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To be worried about hand foot & mouth?

(55 Posts)
FantaIsFine Fri 18-Sep-15 21:17:44

I'm not worried for me as I believe adults get it only rarely and I have no children in my household at all, but I am due to be with a little patient tomorrow diagnosed this morning and have a couple of engagements in the next couple of days with other children present (and in one case a mum to be). I ABSOLUTELY intend to let them know I've had this contact and understand/intend to rearrange - it would be AWFUL not to do so. The poorly baby wouldn't be present though. So that I am aware, however:

Bearing in mind that I'm going to see the current sufferer tomorrow and usually end up wearing his chewed biscuits one way or another, mainly down my top, can anyone answer:
How infectious is it once it presents?
How long would I (say) be able to communicate it to other children for if at all and should I be aware when seeing adults with children even?
At what age does contact become irrelevant? (Say my PG friend's two children are both over 5 - she of course is PG so that adds an extra layer in, but hope YSWIM)
Is the pregnancy element relevant or if it is gastrointestinal does it mean it shouldn't matter?

I think the method of transmission is saliva or poo. I'm unlikely to share either of my own with any other children, does this help in the equation? Plus I am a pretty frequent hand-washer anyway.

What I don't want is to be irresponsible so I'm asking here as there are so many wise words to be had...although I certainly intend to let my friends know regardless. The NHS online advice isn't awfully helpful.

Thanks in advance...sorry if AIBU is wrong forum, but great traffic

tobysmum77 Fri 18-Sep-15 21:21:35

Yabu how are you going to pass it on if you don't catch it? It's really mild anyway usually stop unless someone is having chemo there really is no reason to stress.

EatDessertFirst Fri 18-Sep-15 21:25:53

I was lambasted on here for suggesting that I may take my DD to an open park with HFM (which I didn't on the strength of advice recieved) so I shall pass on what I was told by numerous users. It is hugely contagious, and is dangerous for pregnant women. You may be carrying it even if you have no symptoms.

YABU for knowingly coming into contact with children and expectant mothers when you might be carrying it.

elizadofuckall Fri 18-Sep-15 21:30:41

It isn't always a mild illness. My DD had it very badly in her mouth and throat and couldn't walk without crying because of the blisters on her feet. The post viral cough was horrendous and lasted 4 weeks. She was vomiting daily because of the cough.
YWBU to see other children or pregnant women when you have been exposed to the virus.

I wish the person that thought it was fine to let their child spend time with mine whilst infectious had checked on MN first.

tobysmum77 Fri 18-Sep-15 21:32:12

you may be carrying it if you have no symptoms

So any of us might have it hmm

Fizzielove Fri 18-Sep-15 21:35:00

Wouldn't it be better to avoid/ postpone meeting with child that actually had HFM and be able to see everyone else without the chance of passing it on? As far
As I know it's very contagious and dangerous for mums to be?!

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Fri 18-Sep-15 21:39:18

My DD had it really really badly, the Dr said it was the worst cases she had ever seen. It's very contagious. I was 10 weeks pregnant at the time, I was told the biggest risk for pregnant women is if you catch it close to delivery.
It's usually a fairly mild illness but can be nasty.

Needaninsight Fri 18-Sep-15 21:41:14

Wasn't a mild illness at all for my 10month old. She was incredibly poorly. Nasty nasty. Wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy

Scarletforya Fri 18-Sep-15 21:41:32

It is not always really mild. My dn was really sick with it. Extremely so.

sallysparrow157 Fri 18-Sep-15 21:41:43

You've almost certainly already had it as it is rampantly contagious and runs through schools and nurseries like wildfire so if you have been to school you've probably had it as a kid. It doesn't cause complications in pregnancy (I wonder if people are thinking about slapped cheek?) and although unpleasant almost never leads to any significant complications. I've been exposed to it countless times and have never been advised by hospital infection control teams to limit my exposure to other people afterwards.

EatDessertFirst Fri 18-Sep-15 21:44:34

No need for the hmm tobys. Just repeating what I was told on here.

sallysparrow157 Fri 18-Sep-15 21:45:18

'If a pregnant woman gets hand, foot and mouth disease, there’s normally no risk to the unborn baby, as complications are rare.
HFMD is rare in healthy adults, so the risk of infection during pregnancy is also very low.'
From nhs choices website

PermetsTu Fri 18-Sep-15 21:46:54

There is no public health advice to avoid people when you actively have HFM. The risk to pregnant women is VERY rare. There is a very small risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy, due to fever present during the virus, not from the virus itself and in very late pregnancy, it can pass to the unborn baby but usually only mildly and only just before birth. If a baby suffers complications, it's rare and for those suffering complications, the minority who suffer seriously are again even rarer.

I'm not saying any of this to argue a case for not being careful, but just pointing out that it's similar to many viruses and pregnant women. The fever is more of a risk than anything else (possible with any virus) and it's only possible to pass it on shortly before birth. HFM is very rare in a healthy adult. Most people are immune. So, like other viruses, there is no advice to stay away from other people.

