Natural Remedies for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

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A friend of mine is expecting her third baby very soon and she just discovered that one of her little ones has hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). Knowing that I have been learning about herbs for the last several years, she asked what natural (and pregnancy safe!) things she could do to help her son get better and help reduce the risk of her or the baby contracting it. Curious about what I’ve found?

What is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?

No, it’s not related to the animal disease called “Hoof and Mouth”. It is a virus (most often Coxsackie A) and it’s almost never dangerous. It is, however, highly contagious and very unpleasant. Incubation is three to seven days and is followed by mild fever, sore throat and can include appetite loss and diarrhea. A day or two later, little blisters form in the mouth and a rash develops, usually on the hands and feet, but it can be other places. The rash can be sore, but is not itchy.

Symptoms last one to two weeks, but some sources say that an infected person can still spread the virus for a few weeks after they are recovered. There is no medical treatment and since this is a virus, please don’t ask your doctor for antibiotics. They won’t help and they will damage your immune system. Since a person is most contagious during the incubation period (before you even know they are sick!), it is important to treat the entire family. I don’t recommend trying to reduce the fever, since the fever is part of the immune system’s natural response to kill the virus.

Image of a little boy with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Natural Remedies

One of the things I love about herbs is that there are often many options for treating problems and each herb often has many uses! Hand, foot and mouth disease is a virus, so antiviral herbs are what we want. Since hand, foot and mouth disease almost always affects children, we need herbs that taste good!

Antiviral Teas

These can be warm or cold, depending on what is more soothing for your little one’s sore mouth.

  • Lemon Balm: This is sooo delicious! Dried lemon balm has a subtle lemony flavor that isn’t too strong for little ones (not fresh, though! It tastes like grass!). Brew a little and add a bit of raw honey once it’s cooled some. (Don’t use honey for babies under one year.) Buy it here.
  • Peppermint: We grow chocolate mint in our herb garden and I think it makes a tea so sweet that you don’t even need honey! Don’t make this too strong, though, or most young children won’t drink it. Buy it here.
  • Elderberry: Too much can cause diarrhea, but a few cups a day is delicious and wonderful for fighting viruses. Buy it here.
  • Rooibos Tea: This red tea from Africa is naturally sweet and so good that I drink it often, just because I like it! It is antiviral and pairs well with the elderberry tea. Buy it here.

Antiviral Broth

Your kiddos might not have much of an appetite, so broth/stock is a good option for nutrition.Use either chicken or beef broth/stock and add the ingredients below. When reheating broth, use the stove top, not the microwave!

  • Garlic: Don’t you just love garlic?! It’s antiviral, antibacterial and it tastes so good! Crush or mash the garlic and let it sit in a bowl for 15 minutes before adding it to the broth. This allows air to activate the best healing properties.
  • Thyme: Fresh or dried, thyme is excellent for any virus. Toss some in toward the end of the cooking time. Buy it here.
  • Sage: Along with being antiviral, sage helps to reduce inflammation, heal the sores in the mouth and sooth the upset tummy that sometimes comes with HFMD. DO NOT add sage to your own broth if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Buy it here.
  • Rosemary: It is antiviral and also antibacterial, which helps to prevent secondary infections in the sores.

Soothing Antiviral Oil

Virgin coconut oil is antiviral, too! It is naturally solid at room temperature, so it can be used as a salve, or you can even put a scoop in the bathtub as a bath oil! For an extra boost, infuse it with some lemon balm and calendula (learn how here!). Apply as often as desired.

Antiviral Hand Soap

To help prevent the virus from spreading, use a liquid hand soap and add 2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil to each bottle. If your kiddos don’t wash their hands well, you might want to temporarily use an all-natural foaming hand soap and tell them to wash their hands twice every time they use the bathroom. My four-year-old thinks the foaming soap is tons of fun, so she does a much better job than with bar or liquid soap. ;-)

Antiviral Surface and Air Cleaners

Plain ol’ white vinegar with several drops of tea tree oil will do a fantastic job of killing the virus on surfaces (toilets, doorknobs, light switches, etc.) and the vinegar smell goes away once it’s dry. Adding tea tree oil to a diffuser or in a pot of steaming (not boiling!) water will help kill germs and it’s good for the people who are already sick.

If one of your little ones brings home hand, foot and mouth disease, starting your entire family on these safe antiviral herbs may help to keep the rest of you from catching it and help your kiddos recover more quickly!

If you’re looking for more home remedies and practical suggestions on how to keep your children healthy, naturally, get A Practical Guide to Children’s Health.  With over 300 primary sources, it’s a well-researched guide to vaccines, illnesses, allergies, sleep, feeding, and lots more.  Get the PDF or the paperback.

Have any of your children had hand, foot and mouth disease? Did you use any natural remedies for comfort or to prevent spreading it?

Comments

  1. says

    Our younger 3 had it last Fall. We didn’t realize what it was until our youngest one had it. They appeared to be fever blisters and that is what we had assumed. So my older ones didn’t get anything, however the peppermint tea, lemon, or garlic wouldn’t even be possible. I had a hard time just getting them to drink water because the blisters in the mouth. I think that clove oil would have been much more effective and probably would of killed it rather fast.

    I just did some epsom salt baths with tea tree oil and lavender, not at the same time. I would alternate them. This was enough for them to stay calm and kill the virus. My kids only had it for about 3-5 days total. The doc told us that usually once you get one strain of the virus you have immunity and don’t usually get the same strain more than once.

