Thursday 19 May 2011

the ugly truth to being a parent

The thing about being a parent is that there seems to be a new hurdle around every corner, something unseen by you before.
some of these things are simply a matter of new experiences, new sights and feelings as you marvel at how this little being goes from a baby to a toddler to a tween and then an adult, but a side to the regular experiences, parenthood brings about a lot of gruesome discoveries too.
I have been fairly lucky in the disgusting stakes, and my children have been fairly free of grizzly bugs and infections, but they still have managed to have their fair share of virus' which prior to me being mum, I had no idea about at all.
And seems as the weather is warming up, its that time of year again when the bugs come out in force and their seems to be outbreaks of these virus' sweeping the preschools once more, so I thought I'd share my knowledge on a few of the less known but certainly very common ones;

Hand foot and Mouth.
I think everyone has heard of this, and it seems to rear ugly images of cows being slaughtered by the dozen all over the UK countryside, in the terrible outbreak in 2001 however we have to be careful because them instant images that seem to cloud out mind, are not the same virus that sweeps through nursery's. the virus that causes foot and mouth in cattle is not related to hand foot and mouth which humans catch.
Hand foot and mouth is normally a very mild virus, which can go with no outwardly symptoms at all, hence why most adults are immune and unaware they ever had it.
My experience with HFM was only with my youngest, and it did shock me, as I had never seen it before, and knew nothing about the virus.
My youngest had been a little under the weather but nothing notable, we were at a mums and tots session, and he was complaining his feet hurt, I took off his shoes and noticed a few small red spots appearing, I gave his feet a rub, he seemed ok, put his shoes and socks bachand foot and mouth, spots on feet childhood rash k on and within 10 minutes he was crying again about his feet, again I took his shoes off and his little feet were now covered in these spots, they were appearing before my eyes which I think was due to the heat, and then I noticed he was getting them on his hands, I had no idea what it was, showed the play leaders and they also were unsure of what it could be, so I took him to the chemist, who said it was HFM and there was no real need for treatment, Mikey was uncomfortable with the spots only when he had socks and shoes on, other than that they didn't bother him, and within a few days they had gone, he never got any on his face and only one small white spot in his mouth. The most concerning things was the rate the spots appeared, as spots always seem to conger up thoughts of meningitis which we all know we have to be so vigilant about.
HFM is contagious before the spots appear, hence it spreads very quickly, however not everyone gets symptoms, neither of my elder two had any symptoms around the time Mikey had it, and have never seemed to have caught the virus, but the chances are high they are now immune and just never had any symptoms.

Slap Cheek
Again this is a very common, contagious virus, which often goes un noticed, as symptoms aren't always obvious, unlike hand foot and mouth tho, alot of people have not heard of slap cheek at all even tho it is considered the 5th most common childhood virus.
It gets its name from the red 'slapped cheek' rash that is its most outwardly symptom, other symptoms are pretty much like any common cold.
It was with my daughter I had experience of this virus, when she was 4, her cheeks gained this bright red appearance, and the rash was also on her arms.slap cheek, red rash on face children with red blodges, red hives arms body
When I first saw this rash I had not heard of slapped cheek at all, and so a trip to the doctors was what told me what this rash was. Chloe was not unwell with it, and no treatment was needed,the unsightly rash cleared up and went after a few days, again neither of the boys had any visible signs, but its likely that they both did catch the virus and hence will now be immune.
the main concern with slapped cheek, is for pregnant women, as it can have complications for the baby, but as it is a very common virus, most adults have already been exposed well before adulthood and hence immune.

This was a real eye opener of a virus to me, having never heard of or seen this before it shocked me when my daughter first got these horrible looking spots when she was about 5, they look like big nasty emollescum spots under arm, childhood zits like red angry spts with white center veryday spots, my daughter had them under her knees, and they first appear as white pimples, then they grow and turn red and angry looking, they spread easily and there is normally one main master big red spot, which gets white center to it, surrounded by several smaller white pimples. the virus is the white center to the master spot, and if scratched it spreads. The spots themselves are harmless and do not hurt at all unless scratched and picked, and there is little treatment available for removing them. the most upsetting part of this virus is the ugliness of these persistent spots, and the length the virus lasts, it can last for several months or even years, and batches of spots can come and go frequently, since my daughter had the virus I have known others who also have had the virus some cases are alot more severe, thankfully my daughter only got spots behind her knees, and my son under his arm which are places you can keep covered to prevent spread and humiliation, one little girl I know had a very sever case and she had spots all over her face, with the nature of this virus that can become very distressing for everyone, as the spots can vary from small and fairly un noticeable to big and unsightly it can obviously make people extremely self conscious if they are visible, also with the fact it is highly contagious it can be distressing in knowing you will be potentially passing the virus on to all you come into contact with, but with its length of persistence you can not exclude children from schools who have the virus, and as it is 'harmless' there is not need to hide away.
After my daughters bout drew to a close my youngest son seems to have gained them, his seemed to be in greater numbers than my daughter, his were under his arm, and again they seem to follow the exact pattern from small and hardly noticeable to one growing big and angry looking, then disappearing to another batch reappearing elsewhere, my eldest son did seem to have a couple of mollescum spots around the same time as my daughter, but his was a very mild episode and hardly notable. Alot of people are immune to mollescum and will never catch the virus, others will be far more prone to it, if you do experience this with your children the one stead fast piece of advice seems to be - DO NOT PICK, as it does not make them disappear, it will only cause them to spread, Leave them alone and they will go by themselves.
Like with all these virus once you have contracted them and your body had fought them off, you build up a barrier and it is likely you will not have to endeavor the virus again in adulthood, which is great because whilst we have to watch our children suffer these normally harmless, yet definitely unsightly virus, we can normally be safe in the knowledge we will not be effected.


  1. The Boy had HFM last year and it was awful. He was only 1 at the time and on one iny hand he had 17 big red blisters. I took him the dr and she said his mouth and throat were covered too. She also then said "give him calpol because it hurts", to which I promptly burst into tears that my little baby was suffering.

  2. my youngest has Mollescum at the moment under his arm, its awful he is so self conscious we have had to buy T-shirt vests as he would not get changed for P.E, can I ask how long it lasted as he has been a few months now and no treatment available.

  3. I meant to do a follow up of this post specially for mollescum because it seems to get so much google attention and it is a really nasty virus, it can last years... mikey had it for well over 6 months, it only just cleared up recently prior to starting school in september, I was getting abit concerned about it and worried for him and being noticed at school as he had it far worse than my daughter, and my other half said why not put TCP on them? so we did... and it may have been a coincidence but within a week of putting the TCP on every night they had all cleared up and never been back since! it may sting a little but it is worth it if it actually shifts them!

  4. This is a very good post as before my kids had HFM and slapped cheek I had never heard of them and you tend to panic and think you are the only 1 that has got it!!! my daughter also had a very odd virus that gave her spots just like nettle rash on her face and body and it seemed to flare when she was cold I don't know if there is a name for it but it was awful and seemed to keep coming back for weeks.....thanks for making more people aware, Lisa Troccoli x

  5. Googled spots and came across this post! My daughter has Mollescum and now I think she has HFM too. Some kids gets just get these things I guess and are more prone to spots and other skin things? Great description and useful images.


    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I hope your daughters mollescum clears up as quickly as possible, and yes children do seem to be more prone to spots but I think this is because most adults went through the same as children and built up the resistance then :) x


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