Five Home Remedies To Fight Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Kevin’s spring break was extended a couple days when the boys caught Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease at Easter. It’s something I had never heard of, and I don’t like to Google images of babies being sick. It’s heartbreaking and I usually stumble on the most extreme cases that I don’t have the stomach to view.

“Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease {HFMD} is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth (herpangina), and a skin rash.” –Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website.

On different days, both boys came down with a 101 degree fever, showed signs of malaise, and spent the day in bed {on the couch}. Then their fevers broke & they were in better spirits, but the rash started in a day or two. In Damian, it was on his mouth, diaper area, & calves. Blisters appeared on his hands & feet too. It has taken about a solid week to see his blisters & rash go away. We didn’t think to separate the boys since we had hoped that Kevin was old enough to not get it & he was exposed to it at the same time as Damian but didn’t get sick. A few days after it started for Damian, Kevin had the same fever. It seemed his body fought it better & he only had a small rash on his hands. They resemble hives since they didn’t blister like Damian’s. Both boys were fortunate to not get them in their mouths, I hear that causes a lot more drooling {one of the main ways it is spread is through saliva} & pain when they eat {causing dehydration in some cases}.

I wanted to share some things to do to help soothe & calm them naturally, since there is nothing doctors can prescribe that will fight the virus. Everyone says HFMD is one of those things that needs to run its course {5-10 days}, but there were definitely some home remedies that helped make my children more comfortable.

Virgin Coconut Oil can be found in the vitamin section of most large grocery stores and looks like vegetable shortening. A little spoonful in bathwater helped keep Damian’s skin creamy & soft without applying lotions that could irritate his rash & blisters. Some say it is antiviral too.
It’s an ingredient in my organic shampoo & I plan to use it on my skin too!

Homemade Soup. I used as many fresh herbs as I could find {rosemary, thyme, & sage} and also added garlic to chicken broth with a small can of cream of chicken. I pureed some carrots & let it cook on medium heat until the carrot was nice & soft. Damian ate this really well & it was so encouraging to see him get some food & nourishment during his rough days. Kevin, on the hand, runs in the other direction from carrots! I was thankful his body fought most of it off naturally!

The boys loved pudding, yogurt, & popsicles. Definitely a delicious way to get some nutrients.

Most of the reading material on HFMD says to avoid citrus juices or anything that would irritate sores in the mouth.
PediaSure chocolate milk was something Damian drank when he couldn’t eat.

I couldn’t choose a photograph so this one has two 🙂
Damian {pictured} was pretty quiet for several days. I was a human pillow as we did lots of extra cuddling, I let him sleep with me at night, & he played with my iPhone A LOT. Anything I could do to distract him helped us buy time until his body started to recover. We also let him take long baths {with added Coconut Oil}. Just before the tide turned, his brother Kevin walked into the bathroom & started blowing bubbles from Easter at Damian in the tub. My first instinct was to remind Kevin that we don’t play with bubbles in the house. Then one look at Damian’s face brightening & I told him to keep doing it & grabbed my camera.
We had a REAL bubble bath.
And there were many smiles instead of tears.

Now we are just about in the clear & I expect Kevin to go back to school in the morning. After the fevers, the hardest challenge was being quarantined in the house so we didn’t spread it. Rocky was only home a couple days before he had to leave for another trip, so I’ve been having lots of “quality time” with these boys of mine.
I’m excited to celebrate their recovery with some ice cream soon. With sprinkles of course. ♥

Do you have any useful home remedies or tips to add?

My favorite article {that I found on Pinterest} & resource for most of these recommendations is Natural Remedies for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease by Justyn at Modern Alternative Mama

Images & Design © Andrea Dozier 2012

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  • Tiffany grimes - April 17, 2012 - 6:51 pm

    I loved reading this!!! Cayleb has already had this, and I wished I would have known about the coconut oil back then. I’ll definitely remember that for any future children!! Very helpful 🙂

  • Justyn - April 17, 2012 - 8:45 pm

    Thank you so much for referencing my guest post on Modern Alternative Mama! I’m so glad to hear that some of my ideas helped to make things a little more bearable for your little guys. And I’ve gotta say, that picture of Damian reaching up towards the bubbles has got to be one of the cutest bath-time pictures I’ve ever seen! 🙂

  • Brenda Snider - April 19, 2012 - 5:44 am

    How creative and imaginative! Your positiveness shined through right away. And what a wonderful mother you are to care for your children as you did. Your photos are truly beautiful! Bless you during your recovery days with those sweet boys!

    Brenda Snider

  • katie's pencil box - April 20, 2012 - 3:54 am

    oh you poor things!
    i’m so happy to hear things are on the up and up! these pictures and remedies are perfection! i’m definitely going to try the virgin coconut oil and bubbles in the bath for myself..haha.


  • Andrea - April 21, 2012 - 7:37 am

    Tiffany, so sorry he had that! It’s not fun, but glad he’s better!

    Justyn, I was so happy to find your post! It was like a breath of fresh air after just reading all the bad news about the virus! Thank you for posting it!

    Brenda, thank you for your encouragement! Even though it’s hard to see them that way, we had some very special moments with so much cuddling together.