    • says

      I’m glad to hear that the tea tree oil and lavender baths helped! Depending on the age, some tea made with cloves might be good for easing pain, but it can be dangerous to numb the mouth of a very young child. They could choke on their food or drink if they can’t feel it. Every child is different, but once the garlic is cooked, it wouldn’t cause pain. The lemon balm tea isn’t the same as lemon. There isn’t any acidity or sourness to it. It’s actually very soothing to inflamed tissue. :-)

      • says

        I am surprised to see that you are recommending garlic as antiviral when it has been heated up. I just read somewhere (for the life of me I cannot remember where) that garlic loses many of its antiviral/antibacterial effects when it is heated/cooked. I am just stumbling upon this post now as our family is having it’s first encounter with HFMD. My 3 yo had a fever followed by mild blisters on mouth/hands/feet and recovered completely within 3 days. My 6 yo had a fever for a day and a half with loss of appetite, but no blisters and recovered to normal activity/appetite within 4 days. My 13 month old is on day 4 of having a mild fever in the evenings, and no blisters yet, thank goodness. Trouble is- my husband! Apparently it’s rare for adults to get it, but he had a fever overnight one night that returns each evening (on night 4 for him also) but he has absolutely terrible blisters inside his mouth & throat and the palms of his hands and bottoms of his feet are just covered with little red “smears” of blood under the skin where he says he has painfully felt each of the little blisters pop (but they don’t actually break open, just hurt under the skin). Poor man, it’s hard for him to even walk or carry anything in his hands. By the time we figured out what it was, the 3 yo was fine and the others already had fevers. I started putting a thieves oil blend (you do NOT have to buy from any specific supplier- my website actually lists the ‘recipe’ I use for making our own thieves oil blend and it has worked like a charm for over 2 years) on my feet at night. No illness for me yet, but searching for relief for my poor hubby. Thieves oil blend (essential oils diluted in a carrier/base oil such as olive oil) can be used on young children (I know people who use it on very small kiddos but I wouldn’t use it on a baby under 9-10 months just because they are super sensitive and I would want to be sure I knew of any potential sensitivities/allergens). Anyhow, when thieves oil is applied to bottoms of feet nightly before bed, we have had a 100% success rate with preventing infection/virus when we know we are being/have been exposed to something contageous. This has been our experience over the last 2+ years. If only we would remember to put this stuff on EVERY night, lol, but sadly we usually don’t think of it until at least one kid is sick and then sometimes we don’t remember it. Powerful item to have in your arsenal and we are going to make a huge effort to get in the habit of using it daily in the fall/winter months especially!

        • Slater says

          I know how your husband feels I have the full blown effects as well. My wife also did not get any symptoms beyond a slight irritation of the throat. My 2 daughters of 3 and 4 only had sore throat and fever

          • says

            Fever Sunday -Tuesday. Developed throat sores immediately now have blister looking things on tender feet and hands. Warm water only relief will do anything to get better.

  2. Emily says

    GRR!!! I wish I had seen this a week ago! My little guy is just getting over HFM, still has a bit of a rash but it doesn’t seem to be bothering him. Mom on the other hand is getting a little stir-crazy since we haven’t been to the park or to play with friends in a week! I am just starting to learn about natural remedies so we did end up using the Dr recommended Mylanta/Benadryl mix a few times for the mouth sores. My guy wouldn’t nurse or put anything that wasn’t frozen in his mouth for the first two days so I would definetly recommend pulling out some “fun” frozen snacks- in our case frozen blueberries and homeade popsicles!

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Tiffany! I understand that there are quite a few different strains out there and some families seem to get it often! I hope this helps. :-)

      • says

        Hmm, not sure why my reply to Tiffany popped up under Emily’s comment… oh well. :-)
        So, Emily, I love the frozen blueberries idea! I have a horrible case of chicken pocks as a child (all the way into my throat!) and would have really enjoyed frozen berries. I also recommended homemade pudding on my facebook page. Using whole milk (raw, if possible) and free-range eggs would provide lots of nutrition and a creamy and cold form.

  3. Leesy Bosezcu-Phillips says

    Welcome to our Christmas….My daughter contracted HFMD from my niece, my son contracted ROTO virus from church the nursery had an outbreak, then my son had congectivitis as well that spread to my daughter, then Christmas morning I woke up to the bleary-eyed gunky gross pink eye myself. A few days later my sister actually got HFMD from my daughter blowing rasberries at her Christmas Eve when we thought she was not contagious anymore…UGHH!! We like to refer to that as the 6 plagues of Christmas 2011…

    I actually did the diffuse Tea Tree in a vaporizer set on a timer to go off every 15 min and it lasted about 5 min, my daughter I gave choco-mint, I grow the herb too, I did the x-tra virgin coconut oil as a salve. The worst was the blisters on her tongue and throat, nothing seemed to sooth it except the healing broth.. I infused chicken stock w/lemongrass, parsely, rosemary, sage and garlic, that seemed to be all that soothed her.

    Thankfully HFMD only affected my daughter and my younger sister, my son had enough with ROTO virus and Pink eye…he gets pink about every 2 months, his tear ducts just don’t drain well so we will be having his tear duct lanced, I tried to put it off but he just had pink last week and after I got pink on Christmas day I know how painful and irritating it can be, I don’t want to put it off any longer. I did make a eye drops from an infusion of eyebright and distilled water, to help soothe the eye, but the poor lil’ guy’s eyes just don’t drain well and all that bacteria sits in his eyes…GR8 post! I would have like to tried some of those remedies a few months ago…

    • says

      Thanks so much for sharing what helped your little one, Leesy! HFMD, ROTO virus AND pink eye?! I am so sorry that you all had such a difficult Christmas. Some years just seem to be like that, don’t they? I hope that next Christmas makes up for it. :-)

      Eyebright would be my first recommendation for pink eye, but it sound like he’s got more going on than just an infection. I pray that you’re able to do whatever he needs to be healthy. (I think I would try to put it off, too!) I haven’t tried it, but I did read a few places that some virgin coconut oil on a cotton ball could be swept across the eye lid several times a day. They say it’s very effective and doesn’t burn. Maybe you could infuse the eyebright into the coconut oil? Let me know if you try it. I’d like to know how it works. Here’s the link for how to infuse the oil with an herb…
      http://creativechristianmama.com/fun-things-friday-coconut-oil-salve/

      • Dani says

        Wow, that sounds like not much fun at Christmas–or any OTHER time!
        I second te coconut oil bit–I actually have swept some coconut oil INTO my eyes (only do right before bed, as it makes a fog that doesn’t clear very well) and had GREAT success with beating down eye infections. I had LASIK a few years ago, and have had chronic dry eye ever since (quite the opposite of your little man), and subject to frequent infections due to the irritation. I used to use baby shampoo every day (I know better now!) that kept the goopies at bay, and when I quit using it daily, immediately I broke out in a rash around my eyes–multiple causation; Dr felt I’d had the infection for years and just washed it out every morning. Dr wanted me on super-strong antibiotics for 6+ months to clear it up (it’s not quite like pink eye, but still bacterial, according to 3 different eye docs that I saw trying to find one that would try to treat w/o antibiotics), but there are more reasons to not take the antibiotics than there are to take it in my situation. I manage it completely now with a clean, damp micro-fiber cloth every morning–wiping lids and “scrubbing” the lashes just a bit, and coconut oil IN the eyes at night, and not even every night, just when I feel “the crusties” trying to take hold.
        I’m going to have to try infusing the eyebright… Gee, I wish I’d thought of that!

