*Please keep in mind that I am *not* a medical professional of any kind, and that you should of course check with your child's pediatrician if you feel that your child would benefit from such.*
- First off, it's a virus, so meds won't really help. There's no antibiotic or anything that will make it go away quicker. It's got to run its course.
- We haven't found that calamine lotion or benadryl helps much with the blisters either, but sometimes tylenol or motrin does seem to make them feel more comfortable. Also helps with bringing the fever down if they have one. It seems like about half the kids I see with it have fevers, and the other half either don't at all, or it's very mild. Conflicting and frustrating.
- It's terribly contagious, and we've been told that the contagion lingers for up to five days after blisters appear. This can be super hard to judge because if they get the sores first inside their mouth, sometimes you don't see it right away and have NO idea they're contagious, and they run around sharing it with all their friends. Also, sometimes the blisters are mild and you think it's not coxsackie, but really it is and they're contagious for four days or so AFTER you think they're better. This can make it very hard to shake it off because if multiple kids are at different stages with it, it just hangs out and makes itself at home. It also has an incubation period of 3-6 days, so sometimes they were exposed almost a week ago and can pass it along before symptoms pop up.
- It's contagious through bodily fluids and also airborne. Good times. And it's allergy season so many of them have runny noses anyhow.
The good news is:
- it doesn't seem to be terribly bothersome to the kids unless they have a really severe case and feel itchy.
- we have good handwashing and sanitizing habits as a rule anyway, and are doing extra spraying and cleaning just as an added preventative this week
- just because some kids who come here have it, that doesn't mean your child is bound to get it. It's a fickle virus that flits around and doesn't land everywhere. Please don't panic- if your child seems clear, they probably are. We just want to educate you here, not make you feel fearful. :) I remember once when it turned up about two and a half years ago, only one child caught it. Then six months later she caught it again and was still the only one. Viruses are weird and unpredictable. It's nothing you're doing or that we're doing- knowledge and prevention are our best tools but aren't always perfect!
The bad news is:
- it can be very hard for us to get rid of it here if you come back to school before it's gone. I know it's terribly inconvenient to take time off work or have to make other arrangements for multiple days, but we really can't have them back at school until they're no longer contagious. This is where going to the doctor may be helpful. Although it is a virus and you probably won't be given medication, they will have more expert knowledge on what stage the virus is likely in and can probably give you a better date on returning to school than we can. We're practiced in dealing with it but we're not doctors. If you choose not to take your child to the doctor but you're pretty sure it's coxsackie, please observe the "five days of contagion after spots" plan because that is what we've most frequently been told.
We are doing our best to help keep your babies healthy! :) Thank you.