My Experience with Hand Foot Mouth Disease (23 year old female)

I’ve wanted to start a blog for a while but what really ended up helping make the decision to do it was this horrible shitty shitty terrible experience with a disease called hfmd. Hand foot mouth disease is a children’s disease that I somehow contracted from one of my housemates who I hadn’t interacted with at all in two weeks, which is totally possible because I live in a huge house with 70 people. More on this later. Anyways this disease really fucks up your shit if you’re an adult. I spent most of my sick days reading other people’s accounts of their experience with hfmd but most of them given my middle aged parents and thought it might be useful to have a perspective from a 23 year old female. Here is a day by day timeline of what happened.

DAY 1 – Monday

I went to work this day but felt very sleepy despite getting a good 8 hours the previous night. I fall asleep at work at 5pm and didn’t wake up until 7pm making me very late to my dinner plans. By the time I eat dinner and get home by 9pm I knew I was definitely sick. Got into bed at 9pm and started having chills and a fever. I was vaguely aware that my housemate had hfmd and wondered if it was that but assumed I was being paranoid and went to sleep.

DAY 2 – Tuesday

Woke up very feverish at 6am. Sent an email calling into work saying I would work from home that day. By 11am I knew I was too sick to even work from home and stayed in bed the entire day taking an ibuprofen every four hours. This was one of the worst fevers I had ever had but at least I had no sore throat and no cough. Actually went out to dinner with friends this night having suppressed most of my fever with ibuprofen.

DAY 3 – Wednesday

This is really Day 1 of hfmd symptoms and it is brutal. I woke up with some scabs on my hand that hurt but even worse ITCH like crazy. They got worse and worse rapidly through the morning despite not really showing up visibly yet. This was when I knew for sure that I had hfmd and that it was going to be very bad. Called into work saying I would need the rest of the week off. I had no sore throat but my hands hurt so much that opening simple containers or even water bottles hurt significantly so I had a friend nearby to open containers for me, let’s call him containerboy193. containerboy193 is also infected with hfmd but with a very mild case…today is his first day of being sick and he has a high fever.  I was also starting to get a couple of sores on my feet which weren’t itchy. I noticed I had starting getting dandruff which I never get but realized later that these were sores forming on my scalp. I spent the entire day trying various anti itch remedies and taking showers to get rid of what I thought was dandruff. I tried every anti itch remedy on the planet: benadryl (pill form) and benadryl (lotion form) and tea tree oil and coconut oil and anti itch cream and aloe vera and ice. Aloe vera BY FAR was the most useful remedy for the itching.
Nighttime was the worst part because my hands itched and hurt so much that I couldn’t sleep despite being absolutely exhausted. I would fall asleep in micro sleeps for a couple minutes at a time before the itching woke me up again. This happened continuously for hours. I start sobbing in my room. Around 6am I finally manage to fall asleep. This was by far the most painful day of this ordeal and also my entire life.

DAY 4 – Thursday

I wake up at 10am to find that my itching on my hands has gotten a lot better after nonstop itching for the last 24 hours. This is a huge relief. The sores on my feet are getting more dense are spreading but they don’t itch. They do however give off this very painful pins and needles sensation at random intervals that prevent me from going back to sleep. I text someone asking for vicodin in case the pain got worse again but fortunately it never did. My hands still hurt to much on contact for me to type so I watch Netflix for most of the day. Surprisingly, I’ve managed to not get any sore throat and mouth ulcers throughout this whole ordeal and my appetite is almost completely unaffected so I order in and eat like normal. Small sores start appearing around my mouth and nose but they are small and don’t hurt or itch so they don’t bother me. The sores on my feet don’t itch but are extremely painful on contact which make it difficult to even walk to the restrooms. containerboy193 has a total of 3 sores on his hands and some blisters forming on his feet. None of it bothers him and he has a very productive day working from home.

Day 5 – Friday

I’m shocked at how much better I feel today. I am actually typing the whole blog today because my hands can type now. I can walk. I’ve shifted my focus to more aesthetic concerns and wonder if I’m really going to lose my fingernails like they say. There is scarring all around my nose. containerboy193 goes into work. I can’t believe how not incapacitated he is by this disease. By nighttime I feel physically almost 100% and would want to go out for drinks if it wasn’t for the scars all over my arms and face.

Day 6 – Saturday

I feel 100% not sick anymore and take some adderall to catch up on some of the work I missed this week. I’ve rubbed more lotions and ointments on myself in the past two days than I have cumulatively my whole life and my skin is actually glowing, other than the full body rash. I notice the rash has gotten darker and more visible, even though I can’t feel it anymore. This will be my last update unless my fingernails fall off at some point. Cheers.

TLDR: I’ve had a slightly faster than most of the timelines online with 2 days of breaking out and no sore throat or mouth ulcers. This is probably because the worst the case the more likely someone is to post a blog about it online. containerboy193’s case was so mild it isn’t even worth writing about, except it is because from what you hear online you wouldn’t even think that cases so mild would exist. Despite this being “mild” compared to some other accounts online this was by far the most painful sickness I’ve had ever and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Best of luck.


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