  4. says

    Glad to see there are some natural remedies to try… I am an adult with my SECOND case of HFMD and I am in so much pain, I can barely swallow soup. I have no sores on my hands of feet this time, just all on my throat. I am praying that my 18 month old doesn’t get it (though I probably picked it up from her daycare). I still breastfeed once a day, so maybe she is safe and protected.

    • says

      Poor thing! That can’t be fun! Since you’re an adult, I’d also recommend some tea with cloves in it to help numb your throat. That’s not something I recommend for children, due to choking dangers, but you’d be just fine and it would give you some relief. Just add 5 to 10 cloves to your cup before pouring the boiling water in, or heat the water in a small saucepan with the cloves in there for an even stronger effect. Some people add one to two drops of clove essential oil, instead, but I wouldn’t do that if I was breastfeeding or pregnant. I hope you recover quickly!

  5. Mikey says

    Just curious if anyone knows, but can Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar help to kill the virus’ ability to spread? Does it kill the existing virus?

  6. maegan says

    My daughter just had hfm and so lovingly shared it with her mommy lol I used the coconut oil on her dashes/blisters and they cleared up completely in 4 days. mine on the other hand, I’ve had for 3 days and show no sign of letting up….

  7. says

    Thank you so much for writing this blog post! My daughter just came down with this from traveling to Korea and this was a lifesaver! The coconut oil worked like a charm! I also used the herbs you suggested in a rice and broth soup and after not wanting to eat anything she gobbled it up! Thanks again! :)

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Nicole! I’m so glad to hear that the coconut oil was so effective for your daughter. That’s great about the soup! I know that most kids don’t have much of an appetite for a few days. :-)

  8. Victoria says

    Thank you ladies. My two kids got it, and I was devastated, but I went right away and got all those things. and that night gave a bath for my two kids in baking soda water plus I added tea tree oil, and next morning all those soars dried up that were blisters. And the little one slept all night long did not wake up. Also for breakfast we had roubos tea, plus I did take that suggestion and used vinegar plus few drops of tea tree oil and wiped the tables, door knobs, and everything I saw kids would touch. Thank you!

  9. says

    Thanks for the post .You are giving such a wonderful information regarding Natural Remedies.And help people to prevent the virus. I m studied many more article regarding natural remedies but your blogs is best one.you are giving the best knowledge about herbs.

  10. Laura says

    I’m so glad to read theses suggestions. My 15 mo. old daughter is just about over a very mild case of herpangina (similar to hfmd), but not I’ve got it, and what I have is definitely more severe. I’ve got a least 2 dozen sores in my mouth, from the back of my throat to just inside my lip. I will be begging my mother to hit the store for me tomorrow (I’ve been so lethargic and out of it that I haven’t tried driving)! Thanks

  11. Nichole Goff says

    Thank you so much for your post. I am in Seattle at the moment about to board a plane for home (Kentucky).
    We are visiting relatives, and in the last couple of days my 5.5 year old son started showing signs of HFMD.
    We didn’t know it at the time. Headache. Sore throat. Fever and malaise. And now the worst symptoms for him
    are the tiny red spots on his feet. They are soooo painful for him and it breaks my heart.
    When he first developed the initial symptoms we didn’t think overly much of it. Headache – ok allergies. Sore throat – ok part of the allergies. Fever and malaise – ? wasn’t sure, but he began to feel better and the fever went down. BUT the itchy red spots – the worst pain. During the first – major episode we put anti-itch (herbal) cream on, bc at that point there was only one red spot and we thought it was a bug bite. He eventually got distracted bc we were headed to the beach for a few hours. The second episode with many red spots – Nothing helped. The first thing I suggested though was rubbing garlic on the bottom of his feet. It seemed to help, if not distract him. I started doing more research as my husband was rubbing the garlic on his feet. We are at a relatives house, so herb-stuff is limited to regular household items. THEN, I remembered I had Young Living Hand Sanitizer, which has Clove Oil in it. So I rubbed that on his feet, which helped. My husband is on his way to the grocery now (at 11:30pm – we have to leave for Sea-Tac at 3am!) Anyway, he is going to pick up some coconut oil (of which I have at my own home, but not here). I hope this helps soothe his feet, for our cross country trip. The only other thing I thought to do was to cut up garlic and put in his socks at night to sleep. The garlic will then soak up through his skin. As soon as I get home though I am going to use Theives Essential Oil on the bottom of his feet, by Young Living Essential Oils. I have faith in that powerful blend of oils! Next time I shall not travel without it!!
    Again thank you so much for having this post!! Saving us and my son a bunch of pain and discomfort.
    http://www.youngliving.com/thieves-essential-oil/Thieves-Oil

    • says

      Poor little guy! It’s so miserable to be sick, especially away from home. I hope these remedies give him relief! It sound like you’ve got some good plans. The only thing I’d recommend is that you put a layer of coconut oil on his feet before putting raw garlic on them. The raw garlic against the skin could increase irritation, but a layer of oil acts as a buffer to protect the skin. Please do let us know how the theives oil works for him! :-)

  12. Kimberly says

    I was so glad to find this website, both my boys came down with it over the weekend my youngest son joshua doesnt seem to be to affected by my older son ezekiel has the sores in his mouth there is very little i can get him to drink he will drink the tea when he goes down for a nap and i have the elder berry in it. i tried making the broth i only had minced garlic and i didnt have sage im not sure if i didnt do it right but when he drank it he kept saying ow, im not sure if it really did or if he’s just used to saying it now.. any other suggestions for the mouth sores???

