Last week one of my kids came down with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. My jaw dropped to the floor when I got the diagnosis. It sounds so serious, well, as it turns out, it's just a virus, and very common in children, especially during the summer months. Aparently it's going around, I have no idea where my daughter got it, but it sure knocked her out!
Here are some of the symptoms that my daughter had. She started out just kind of tired, thought she'd had too much excitement and was worn out. Then she got a tiny little blister on her hand, just one to start. A few days later she had a fever and said that her "body was tired" and she was achy. She also lost her appetite and ate very little. She had white spots on the back of her throat- which I thought was Strep Throat (that's when we carted her off to the doctor's). After the low grade fever she got a few more spots on her hands and wrists. She didn't really have any on her feet and didn't seem to have any blisters in her mouth, but she did complain about her mouth hurting some days earlier but we thought that she just bit her tongue in her sleep.
Since the disease is caused by a virus, it is not treated with anti-biotics, you simply have to wait it out and treat the symptoms (Tylenol for fever and pain). It's been about 10 days now and I can still see that my little firecracker is still under the weather, this virus is a nasty one!
After combing the web I found that the incubation period is 2-7 days and that kids are contagious before the symptoms show and for 14 days after the fever. Some sites said that kids could go back to daycare after 3 days, others said after the blisters had dried up. Another site said that the disease is contagious during the first week of illness and less contagious later on but that the virus could live in feces for longer (14 days). There isn't much that you can do to prevent getting it except for good hygeine. The virus can be tranferred from direct contact with saliva or things that kids have touched or mouthed.
Hopefully, your kids won't be unlucky enough to catch this summer bug!