    Katie, haha! I didn’t think of adding the bubbles too! It would make for an adorable shoot {not to sound creepy lol}… bubbles are just magic. We’ll have to meet in real life someday 😉

  • Kerry - May 1, 2012 - 6:31 am

    Thanks for this post, Andrea. My kids have HFMD right now :/ They’re being tough. I think it looks worse than it feels. Glad to have some home remedy ideas.

  • Andrea - May 1, 2012 - 8:23 am

    Kerry, sorry to hear that! It sounds like it is going all around lately, hopefully it clears up soon for Jack & Fable!

  • Crystal - May 26, 2012 - 3:34 pm

    Thank you for this, I have 3 out of 4 kiddos down with it now. I have been desperately searching for something to offer them some relief besides benedryl and ibuprofen (recommended by pediatrician.) One thing I have been doing is simmering vinegar on the stove to “purify” the air, especially since it is spread by nasal and throat secretions (and of course the blisters but those aren’t necessarily in the air.) I will be giving the kiddos a coconut bath now, and of course sanitizing every possible surface with vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Thanks again

  • Natalia - October 3, 2012 - 11:45 pm

    My daughter has just been diagnosed so I did a search to see what home recipes there are out there and your website came up. Our doctor said no meat, vegetables or dairy which is everything in your soup you recommend. Do you recommend otherwise?

  • Sophia - October 5, 2012 - 10:33 am

    Thanks for the tips! My 15 month old is loving the soup and will be enjoying a coconut oil bath shortly.

  • Michelle - November 14, 2012 - 5:29 pm

    Both my kids are sick, aged 3 yrs and 8 months. So grateful for this post and natural remedy post!!! Thank you!!!

  • Kelly McG - January 23, 2013 - 10:56 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I just discovered that my girls (age 4&6) have HFM. I am going to try the coconut oil bath tomorrow.

    Thanks again!

  • Rhonda Colson - April 14, 2013 - 8:56 am

    I am 61 years old and started out having Strep Throat. About 2 to3 days later I broke out with a vengeance. I have been battling this at home for over 10 days. I can’ t get rid of this awful rash and headache. I am taking meds that will help with the discomfort. Have any other adults had this problem?

  • Erika Tracy - May 5, 2013 - 11:04 am

    Thank you for this wonderful post and beautiful pictures. It was a joyful find in a time of need and a priceless alternative to the yucky hfm bump photos. Thanks for sharing.

  • Easy E's Mommy - May 17, 2013 - 6:57 am

    Thank you so much for these great tips! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post about the HFMD! I am a working mother and unfortunately my son is forced to attend daycare as we don’t have available family nearby. He contracted HFMD there. I took him to the doctor as soon as we saw the first little blisters and the doctor was very vague and gave me no diagnosis. I got a call from a friend who’s child attends the same daycare facility and her son had the same symptoms. Her Doctor diagnosed him with the disease. I called the daycare and they said they knew that there had been an outbreak they just didn’t feel like it be a matter to call the parents to inform. So here we are this morning with HFMD and I am certain because it is exactly like you and my friend say. First the fever (his started 101) and then 2 days later the blisters.


  • Lesley - May 25, 2013 - 6:41 pm

    i love all of these remedies so much! i came across this entry while doing a search for homeopathic treatments for HFMD, as my 16 month old son has it right now. we are about 3 days in, so i’m so happy to find your suggestions! we have been feeding him frozen blueberries, and he just gobbles them down. but i love your coconut oil idea, and the pediasure. thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Steph - May 27, 2013 - 2:09 pm

    Thanks for this! My 2yr old (25months) has this now and isn’t sleeping! His feet are quite itchy even though there’s no blisters/rash there. So ill be giving him a coconut oil bath before his nap today! And he’s also playing on the iPad to keep him distracted! I’ll make the soup; provided he lets me leave him for a few minutes!

  • Teresa - September 8, 2013 - 5:49 am

    Thanks for posting this. I’m not sure what to do about the mouth blisters. My daughter won’t eat soup or anything. She does not want to eat anything. I am keeping her hydrated but I was wondering if anyone had their kiddos gargle with anything to get rid of the sores?

  • Laurel - September 9, 2013 - 1:10 pm

    Teresa- Try “magic mouth wash”! Equal parts Benadryl and Milk of Magnesia. Swish and spit, and avoid drinking anything for 10 minutes after. It’s been a LIFESAVER along with the coconut oil for my 2.5 yo who is battling it now.

  • Lindsey - October 10, 2013 - 7:10 am

    My 13 month old has this right now, He has the sores around the outside of his mouth, and a horrible, horrible rash/sores on his bottom/diaper area.. the blisters seem to be breaking open, I dont know if the butt paste is helping or hurting the issue.. anyone know?

  • Elissa - October 26, 2013 - 3:45 am

    This is a lovely blog/post. Thank you for making me feel more positive about coping with our little one’s pain. He just at the beginning of this infection and hoping he won’t be too bad… poor things, babies/toddlers really do have to go through rotten times! I guess we made it through them and just have to help them do it, too.

  • Dulce - December 20, 2013 - 2:55 pm

    Yay!! FINALLY, some kind of light in this torturing tunnel…my 22month and now my 6month babies have it and I wanted to help them with the itching. Now to make soup for the kiddos… Thank you for sharring!

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