    • says

      When I had the chicken pox, I had such a bad case that they were even in my mouth and down my throat. I remember that even room-temperature water hurt, so I’m betting he will just be uncomfortable no matter what he’s drinking. You can try broth without garlic. It might help for him to swish salt water around in his mouth (use unprocessed salt, like Celtic sea salt) to mildly numb the pain. You don’t want to use anything too strong, because young children might choke on food or drinks if their mouths are really numb. Also, try to figure out what temperature is least painful for him. Warm, lukewarm, cool, cold? Cold broth might not sound good, but if that’s what he can drink, go for it. I hope he’s better soon! :-)

  13. sana says

    actually, i have a big pimple type something on my center finger, it is getting big… it is paining too much. in the bigning it was not so big and its color was adjust with my skin. but now it is become big and its color is yellow.. what should i do plz tell me… i hope you have understood… sorry, my english is not so good

  14. Charity says

    Hi!:)
    I found your info on natural remedies for HFMD and am so thankful! My 2 year old has somehow come in contact with it and is just breaking out with the sores all over her mouth, hands, feet and bottom. By any chance do you know if colloidal silver is something that would also help? I can get it locally at a natural pharmacy and was hoping it would lessen the redness and beginning healing the sores…some of them are breaking open and she sucks her fingers to soothe to sleep and I think that is increasing the disease around her mouth area. I would so appreciate any help! Thank you!!
    Charity

    • says

      Poor baby girl! Honestly, I haven’t tried it and couldn’t find anybody who had. I stick with herbs, so I don’t have any experience with colloidal silver. The calendula salve will help reduce redness and speed healing. Once she has the virus, nothing will really stop it from spreading. The best thing to do is get as much of the anti-viral herbs in and on her as possible. It *could* help reduce the redness if she will take fermented cod liver oil.
      I hope she recovers quickly!

  15. Sara says

    My 11 month old has seem to come down with a mild case of this from daycare…..From what she’s let me see, I don’t think there are any in her mouth, but a few on her face around the mouth, hands, and a few on the feet. They don’t seem to bother her terribly, but I don’t want them getting worse. I noticed you said calendula salve would help with the healing but all I can find at our Walgreens is Kiss My Face: Honey Calendula Ultra Moisturizer…… Will this do the same or do I need an actual salve? Young one are also supposed to stay away from honey for a while due to possible allergies…..is there something else you’d recommend that I could find at a Walgreens or CVS? Thanks!!!

  16. Karyn says

    Actually, the rash can be itchy. Very itchy. My boys just got over this and their feet itched like crazy. I have read a lot about this illness and it seems about half the websites will tell you that it does not itch, but the other half acknowledge that it does. I’m not sure why there is such a discrepancy, but I just thought I’d throw that out there.

  17. Linda says

    My 14 and 16 year old daughters brought this home from camp last week. They both had hfmd when they were young, but it was mostly contained to the severely painful mouth/throat blisters. This has been so much worse. First daughter had blisters on face and nose, feet, hands, and mouth and throat. She started healing after about five days. Second daughter has 15-25 in mouth, throat., nose, feet, knees, elbows, hands, and recently on her labia. She is in horrible pain and no pain relievers really seem to help. It is painful to urinate, sit, and walk. I’m going to have her soak and an oatmeal bath and add some coconut oil. I have tea tree balm and coconut oil, as well as some campanula salve. Any thoughts on what might ease her pain in her private parts? She is on fifth day. Poor thing!

    • says

      The poor girl! Well, since that is such a sensitive area, it makes it more difficult to use natural pain relief (things that numb, such as lavender essential oil or clove essential oil)… What about trying something like the postpartum herbal bath salts I used after my baby was born? The comfrey does have a numbing effect, but without stinging like the essential oils might. A comfrey salve made with coconut oil (it’s super quick and easy) might really help relieve the pain and speed healing, too. Here are the links:
      http://creativechristianmama.com/fun-things-friday-post-partum-herb-and-salt-bath/
      http://creativechristianmama.com/fun-things-friday-coconut-oil-salve/
      For the salve, just add comfrey, or even substitute it for the calendula. For the herbal bath salt, use what you have available as soon as you can, then go shopping or order what you need. The uvi ursi is not necessary, although it does help with inflammation.

      I hope that she recovers quickly! Let me know if you have any further questions. You can e-mail me directly at creativechristianmama at gmail dot com if needed. :-)

    • Anonymous says

      I know it’s already gone by now, but that sounds more like chicken pox. Did you ever find out for sure that it was HFMD?

  18. Chere says

    My 2 1/2 year old just woke up with a nasty case of HFMD this morning. He’s had it before and we just waited it out and he mostly jut ate frozen blue berries, peas, and waffles. This time I’m freaking out because I just had a baby 11 days ago. I’m praying she doesn’t catch it! I’m trying to keep them as seprate as possible but I’m pretty much by myself all day cause my husband is at work. My 2 yr old just wants me to snuggle him to make him feel better and my 11 day old wants to nurse every hour. I know that the time when he’s most contagious was for the past few days when he wasn’t showing any signs which worries me even more because he’s very affectionet towards me and his baby sister. Is there anything j can do to prevent the baby from getting it?

    • says

      First, congrats on your new baby! I’m sorry your little guy got sick at such a bad time. I’ve actually never heard of a baby this young getting HFMD, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Since you’re breastfeeding, your immune system is doing the work for her (which is great!), so the best thing you can do is keep nursing and boost your own immunity as much as you can. All of the remedies listed above should be just fine for you to do for yourself, except for the sage and possible the peppermint. Sage will reduce milk supply and peppermint *can* do the same thing, though not for all women. I’m guessing that your baby has already been thoroughly exposed, so I doubt that trying to keep them apart at this point would really help. A baby that young, though has some amazing protection from infection through your milk, which is good. You might even try expressing/pumping a little milk and dabbing it on your little boy’s rash. I would definitely do that for your baby if she develops symptoms. You might want to call your doctor just to see if he/she has any suggestions or things to watch for if your baby does get it, such as signs of dehydration if she isn’t nursing well. I’ll pray that she stays healthy and you all recover quickly! :-)

  19. Marcie says

    My 14 month old daughter I think has it! I noticed the rash on her bottom to start with. and then last night she had a fever of 103. she wasn’t eating and was miserable. overnight her fever went down but today I noticed more and more blisters. on her mouth, few on her feet and one on her hand. and then the fever came back! I know she is teething (getting her molars ) so at first I thought the fever was from that. but I am pretty convinced otherwise now. I am willing to try some of these ideas. thank you for posting! I am pregnant and I am hoping I don’t get it. and that I can help my little girl too!!

