Diary of a mum with HFMD

Some of you may know that both JJ and I were down with HFMD over the past 2 weeks…We’re both alive and well now. Having gone through 10 days of pain, I think I can better empathise with any child going through HFMD. If it’s already so difficult to endure as an adult, what more a young child?

I also know how I’ve taken for granted the little everyday things like enjoying a meal, and talking normally (not like a lisping snail). This thing we call health. We only miss it when we lose it, isn’t it?

Here’s an account of my HFMD days…and some lessons that I learnt from it.


Day 01:

  • Feverish and worried. Oh no could this really be it? Fever persists through the day. I take panadol and rest. First signs of a sore throat.

JJ’s HFMD is at day 04 (counting from the day that his fever started) and crankiness and pain is at its peak. He’s been rejecting milk, and only eating oats, drinking honey, diluted juice, and the fruit juice popsicles I made for him.

Day 02:

  • As the day went by, the fever subsided. By evening, red spots have started to appear on my finger tips. Suspicions confirmed. Oh no…

Little boy is taking some small meals now, consisting mainly of porridge or soupy stuff. He can’t take his usual fruits because they tend to sting the ulcers.

Day 03:

  • Throat is “pain pain” today. I see the doctor and am given 10 days MC, and medication for relief of inflammation, swelling and pain (all for the throat).
  • Am told I am now a statistic because it’s rare for adults to catch HFMD. Mainly because we tend to be exposed to the virus before and also because it’s mostly spread child-to-child (as adults know how to keep their “healthy” distance). Obviously I failed somewhere along the way.
  • Some itchy spots on arms and legs (could be hives?).
  • Also experience tingly sensation on the blisters on my hands, making simple chores like hanging clothes out to dry a sometimes painful task when the wrong “button” is pressed.
  • I go to bed with painful soles, like someone just rubbed chilli padi on them. I say a prayer and feel like crying.

JJ has started to take some strawberries, which is a good sign of the healing progress because the acidity of strawberries would have caused the ulcers to flare.

Day 04:

  • Woke at 5.30am feeling like my throat was on fire. Self-medicated with a teaspoon of Manuka and a drop of thieves essential oil, and tried to fall back to sleep.
  • I rest more while daddy entertains the kids. We all miss church today.
  • Meals consist of pork/fish porridge, cooked/bought. I can’t eat/drink anything hot because my throat is still on fire. Swallowing is a chore and I’m craving for a Magnum.
  • Because the blisters on the feet are more painful now, I try to minimise the amount of time I spend with only one foot on the ground, so as to reduce the pressure on the sores. I look a bit like a penguin with her underpants on fire.
  • Was teary all evening because the throat was so painful. I asked daddy and the kids to pray again, and after an hour or so, the pain went away. I realised it could be ulcers in the throat, because of the high intensity pain that comes and goes throughout the day.
  • The Magnum was a BIG mistake. I thought it would numb the pain but Nooo, the milk content stung the ulcers instead. I almost passed out on my dining table. (I found out separately from the doctor that it’s not always the case that ice-cream helps. At first contact, it always stings, and as it works to numb the sores, it starts to feel better. At the end of it, there could also be a “rebound pain.” )

Little boy’s better since yesterday (day 06 for him) and less episodes of “pain-pain” cries. But we still have our hands full because he can’t fully communicate what he wants. And when that happens, he really loses it…

Day 05: 

  • Woke up to a brand new day with the same ol’ pain. I wish this stupid virus would self-destruct and die.
  • I gargle my mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash, in a bid to avoid further ulcers from developing. I also down Manuka honey, avoid food and drinks that are too hot, and fruits / juices / milk because these can really sting.
  • The ipoh horfun (with less sauce) seems to work, some stings here and there but bearable.
  • When night came, my throat started to hurt really badly again. I couldn’t eat what my mum cooked, not even just rice and soup, so hubby made some cold soba for supper. I tried to down them as best I could. *gulp*

On the bright side, JJ is completely well, and happy as a lark on his day 07. Seeing him happy makes me feel a little better…There is hope.

