The hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a relatively well-known disease that is the nightmare of every parent who now has a young child attending nursery school, preschool, or kindergarten. What happens if you catch HFMD while you’re pregnant? Let’s sum up how the hand, foot, and mouth disease could affect you or your fetus when you catch it during pregnancy.
What is hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD)?
The hand, foot, and mouth diseasee (HFMD) is a disease caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus group – polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses- but the main cause of HFMD in the United States is coxsackieviruses.
Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease during pregnancy
Symptoms of the hand, foot and mouth disease usually start off with slight discomfort in the throat, a loss of appetite or a cold. Although not everyone gets a fever when infected, in most cases, patients have a slight fever or have a fever as high as 104℉ (40℃).
The more apparent signs start to show 3 to 5 days after one gets infected: blistering sores all over one’s palms, the soles of one’s feet, the top of one’s feet or inside one’s mouth. These sores usually itch and then become painful.
After a week or so, the sores will naturally become better. However, if the sores break open and the pus inside flows out, this can result in yet another round of infection, so try to handle the sores as carefully as you can. Even if the fever dies down and the sores disappear, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your body has eliminated all the viruses from your body.
It takes about 2 to 4 weeks for your body to completely exterminate all the viruses, so in the meantime, it is important that you do not infect your family members with it.
Effects of hand, foot, and mouth disease on the fetus
Pregnant women have lower immunity levels and if your young child has HFMD while you’re pregnant, there is a very high chance that you’ll catch the virus as well. Thus far, there has not been any indication that HFMD can adversely affect your fetus, so there is no need to be too worried even for your fetus’ safety even if you catch HFMD.
Treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease if you get it during pregnancy
There is no specific treatment for HFMD, and drugs that are safe for expectant moms might be prescribed. The symptoms will take a week to naturally heal and disappear. If you have HFMD, be responsible and not go to the hospital unannounced – you could spread the virus to others. Make sure you contact your hospital and informing them about your situation before going down.
Protecting yourself from HFMD during pregnancy
To protect yourself from HFMD, you have to protect yourself from the viruses that can cause HFMD. Wash your hands, rinse your mouth and keep yourself clean.
Should your young child be infected, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after attending to them – for example, after changing diapers. Don’t eat from the same utensils, make sure the windows are open so that fresh air can enter the room and minimize unnecessary contact to stop the virus from spreading.
Remember that when you’re pregnant, your immunity levels are down, so try to have as regular a lifestyle as you can manage. Not having enough sleep or feeling tired can make you more vulnerable to the virus, so don’t put yourself at risk if you can help it.
Keep hands, feet and mouth clean!
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) isn’t just serious, it can be really scary. There are reports of HFMD patients losing their hair, fingernails and as a result of the disease. This is in addition to all the mental stress and worry that you have to deal with should you catch HFMD. Remember that when you’re pregnant, your body isn’t just your own – it’s your baby’s safe haven too. Treat your body well and make sure you have practice good hygiene habits. It’s the first line of defense you have, so use it well!