    • says

      Adults usually don’t get it, but since you are pregnant (congrats!!) your immune system is a bit lowered. That is a good thing for your baby, but it can make you a bit more susceptible to things. If you can make up a big batch of chicken broth, that would be good for both of you and it would be easy for her to drink if her mouth hurts. I hope she gets well quickly and that you stay healthy! :-)

  20. says

    So thankful I just found this article and your entire blog! My 26 month old daughter broke out with HFMD blisters today. I feel terrible for her. Brewing tea and making broth as soon as I publish this comment! Again, THANK YOU!

  21. says

    I am soooooooo glad I google searched natural remedies for HFMD!! My son was diagnosed today w/ HFMD & the doc wrote a scrip for a mouthwash of some sort. I’m leery of stuff like pharmaceuticals so I needed to find something less toxic. My son is just turned 2 and he only has sores in his mouth. I will do the tea or broth. Thank you so much! :)

  22. Beth says

    My 3 year old boy was recovering from a cold and ear infections and was on an antibiotic this past week. I took him to the doctor yesterday because he had a fever and was complaining his mouth hurt and pointing to the back of his throat. The doctor said he has a sinus infection, ear infections, and possible strep. He didn’t eat much yesterday and today we could barely get him to eat a thing. He just holds his mouth and cries. I have been Lysoling my house for the past few days/week he has been sick. I just called the doctor again this evening because he has tiny sores on the sides of his feet and his fingers. I wondered if it was Hand, Foot, and Mouth because it is going around like wildfire in our school system and I am a teacher. His babysitter’s kids were treated this week for strep so we at first thought that’s what he had. He has eczema and it was very severe on his bottom this week starting Thursday, when his fever started. I am hoping we are on the end of the virus and that he will start to recoup soon. I have a 7 1/2 month old that I am concerned is coming down with it. She has had a fever the past couple of days. I am still nursing, so I am hoping that she can avoid it. My husband is undergoing chemotherapy for Hodgkins Lymphoma so I have been cleaning like crazy in order to prevent him from getting it. What do I need to clean? I gave the toys a bleach bath, scrubbed door knobs, light switches, washed sheets, pillows, banister for the stairs, tv remotes, cell phones, iPad, etc. Do I need to worry about re-infection or anything? I am so worried my little one will get it, too. I am afraid she will end up in the hospital if she refuses to eat or drink like her brother is. I know it’s a lot of ranting, but suggestions for cleaning??? Help!

    • says

      I am so sorry that I missed your comment, Beth. I just saw it and will go ahead and answer, just in case you’re still needing information.

      First off, I am very sorry to hear about your husband’s illness. Considering his weakened immune system and the toxins contained in cleaners like bleach and lysol, I’d like to share a post I wrote that can help you remove toxins from your life. I have a link to a natural cleaner that will kill all germs you need to kill without adding toxins to your home. Also, there are links to avoiding toxins in food and personal care products (especially for babies, but your hubby really needs to avoid them, too!). This is the link, and you are welcome to e-mail me if you have any questions.

      As far as disinfecting your house and avoiding spreading the disease, I’d recommend the homemade cleaner in the post above, or a ready-made all-natural cleaner from the store. Look for one that uses essential oils. Tea tree oil and lemon oil are good things to look for in them. :-) I’d wipe down all commonly touched surfaces a couple of times a day (light switches, door knobs, remotes, computers, faucets, fridge door, etc.). You shouldn’t need to worry about reinfection for anybody that has had HFMD recently, but there seem to be several strains and immunity is very temporary. You little boy could easily bring home another strain of it later this winter. Just do your best. :-)

      For your baby girl, I pray that she isn’t sick, but if she is just nurse as often as she will cooperate! Your immune system will help her (through the milk), so don’t worry about giving her “extra” things. What you really need to watch for is dehydration, if she gets sick. The fever isn’t such a big deal, except that it could contribute to dehydration. Keep track of the soft spot on her head (if it dips in more than normal, call your doc for instructions) and swipe your finger along the inside of her lip (if it’s slick, she’s good, if it’s sticky and mostly dry, she needs more fluids).

      For your little boy, I hope he is tons better by now! If you’d like to learn about how we cured an ear infection without antibiotics, you can read this post. Also, I’d have him drink echinacea tea with raw honey if his throat is still sore. Echinacea kills the strep bacteria but it won’t damage his body like antibiotics. A spoonful of raw honey several times a day would be excellent, too.

      Please feel free to e-mail me directly if there is anything at all that I can do or message me on Facebook. My e-mail is creativechristianmama (at) gmail (dot) com

  23. Kara says

    My DH (dear husband) came down with a terrible fever, headache, malaise and then mouth blisters. I work in a daycare 2 of my 3 kids have been sick with one virus or another. But… I thought he had strep. So after spending over $215 this month (not to mention loss of work time) I just thought he had strep and started giving him anti-biotics, I just happened to have on hand from a previous bout with what turned out to be a virus. This was all pre-mouth blisters, I might add. Now its fully apparent that he must have HFMD, bc the mouth blisters and rash that is starting on the back of his hands and palms of hands and bottoms of feet.
    I already had him doing the “magic mouthwash”, and oil pulling with organic virgin coconut oil. Also have had him taking ganoderma spores, an excellent detox herb and collodial silver. Has anyone else used these to fight HFMD?

  24. Cristina says

    Thank you for posting this! My lil guy is suffering with this right now and I was at a loss on how to best help him. Grateful mama here.

  25. says

    I need help please. I’m 16 and I’ve had HFMD since Tuesday. (It’s Friday the day Im posting this.)This is the worst it has been and I’m far from a crier when it comes to pain and I’ve been crying because the pain is too harsh. I don’t know what to do!.