However, I absolutely would endeavour to not pass it on because it can be unpleasant and if you have it in your power to avoid it, then why wouldn't you? Any risk, however vanishingly small, still exists.

PacificDogwod Fri 18-Sep-15 21:47:38

Wash your hands after your contact, and otherwise resume normal service.

Yes, the virus can be terrible for unborn children, but it is so wide-spread that whatever precautions you might take, the children you will see will have had contact with other people who could just as easily be contacts.
It is very likely that you are immune anyway.

museumum Fri 18-Sep-15 21:48:17

It can be caused by two different viruses and almost all adults are immune to them through childhood exposure.

tobysmum77 Fri 18-Sep-15 21:48:59

Don't believe everything you're told on mn particularly about infection control smile

The big issue is yes some people get it badly ( including the nursery manager at dd's nursery....) but most people who have it don't even realise. So the idea that it can be quarantined with perfectly well people staying indoors after 'contact' is just bizarre.

PermetsTu Fri 18-Sep-15 21:55:23

It's tough on a forum like MN because threads will attract people with a story to tell. The people who didn't know their children had it (obviously) and those for whom it was a mild and unremarkable virus tend not to comment. They are the majority though.

Like the common cold. It's not something I'd ever expect people to remain in quarantine over. Heck, half of dd's school and ds's preschool are coughing and sneezing atm. However, when younger my ds had pneumonia as a complication of the common cold. He was very unwell and in hospital for a week. If you asked whether people had experience of colds affecting young children badly, you'd draw a biased sample. It doesn't mean that the public health information is wrong. Particularly with HFM and similar viruses, you're infectious long before you're symptomatic and coupled with its prevalence and how mild it usually is, there's no sense in advising that people remain quarantined for its duration.

I still maintain though that it's a courtesy to avoid people if you do have it and that avoidance is easily attained.

Chocolateteabag Fri 18-Sep-15 21:57:50

Like Chickenpox, most HFM cases are mild, but unfortunately there are those who get a nasty dose.
DP's friend caught HFM from his DC and was off work for a week with blisters down into his throat - and he's a big strapping bloke.

I would do my best to avoid the infected child and if you can't do that, be v careful and make sure you let everyone you've listed in OP know at least.
Give them the information and let them decide.

Allstoppedup Fri 18-Sep-15 21:57:54

My DS was awfully poorly with it BUT I was 36 weeks pregnant when he did and the GP really wasn't concerned as the risks are fairly minimal.

It's also not an excludable illness at my DS's nursery (although I didn't send him in with it because he was too poorly/I'd hate for another little one to suffer like he was).

I think if you make sure you are stringent about cleanliness and hand washing and possibly take a change of clothes you should be absolutely fine. It's mainly spread through fluids (either from the blisters or droplets spread through coughing/sneezing).

If you are careful I think the risk of spreading from the situation you describe is very low.

silverlace Fri 18-Sep-15 22:15:42

I had it a couple of years ago and it was very unpleasant and painful. I must never have had it as a child. I am convinced I picked it up in the doctor's surgery as I took my DS there a few days before I got the symptoms. Neither of my DC or husband caught it from me though.

FantaIsFine Fri 18-Sep-15 22:16:01

Yikes. I was only asking for advice as I DON'T intend to put anyone in any danger of getting anything and I will do so with full disclosure. I am happy to put myself at risk and I don't want to do the same elsewhere, I just want to understand the risk and be a responsible person.

EatDessert - the child I'm seeing tomorrow ALREADY has it. That is why I wanted to know what risks I might pose to others subsequently and what I need to avoid.

Not asking for "well done me" but surely this is the kind of thing that I've seen on countless past posts for others NOT having considered?

FantaIsFine Fri 18-Sep-15 22:18:22

Sorry - I should say thank you to all other posters also...I'm still unsure as to where I should find some of my questions answered. It's definitely not an option not meeting tomorrow.

Pobspits Fri 18-Sep-15 22:21:38

I had it last year in my 30s, I thought I might die! Nobody else caught it through (Dh and kids)

PacificDogwod Fri 18-Sep-15 22:23:50

It's tough on a forum like MN because threads will attract people with a story to tell. The people who didn't know their children had it (obviously) and those for whom it was a mild and unremarkable virus tend not to comment. They are the majority though.

Yy to that.
Lovely reporting bias.

OP, stop fretting. See the child in question, wash your hands afterwards and don't change your clothes. It's pointless.

DisappointedOne Fri 18-Sep-15 22:28:31

I caught HF+M at the same time as/from DD when she was about 18 months old. I have never been so ill in my adult life. I was practically bed bound for about 3 weeks and it took me months to feel well again. It was nothing like "mild" (and there are many more similar accounts online).

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