 2:41 AM

    Thank you so much for posting this! My 18 month old daughter brought this nasty virus home with her from daycare, poor thing is covered in bumps from her toes to her groin to her fingers. Daddy hasn’t gotten it yet but I’m in terrible pain! I can’t wait to try this out! Thank you!

    • Reply Whitney DeLong June 15, 2017 at 12:15 PM

      Oh you poor thing!! I feel for you! It is TERRIBLE!!!! Dip those hands and toes and yogurt and feel the weirdness, LOL 🙂

  • Reply jennifer July 5, 2017 at 12:43 AM

    So my 6 month old baby boy ended up getting This soooo bad, and they first thought it was a staph infection and then I looked up this virus and decided to bring him back in for the 3rd time in 2 weeks. And they finally said it was hand foot and mouth. He had it soo bad. On his butt, up his legs to his arms to blister all over his hands to his toes. To his lips! It was heart breaking! He is finally clearing up a bit but has still a lot of dried up blisters on his legs on clusters too! And just a few days ago I when I brought him in again when I told them I thought it was hand foot mouth virus, I knew he had it be I had a sore throat and a couple blisters on my hands… I have it pretty bad too…my hands are full of them and they hurt so bad! My feet also hurt bad, I can barley walk! I wish this on no one! I hope my husband doesn’t get it bad…he has it too but a few days behind me…im going to try the Greek yogurt! Thanks

    • Reply Whitney DeLong July 10, 2017 at 5:01 PM

      Oh my gosh i feel for you so bad!!! It’s TERRIBLE!!! It hurts SO BAD!!! I hope the yogurt helped!!!!

  • Reply Dana August 15, 2017 at 1:41 AM

    My 2 year old had HFM first but he seemed fine. Had a fever Sunday and blisters appeared on Wednesday but he didn’t act any different. Then my 7 month old got had a fever Thursday morning and was generally ill all day – didn’t want her bottle or paci all day and mostly slept. Thursday night is when this hell started for me. Started with chills, told my hubby I think I have a fever and went to bed. Me and my 7 month old didn’t sleep at all. Woke up Friday with a throbbing headache and nausea that lasted all day. Saturday I felt pretty okay. Went out and did some shopping, came home and my feet were on fire – took my shoes off and there they were, the blisters covered my feet and they were itchy and unbelievably painful. Took Benadryl and woke up Sunday to blisters on my hands, face, in my nose and ears, on my scalp. Couldn’t walk or do anything with my hands. I couldn’t swallow without a ton of pain. The only relief I got was frozen water bottles on my hands and feet. I’d wake up, take Benadryl, lay down and hold onto a frozen water bottle to fall asleep again. Today is Monday night, I can walk, use my hands, throat is normal again. Face is itchy, especially in my nose. My hands and feet have no feeling though. Like they are calloused, almost. Red dots are still visible everywhere but they’re not painful anymore and some of them are crusting over (yuck). I’m afraid I’ll lose my fingernails since I have some red dots under my nails. Hands have started to crack and peel in some places. I hoped this wouldn’t happen! But atleast the worst is over. HFM is by far the worst illness I’ve ever had!! That is no exaggeration!

    • Reply Whitney DeLong August 16, 2017 at 3:56 PM

      I am totally in agreement with you!! It was AWFUL!!!! I’m so glad the worst is over for you and hopefully nobody else gets it in your house!! We haven’t had it again here since then and I pray we don’t EVER AGAIN!!!!!

  • Reply Nikki October 20, 2017 at 5:29 AM

    It’s 4:30am. I haven’t been able to sleep because I’ve been endlessly searching the internet on “adult HFM.” Long story short, my 1-year-old had it last week, she’s just now getting back to her old self. I got a fever and sore throat on Wednesday and the next morning I noticed 2 blisters on my chin, 2 on my hand, and 2 on my feet. Very itchy. So 18 hours has about passed and there are NO NEW blisters. MY DESPERATE QUESTION TO YOU IS – how many days did it take from your picture #1 (with the initial blisters) to full blown blisters? I’m just trying to figure out if this is the worst of my outbreak since I haven’t gotten more …please help!!!

    • Reply Whitney DeLong January 18, 2018 at 3:53 PM

      Nikki – embarrassed I missed your comment til now! I’m so sorry! I would say it took a day or two and then a day or so of pure misery then they started to scab and dry up. <3

  • Reply Laura Smith January 1, 2018 at 3:40 PM

    Gosh, I currently have it right now. My 1year old got it last week, and everyone says that adults usually dont get the virus. WRONG! My hands and feet never itched so much in my life. It is almost unbearable. How long does the itching last? Did you disinfect everything? I don’t even know where to start!

    • Reply Whitney DeLong January 18, 2018 at 3:58 PM

      Yep they sure told me the very same thing and I got it and it SUCKEDDDD! It was TERRIBLE!! I did disinfect everything, yes!! The itching lasted pretty much til things were healed. I know it’s so overwhelming to know where to start!! Are you guys all better?

  • Reply Kayla August 7, 2018 at 7:38 PM

    I had HFM a few years ago. I got it from 1 of my daughter’s friends and then she got it. Hers wasn’t bad. A couple of blisters small fever and laying around.
    Me… was horrible.. my hands swelled so bad I had to take my rings off I thought i had the flu at 1st. But when I went to the Dr it was confirmed I had HFM. By accident I figured out that if you take a really hot bath and soak for a while. This will bring all the blisters to the surface faster. Making it not last as long. Nothing helped the itching. I tried benadryl, anti itch lotion. Nothing helped. And then by accident again in the car the AC was on and the cold gave some relief. So as much as I could I held a ice pack. It numbed it. Which helped a lot. I even slept holding a ice pack.
    Hope this helps

    • Reply Whitney DeLong October 9, 2018 at 8:19 AM

      YES!!! I went to urgent care thinking I had either the flu or strep! Flipping hurt so bad! Thank you for sharing your tips, too!

  • Reply Julia August 4, 2019 at 11:32 PM

    I wanted to share this info too…if you have awful mouth blisters and a sore throat eat alllll the plain greek yogurt, too! It is the only thing helping me feel relief! I don’t feel like I’m swallowing glass praise Jesus!

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