    • says

      I’m so sorry to hear that! Have you tried any of the remedies above? You might try putting some oatmeal in a tea ball or bag and making a strong oat “tea” out of it. You can use it either warm or cold (whichever is more soothing). Just saturate a cloth with it and hold it on the most painful areas. You could add calendula, too. Both are very soothing. If that doesn’t ease the pain enough, you might try putting a tablespoon of cloves in a heat-proof bowl and adding 1 cup of boiling water. Let it steep until cool enough to use and soak a cloth to hold on the worst places. Clove has a numbing effect and might help.

      I hope you feel better soon!
      Blessing

  26. Khursten says

    Can you use the coconut oil mixed in with tea or milk to soothe/treat the sores? Are those teas safe for an almost two year old? And, what part of the store do you usually find tea tree and lavender oil?

    • says

      Yes, the coconut oil can be ingested, if the child will drink it. :-) All the teas are safe for an almost-two-year-old. It depends on what kind of store. Just a regular grocery store probably won’t have it, but you could ask at the pharmacy. A health food store should have an essential oil section that they can show you. Hope your little one recovers quickly!!

  27. Laura says

    I don’t think anyone mentioned this, but I use a homeopathic called Borax. (DO NOT USE REAL BORAX!!!POISON!!) They are made from a company called Boiron, and found in just about any health store. Little blue vials. Tip upside down, turn the lid 4 or 5 times to disperse tiny “sugar” pellets (kids LOVE them and they disintegrate). Do not touch them but put directly in mouth. I usually do 6 doses the first and second day then 3 doses as they improve. IF this is started immediately, you are looking at 2-3 days like my nephew vs. 2 weeks like the other kids in his daycare. If you start it well into the blisters it still helps the healing time. Also homeopathic Virus drops work GREAT!!! Virus Combination by Deseret Biologicals is by far the best for this. Hope this helps.

  28. Mona says

    Hi there, I’ve had HFMD for about 3 weeks now( Im 29), Everyone at home got it but it only lasted for 1 to 2 weeks, I wasn’t the worst my sister had it even on her face. I only have it on my hands and its driving me crazy, what do you think will be my best option for this. I just found new little blisters yesterday, Im not getting any better. HELP!!!

    • says

      It sounds like your immune system isn’t working very well. Along with applying coconut oil, I’d recommend taking it internally and drinking lots of lemon balm tea to try to help your body fight off the virus (both are anti-viral). Also, try to avoid any processed food and added sugars (except for raw honey) until you are well. Eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods and drinking lots of homemade broth/stock will help your body to fight it off. Hope you feel better, soon!

      • Mona says

        Will try it…. it seemed like it was gone but now its back! this is frustrating!!!
        Thank you for your help! I’ll keep you posted!

  29. Ivan says

    Thank you, thank you! I am on day 4 of this painful journey and was so thankful to have found your blog. There is not much out there for support and my doctor didn’t have much advice. The coconut oil mixed with tea tree oil is wonderful, both on the lips and the hands. My poor lips look like a botox treatment gone bad. Ice chips were wonderful one night when nothing else could soothe the inside of my mouth. Everything you suggested has helped me make it through this with the knowledge that there is an end in sight. One other thing I did was wear gloves around the house, esp while cooking for my family. I hope it has helped, I would hate for one of them to go through this! Thanks again!!!

  30. Autumn says

    My son got Hand Foot and Mouth disease last year when he was about 1 1/2. Unfortunately this could have been my fault :( I am a Nutritional Therapist, and I use energy work with whole food supplements to treat my clients. About a week prior to my son breaking out, I had a whole family come in (mom and 6 kids) who had an outbreak. I must have brought it home to him! Anyways, I used Hyland’s brand Arnica to treat him and he cleared up within a matter of days. He also has a little friend he would play with, she also started to break out shortly after him. At the first sign we started treating her with the Arnica, and it stopped it immediatly! :)

  31. says

    Thanks for posting this. Our youngest two were sick with viruses and then both got a ‘rash’ on their faces around the mouth. I *think* it could be HFAM, and if it is then we’ve got a mild dose of it. Nothing on the hands or feet. Only my boy got any sores on his mouth. I appreciate all the comments. I decided to do a little research when I noticed the spots on both their faces.

  32. Nicole says

    Thanks so much for these amazing tips!! My 3 year old has 2 dots on his lips. And turns out his friend that came over a week ago now has full blown HFAM. So – my question is – is there anything I can do to stop HFAM progressing in my son?? I’m willing to try anything
    side not – I have a broken foot ( basically bedrest) and am a single mom so totally not ideal that my son becomes ill!
    Appreciate your response. Thank you!

  33. Karie says

    Thanks for this. It’s going around here and my son woke up from his nap with a fever and says his neck hurts (pointing to his throat) so I think we got it. Nursing my 6 month old and praying he is spared, and just told my 5 year old she has to wash her hands really good ALL the time. :-) Also doing the tea’s and broth. My hubby is headed out of town tomorrow for a week long conference and I was really hoping we could spend the week at the pool but looks like we’ll be finding something else to occupy our time. I’m going to run to the store tonight for a few items and hope I can find lemon balm oil somewhere. Thanks again!

  34. evelyn says

    My daughter just got this virus 2 days ago. What I used for the last 2 days was Arnica baths. It’s the best home remedy out there. It’s the second time I have used this herbal remedy and it dried my babys white bumps on her hand and feet in just 2 baths.It prevented the spreading of these white hurtful bumps. I was worried they would get worse but thanks to this herb Arnica it saved my baby a lot of pain. She did get sores inside her mouth but I would also get a cotton ball and clean her sores with Arnica. I recommend this over anything else. Stoped the bumps from multiplying and dried them in nst 2 uses. Works wonders.

  35. says

    I wouldn’t recommend garlic for this, I realize garlic is great, but I am having trouble swallowing plain tea, anything salty or the slightest bit spicy is a killer. The blisters in my mouth have burst in a couple of areas and any food contact is miserable.

    I also want to add that my hands and feet are itchy where the blisters are starting to form. Once they form fully the itching stops, but since I have literally hundreds of tiny blisters on my hands and feet the itching is pretty constant. I am LOSING MY MIND HERE over the itching and being housebound.

