Early this summer, my youngest was miserable he had a fever, tossing and turning all night, crying and wanted to be held. It was so bad I had to call off work the next day. Well after the fever broke after about 48 hours while being maintained with Motrin. And lots of Breastfeeding. A rash developed in his diaper area. Could this be diaper rash? We use cloth diapers and are pretty serious about our wash routine and how long he stays in a diaper.
The next day, his already chubby cheeks seemed swollen red, and a little bumpy and now the rush has gone up his legs is on his arms feet hands. “Ok kid, what is this?” We headed straight to the pediatrician. Hand foot and mouth is what I am told my toddlers diagnosis is. I have never even heard of such a thing. When I googled for images, I couldn’t find any images of families that looked like mine to know what to expect with scarring or blisters or what this looks like over time. I call around, no one knows what this is.
I’ve seen many people mistake what I am now able to identify as HFMD, to be a diaper rash we will examine both so that you know the difference. First and foremost a fever is an indication that there is a virus or an irritation that is much deeper in the body than a skin irritation.
Diaper Rash Causes and Symptoms
Diaper rash can be traced to a number of sources, including:
• Irritation from stool and urine. Prolonged exposure to urine or stool can irritate a baby’s sensitive skin. Your baby may be more prone to diaper rash if he or she is experiencing frequent bowel movements or diarrhea because feces are more irritating than urine.
• Chafing or rubbing. Tightfitting diapers or clothing that rubs against the skin can lead to a rash.
• Irritation from a new product. Your baby’s skin may react to baby wipes, a new brand of disposable diapers, or a detergent, bleach or fabric softener used to launder cloth diapers. Other substances that can add to the problem include ingredients found in some baby lotions, powders and oils.
• Bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection. What begins as a simple skin infection may spread to the surrounding region. The area covered by a diaper — buttocks, thighs and genitals — is especially vulnerable because it’s warm and moist, making a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. These rashes can be found within the creases of the skin, and there may be red dots scattered around the creases.
• Introduction of new foods. As babies start to eat solid foods, the content of their stool changes. This increases the likelihood of diaper rash. Changes in your baby’s diet can also increase the frequency of stools, which can lead to diaper rash. If your baby is breast-fed, he or she may develop diaper rash in response to something the mother has eaten.
• Sensitive skin. Babies with skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis (eczema), may be more likely to develop diaper rash. However, the irritated skin of atopic dermatitis and eczema primarily affects areas other than the diaper area.
• Use of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria — the good kinds as well as the bad. When a baby takes antibiotics, bacteria that keep yeast growth in check may be depleted, resulting in diaper rash due to yeast infection. Antibiotic use also increases the risk of diarrhea. Breast-fed babies whose mothers take antibiotics are also at increased risk of diaper rash.
The best way to prevent diaper rash is to keep the diaper area clean and dry. A few simple strategies can help decrease the likelihood of diaper rash developing on your baby’s skin.
• Change diapers often. Remove wet or dirty diapers promptly. If your child is in child care, ask staff members to do the same.
• Rinse your baby’s bottom with warm water as part of each diaper change. You can use a sink, tub or water bottle for this purpose. Moist washcloths, cotton balls and baby wipes can aid in cleaning the skin, but be gentle. Don’t use wipes with alcohol or fragrance. If you wish to use soap, select a mild, fragrance-free.
Diaper Rash can be identified by the following:
• Skin signs. Diaper rash is marked by red, tender-looking skin in the diaper region — buttocks, thighs and genitals.
• Changes in your baby’s disposition. You may notice your baby seems more uncomfortable than usual, especially during diaper changes. A baby with a diaper rash often fusses or cries when the diaper area is washed or touched.
**Have your child examined if the rash:
• Is severe or unusual
• Gets worse despite home treatment
• Bleeds, itches or oozes
• Causes burning or pain with urination or a bowel movement
• Is accompanied by a fever
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral infection common in young children — is characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is most commonly caused by a coxsackievirus.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease may cause all of the following signs and symptoms or just some of them. They include:
• Sore throat
• Feeling of being unwell (malaise)
• Painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks
• A red rash, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles and sometimes the buttocks
• Irritability in infants and toddlers
• Loss of appetite
A fever is often the first sign of hand-foot-and-mouth disease, followed by a sore throat and sometimes a poor appetite and malaise.
One or two days after the fever begins, painful sores may develop in the front of the mouth or throat. A rash on the hands and feet and possibly on the buttocks can follow within one or two days.
Sores that develop in the back of the mouth and throat may suggest that your child is infected with a related viral illness called herpangina. Other distinguishing features of herpangina include a sudden high fever and in some instances, seizure.
The illness spreads by person-to-person contact with an infected person’s:
• Nasal secretions or throat discharge
• Fluid from blisters
• Respiratory droplets sprayed into the air after a cough or sneeze.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is most common in children in child care settings because of frequent diaper changes and potty training, and because little children often put their hands in their mouths.
The most common complication of hand-foot-and-mouth disease is dehydration. Cool frequent liquids are recommended and of course breastmilk.
Skin peeling, fingernail and toenail loss have been reported, occurring mostly in children within a few weeks after having hand, foot, and mouth disease.
All three of my children have experienced all the listed symptoms and are now in the finger nail and toe nail loss stage. This is temporary the nails grow back.
Let’s just say be careful it’s recently reported that fall and end of summer are peak season for HFMD in the United States.
If you would like to see Images of what this looks like