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Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a contagious viral disease that affects children under the age of ten. It is caused by the coxsackievirus. The virus spreads through contact with unwashed hands, surfaces contaminated with faeces, an infected person’s stool or respiratory fluids. The symptoms of this disease include fever, sore throat, tiredness, painful ulcers, sores on the inside of the mouth and tongue, and blisters or rashes on the hands, feet, buttocks, elbows, and on the back of the knees. This disease is self-limiting and goes away on its own within a week to ten days. It cannot be prevented by a vaccine or cured with medication. However, there are some home remedies that can help your child tackle the symptoms of this disease. Once your child heals, the chances of him contracting this disease will be rare, as his body will have developed immunity against this virus.
Natural Home Remedies to Treat Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in a Child
Some home remedies to treat hand, foot, and mouth Disease are mentioned below:
1. Tender Coconut Water
Coconut water cools the body and is gentle on the stomach. It contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and antioxidants. It also contains lauric acid which fights viruses. Giving coconut water to a child with HFMD can provide him relief from the pain in his mouth and keep his body hydrated. You can also freeze coconut water and have your child chew on the frozen cubes to reduce the pain caused by mouth sores.
2. Oil Pulling
This is an old Ayurvedic method for maintaining good oral hygiene. It also helps soothe the mouth sores caused by HFMD. Take a tablespoon of any oil such as peanut, sesame or coconut, and ask your child to swish it around in his mouth for 5 to 10 minutes and then spit it out. Make sure that he does not swallow the oil after swishing.
3. Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil contains Vitamins A, D, and E. It boosts body immunity and has antimicrobial properties. It is a good remedy for HFMD. It can be given to a child in the form of capsules or by mixing the oil in a juice or yoghurt.
Echinacea is a herb that belongs to the daisy family. It has antimicrobial properties. This herb boosts the immune system and reduces the symptoms of fever, cold, and other infections like HFMD. Echinacea can be consumed in the form of capsules or by boiling its leaves in water to make a tea and adding honey to it.
5. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is a very good disinfectant and fights viruses. It also has calming and relaxing properties and can help your child sleep better. You can add a few drops of lavender oil in the bath water of your child or diffuse it in his room with an essential oil diffuser.
6. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil is another disinfectant. You can add a few drops of this oil to your child’s body wash to help him fight the virus and nourish his skin. You can also mix a few drops in a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil and apply it on the rashes.
7. Liquorice Root
Liquorice root has antiviral properties and has been used as a home remedy for treating various viral infections. It contains a chemical called triterpenoid that boosts immunity. It also forms a thin layer of mucous on the insides of the throat and oesophagus, thus helping to soothe blisters. Boil some liquorice roots in water, strain it to make tea and add honey to it, then give it to your child. However, use it with caution as an overdose of liquorice can be harmful to him.
8. Salt Water Rinse and Baths
Ask your child to rinse his mouth with warm salt water three to four times a day, as it will provide him relief from painful blisters and mouth sores. You can use common table salt for this or Himalayan pink salt. Pink salt is more effective because it balances the pH level inside the mouth. Also, adding Epsom salts to his bath water can soothe the rashes on the body and help a child heal faster from the HFMD symptoms. You can also add a few drops of lavender or lemon essential oil to the Epsom salt bath water which can provide your child some relief.
Garlic has strong antimicrobial properties as it contains high levels of sulphur compounds. You can include garlic in your food, give it to your child in the form of capsules, or make a herbal tea by boiling 3 cloves of garlic in water and let him drink it once it cools.
Elderberry is well known for its antioxidant properties that boost immunity and help improve resistance to diseases. It helps the body produce mucous to fight viruses. It increases the body’s temperature slightly, thus making it difficult for viruses to multiply and grow. Make an elderberry and honey syrup and give it to your little one frequently to help him heal faster from HFMD.
Ginger contains several antiviral chemicals. It also has sedative and pain-relieving effects. Make ginger root tea by simmering crushed, chopped ginger in water until the water is concentrated with ginger juice. Cool this and give it to your child with honey.
Astralagus is a plant of the legume family and has been used as traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. It is known for its immune-system-boosting properties. It stops viruses from multiplying in the body. You can buy astralagus ointments for topical application. You can also buy astralagus tea bags or make your own by simmering a teaspoon of grated astralagus root in water. Strain this and give this drink to your child after adding honey to soothe the symptoms of HFMD.
13. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has antiviral properties. You can apply coconut oil to the parts of your child’s skin where he has rashes or blisters, and soon, they will disappear.
14. Indian Lilac or Neem
Neem or Indian Lilac has several antimicrobial properties and has been used to treat viral diseases for hundreds of years. You can apply neem oil to the rashes on your child’s body. You can also powder dried neem leaves and make a paste of it with water. Apply this paste to the rashes and blisters for quick healing. You can even use neem oil combined with coconut oil and a few drops of lavender oil for topical application.
The Indian gooseberry or amla is rich in Vitamin C, an important vitamin necessary for immunity. It helps purify the blood and aids in digestion. Amla can be consumed in the form of juice. You can even give it to your child by making a powder from dried gooseberries and adding it to water.
Pomegranate contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which help soothe the symptoms of HFMD. Let your child drink pomegranate juice or eat the fleshy seeds for quicker healing.
17. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains Vitamins B and C. It also contains a chemical called inulin which increases the white blood cell (WBC) count. WBCs help fight viruses in our body. Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in warm water and ask your child to gargle with it to soothe his throat.
Calendula is a herb belonging to the marigold family. These plants have antibacterial and antiviral properties. They also lower inflammation, quicken healing, and help maintain oral health. You can make tea from calendula petals, add honey to it, and give it to your child. You can also use calendula cream to apply over the rashes to soothe them.
19. Holy Basil or Tulsi
Tulsi is a herb that has several medicinal properties. It fights harmful microbes, reduces inflammation, and provides relief from pain. Let your child chew on tulsi leaves, or make a juice of the leaves, dilute it with water, and ask him to drink it a few times a day for faster relief from HFMD.
20. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has antimicrobial properties. It also increases immunity. Aloe vera contains minerals, vitamins, and several other compounds that are beneficial for the skin. Apply aloe vera gel to the rashes and blisters for soothing relief. You can even give aloe vera juice to your kid to help him heal faster from HFMD.
How to Prevent Catching Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Practising good hygiene goes a long way in keeping diseases at baby, and it’s the strongest defence your child can have against this disease too. Make sure your child washes his hands regularly and thoroughly with an antibacterial soap, especially after he comes into contact with surfaces that can have germs on them. Your child should wash his hands before and after every meal, after playing outside, and mainly after using the washroom. It’s also equally important to keep your surroundings clean. Disinfect any area that your child regularly uses, especially if it’s a shared space. Similarly, make sure things like toys or pacifiers (things that your child can put into his mouth) are definitely cleaned and disinfected.
The symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease can make children very uncomfortable and irritable. The rashes and blisters can be very painful for the little ones. So, try these home remedies to soothe the symptoms and make your child as comfortable as possible.