  36. says

    Thank you for sharing this! I am a mother of a two year old boy and I am worried he might get HFMD. His playmate has HFMD and I am just worried he’ll have it too. I am now aware of the symptoms to look out for and the things to do to cure it, thanks to you and your blog :)

  37. Libby smith says

    Glad I found these posts. My 15 month old is just greeting over HFAM I suspect he got it from kids at swimming lessons as he doesn’t attend daycare or anything. I started bathing him in Himalayan salt as my massage therapist suggested. Anyway I myself have been unwell for 2 weeks & have been very stressed & run down. I finished 2 courses of anti biopics & was well for one day then I started getting headaches & aching all over by night time I was chilled to the bone. Spent a night in hospital on fluids, meningitis was ruled out but was told I was severely dehydrated & had tonsillitis. Spent another full day in bed with my throat getting worse. The following day tiny blisters appear all over the palms of my hands & my feet are so sore I can hardly walk & also discover blisters in my mouth so I am putting it down to HFAM. Think my body is trying to tell me something. I am still breast feeding my 15 mo boy. He is well & truly on the mend. Tomorrow we are going to try salt therapy as my massage therapist has had a lot of children through there & had great success. I had no idea how painful & uncomfortable HFAM was, I now know & can now understand why my poor little man was so unsettled & off his food & was drinking booby properly. He has never been sick before & HFAM really brought him unstuck. Thanks for some of the tips shared on this blog.

  38. Veronica says

    Don’t bathe with your child! My little 15 mo girl was diagnosed with it and her throat was hurting. I thought I’d bathe with her and I the next day I got it on my hands. Then, I chalked it up to being w/her 24/7 and so took another bath. Now I’m showing signs/feeling symptoms on my feet. I’m worried about the pain b/c my hands are feel like pins and needles, are sometimes itchy, painful and feel swollen. I won’t even be able to floss tonight. Yeeouch! Now heat hurts my hands so cold water hand washes for me! Hopefully, the arnica and coconut oil will ease our HMF symptoms. Good luck to you too!

  39. Veronica says

    Honorable/Dishonorable mention: I had a scab fall off from a small fall I had and it was basically healed when I caught HFM. However, due to bath time, I think it penetrated the healed skin (that was still in the process of fully healing) and gave me 2 blisters underneath. Itchy and painful. Thought I’d mention it. However, I just tried the tea tree oil/coconut oil a few hours ago and I can use my hands again! Itchy w/more spots on day 3 but at least I can peel a clove of garlic now. I also took my first dose of Arnica and have switched to a no grain/dairy diet to see if this expedites HFM clearing up for me and baby. Wish us luck and Good luck to you too!

  40. Candice says

    Your article says that the rash is not itchy which is not correct. My 3 kids had HFMD last fall and my 4 year old has it again this fall and both times extremely itchy feet. Hands weren’t so bad. Mouth sores were extremely painful. The feet though were extremely itchy.

  41. Jack says

    Hi Justyn.

    I seem to have caught this from my kids, all three of them had it and they seem to have gotten better after 2 days. I got it, right after recovering from strep throat about 4 days ago. Symtoms in throat are surprisingly similar so I thought the strep came back even though I am still on antibiotics. (Yes, they sent a culture to confirm it was strep). The hand and foot blisters only started yesterday, but are minimal.

    After searching for treatments, and only finding references to kids and tylenol/advil (which 4 days later only took the edge off the pain, but didn’t really work so well) as well as a special mouthwash the dr gave me to numb the mouth (which also barely does much), I decided to look for natural treatments and found your blog. Most items I don’t have, so I decided to try what I do have, peppermint tea and ground cloves. I took about half a teaspoon of ground cloves and put it into the tea, which I’m drinking now for the first time. Within minutes of drinking/gargling, the discomfort in my mouth is ALMOST COMPLETELY GONE! Very impressive considering doctors couldn’t even begin to suggest anything.

    G-d willing, the hands won’t become a problem and will get better soon (although there are a few annoying blisters that have gotten bigger), but at least I have a quick fix for my throat now.

    Thank you!

  42. Maria says

    I will be praying for all of you!! My grandson got HFM last week, we were scheduled to go see family for Thanksgiving but had to cancel everything because of fear of contagious effect on all the children we would be gathering with. My heart goes out to all of you with children and parents. We did not get it yet! But I will tell you after a week, our grandson is a lot better but feet still has dead skin on feet. He brought Purell to school
    and uses it before snack, lunch and anytime food goes in his mouth. Horrible disease!
    Prayers are for healing. God bless you all. Happy Thanksgiving! First time in 40 years
    that we are not spending Thanksgiving with our families! There is light at the end of the rainbow, just takes time and alot of prayer!

    • says

      O god all I do is pray , my son just got on Sunday , fever is gone now and it’s Tuesday , but he have rash all over his body and blisters on his feet and hand and in his mouth .He is only 3 and I never hear my son screaming so bad like last night. I will try find some off the staff you all talking about.Thank you.

  43. says

    Hi,

    I am mother of a two year old daughter and I am really worry about my daughter. She is very active and naughty too. She had 1-2 injuries every week. Your home remedies is really useful in my case.

  44. says

    Great to know, good thinking on the broth. I’m growing elderberry here in Florida, however the tree hasn’t produced anything yet, so I guess I’ll have to order mine :-(

    I didn’t realized Rooibos is an antiviral.

    The other thing is the fever, my daughters got up to 104.5 last night, we dipped her into the tub, which helped, but calcium is good. Apple cider vinegar on the feet is good, allegedly.

    In any case, thank you for the nice post.

  45. Kimberly says

    Great information! However I ended up getting Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease as an adult and I can say it is VERY itchy. That is how I cam across this, I am looking for remedies. It is 6AM and I have yet to be to sleep because of the discomfort. The fact that it isn’t itchy is a misconception

    • Alison says

      Kimberly, my 9 year old son picked this up I’m guessing at the skating rink for a birthday party. He complains of the blisters being itchy as well. We are using colloidal silver and it kept the blisters from spreading. They never made it to his mouth, thank God!! You may want to give it a try.

    • Kylie says

      I got it a couple months ago from my one year old. It was awful! So itchy and miserable! I finally figured out I could sleep if I kept my arms above my head, so I lost feeling.
      I felt so bad my baby had it, but she didn’t seem nearly as miserable as I did.

  46. liz says

    I can’t use vinegar. The smell makes me very ill and the cat was peeing every place I used it ( rescue cat) but I found that you can use vodka, yep cheap stuff was great, spray it around, dunk stuff in it and wash stuff with it. I was using other harsher stuff after the vinegar wasn’t doing it for us. I would use vinegar first always a winner with cleaning.

  47. Ana says

    PLEASE HELP!!! My 8 month old is completely miserable. He is inconsolable at the moment and we r trying to comfort him as much as we possibly can. We got his fever down after it being 104 for 2 days straight. He is taking Tylenol and Motrin around the clock. Will barely drink and will not eat, has blisters all over him, and a rash on his entire body. This is day three day abd we have gone to the doctors twice and the ER once. We have been giving him the magic mouthwash (antacids and benadryl). But we r desperate for help to soothe him. Its almost impossible to get him to sleep and Stay asleep, and he is EXHAUSTED!!! I can not take hearing my baby cry for these long periods. (30 or more minutes) Please someone help recommend a home remedy that will be safe for his age (almost 8 months).

    – Ana, one desperate frightened worried young new mother

    • Denise says

      Ana, it is 9/7/14 and I just came across this site tonight. How is your little one? What treatments finally worked. Is he ok? So sorry he had to go through this. Bless his heart.

  48. Yorlenny says

    Sorry to hear about your baby Ana! We just read your post. Not sure if it’s too late, but what works is a cold towel to sooth large infected parts with bad itching. Might make the baby cry louder at first, but will help in the long run. We have a 6 year old who just had a breakout of this. However, our oldest (now 11) had this as an infant. For itchy spots, try putting ice on the itchy part to soothe/numb the pain. That has been working for us.

  49. Leah says

    All due respect…
    Both my sons got HFMD…and then **I** got it.

    Itching ulcers…YES!!!

    They are like HOT glass shards/porcupine prickers dipped in itching powder, lemon juice, and rubbing alcohol that CONSTANTLY itch!!!

    Of the places I got them on my face, feet, buttocks, and hands…the hands are THE WORSE!!!

    Had to clear that up. I keep seeing that they don’t itch and that is a sad, sad wish at this point on day 4!

  50. nikki says

    Hello! My children got hand foot and mouth from school. I used the coconut oil on their spots on their hands and feet and the next morning they were lighter red and less itchy. I’m making the broth now. Thank you for posting these! They’ve been a life saver!

  51. Joy says

    I think I have HFM, but the information on adults with HFM is very little, so I don’t know if it really is HFM. My children had HFM a few months ago and got over it really fast. Last week I was around my nieces who had it and a few days later I got a really bad sore throat and a bad sore in my mouth. I didn’t think it was anything then 2 days later I woke up extremely itchy. My entire body itches, but my hands and feet are the things that itch the most. And they get severely itchy when I am close to heat or if I get warm. Which makes cooking or even going outside with my kids very painful. I have to keep my house cold and wear light clothes, I also have to sleep with ice packs on my feet so they don’t itch all night and keep me awake.
    I haven’t had any blisters until yesterday ( day 4 of the itching ) I found 2 blisters on my feet. I have some blister like sores on my face, my scalp, knee, hips and buttocks.
    I’m just wondering if anyone else has felt completely itchy all over? Or if this is just something else that just so happens to be somewhat like HFM. I’m trying to not go insane over here.

    • Petra says

      My 2yr old has hmf and his first night, when the rash started to develop, his hands and feet were very itchy and the rash worsened very quickly. I took him to a&e where they gave him some antihistamine because it looked like he had 2 separate rashes, his hands and feet had a rash that looked like alot of pin pricks but outside the nappy lines were more raised, red and blotchy. The latter has got alot worse and he has varying degrees of rash nearly over his whole body. No one yet has told me if I can treat the worst, more blistery, parts of the rash that are painful for my little man. Can someone please help?

    • Misty says

      Joy, I am 38 year’s old and have been to the doctor with HFM. This is my third time having it. I don’t know why I keep getting it. I do have children but they are 18 and 15. I am a big hand washer. (Diagnosed OCD) I am in day two of HFM and haven’t gotten much sleep. The doctor told me that it was uncommon for adults to get it and that I more than likely will never get it again. I am hoping this will be my last time ever having it. I have never gotten it anywhere other than my feet, hands and mouth. I hope you’re doing much better now and that you never get this hateful virus again.
      P.S. This time I have been nauseated and had a headache. I didn’t the first two times.

      • says

        misty…
        i sure hope you don’t keep getting it like i do… i’m now 76 and i got it from a grandchild who was living with me back when i was in my mid-to-late-40s… on the good side, after an initial peeling on my palms, i’ve had only the gum and mouth sores… but it’s been recurring on and off ever since… from once to up to 3-4 times a year…

        my doctor back then recommended ‘vince mouth and gum powder’ which when used as a mouthwash daily either kept it from occurring, or helped heal them within a few days, if i didn’t use it daily… the bad news is that the product is no longer being made and i only have about one year’s supply left, after buying up all i could find available with much internet searching…

        when i didn’t catch it soon enough and use the mouthwash several times a day to keep a sore gum from getting worse, the infection would sometimes spread into an ear and up to an eye, for which i’d have to go on a 7-day course of amoxicillin or ampicillin…

        added to the major blow of no more vince, i’m still battling the latest bout… it’s going on 4 weeks now and i still have one pesky little blister on the inside of my lip that i can’t get rid of…

        i’ve been using white oak bark teabags for a poultice, which seemed to get rid of several bigger blisters down at gum level… or maybe it was starting to use salt water rinses and a course of doxycycline i switched to after the amox didn’t do any good…

        anyway, as ‘rare’ as chronic adult HFMD is supposed to be, someone has to be the exception and it seems i was one of the most unlucky ones of all, having been battling this torment for some 30 years…

        thanks for this site and all the suggestions!… i’m going to try rooibos next, to see if that works…

        love and hugs, maia

  52. Rachel says

    My 2yo son picked HFM up last week, had a fever, a few bumps here and there, and was over it. Then -I- got it. Bad. No fever or mouth ulcers, but bumps everywhere. Then I woke up to my hands covered in a rash of blisters, making it hard to do anything from the pain. Today more blisters are appearing on the other side of my hands, and my feet. This is supposed to last a WEEK? Ugh I can hardly function. :(

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