Day 06:

  • I start the day jumping off my bed and onto my computer because of some urgent work. (Well at least, I didn’t start my day thinking about the pain.)
  • I swallow soft boiled eggs for breakfast, with some wincing and flinching. Plus some fish ball kuey teow. And then some fish mee sua for lunch. As you can see, this virus has taken away my joy of eating but it has done nothing to curb my appetite. (Which is like a double whammy if you really think about it.)
  • Hubby came home early to spend some time with me, even though there really wasn’t much he could do except for pray and make me honey drinks. When the pain got worse and I was lying in bed, he was there right beside me, just keeping me company. Days like these, I wonder what I would do without him…

Day 07:

  • Woke up to pain, again. I make a doctor’s appointment to see what exactly is going on, since I thought I would at least be feeling better by now. I find out that the ulcers were located at the base of my throat, right where the swallowing action takes place, and that is the reason for my pain.
  • The good news? That this too shall pass.
  • The bad? That there’s nothing I can do to ease the pain, except pop painkillers.
  • I learnt today the most comfortable food is still kuey teow soup or mee sua. A little warm is okay, just not too hot. I even managed to sip down some teh-si today. I asked for less hot, and let it sit while I read a book. Oh bliss…
  • I also did some work and some writing. It helps to keep my mind off things.

Day 08:

  • Good morning, pain. Go away already. I’m tired of seeing you here! (Okay, somehow that made me feel better.)
  • My stomach’s rumbling. I’ve been surviving on so little food, I’m probably losing weight. I guess that’s the good part.
  • I’m starting to feel nauseous, not sure if it’s due to the swallowing of saliva and air. I just can’t wait for all this to be over.
  • Terribly bored at home and distracting myself with a good book, and have had some quiet moments through the day. I can’t be grateful enough to mum and godmother for being around to help with the kids…

Day 09:

  • The pain is noticeably less, but nonetheless still there.
  • Found out that almond milk actually does not cause ANY pain. Oh jubilee! (My friend bought almond powder for me a few weeks back and now it’s come in handy. Suitable for all ages, and apparently quite nutritious too.)
  • At the end of the day, I realise that I no longer need the painkillers, and the peak of the pain has lost its blunt edge. Looking forward to a turnaround, finally!

Day 10:

  • I wake up feeling pretty much close to normal, barring the existence of an ulcer on my tongue.
  • I feel like popping champagne, and stuffing chocolate cake down my throat. Instead we head over to a nearby park and have a picnic with the kids.
  • I’m actually tucking into my meals for the first time in 10 days. The residual ulcer on my tongue feels stingy at times, but nothing like the pain from the past few days. I’m so glad this is over. So, so glad…


Sometimes when illness or calamity strikes, it’s easy to get angry and lash out at others or God, and ask, “Why? Why?” Though it feels like God is silent amidst the pain, the faith that is in you tells you otherwise — that He is indeed very present and also by your side.

Then I came across this poem, and it helped me to see something new:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked God for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do the better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all men most richly blessed.

~ author unknown ~

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  1. says

    Oh June I’m so glad that you are feeling better! I pray that I/the kids don’t get this! I don’t want to think about how I will cope/not be able to cope with the two of them, and me not being able to do anything!!! Take care.
    Adora recently posted..The Age of UghMy Profile

    • Katie1234567 says

      Dear June, i am going through the same thing…. i am hoping to recover very soon… i am missing alot of school now… im on day 2 at midnight and havent slept… i am only 12

  2. says

    Glad to hear that u are ok now June. I was also another statistic in 2010 when i got HFMD, and I used to think that adults didn’t get it. It was really strange, cos I was the only one at home to have it. Kyle seems to have developed an immunity towards it at that point.

    Can understand how bad it was for u. I had blisters all over the soles of my feet and palms with a perpetual tingling sensation during that period when I had it. No ulcers though, but I had cramps all over my hands and feet which made holding anything almost impossible and I could not walk properly (without holding on to the wall) for days. It was only when my hb got me some Lingzhi pills which helped the blood circulation, that the tingling sensation and cramps subsided towards the tail end of illness. It was a terrible experience that got me quite depressed on some days.

    Apparently, I read it before that probiotics help to prevent HFMD. I have been making sure that K and I get our yogurt, yogurt drinks and miso soups each time when HFMD season comes around.
    Rachel Teo recently posted..A SMB Bake Date!My Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Thanks for the reminder Rachel. I love yoghurt but because of the kids’ (Javier’s) dairy sensitivity, I also try not to let him see me eating it. But yes, I will have to re-look including some superfoods and extra nutrition into my diet.

  3. says

    Oh dear, that sure sounds like a painful ordeal that you went through. So does this make you immune to HFMD in future? Sophie had a very mild case when of it when she was younger and I can’t imagine her going through it again. Thank God for your mum and hubby who took care of the kids while you recuperated.
    Susan recently posted..Screen time at meal timeMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      It’s apparently possible to get hit by the same strain of HFMD twice or more times, though it’s unlikely since you would have developed some immunity from it. But because there could be different and new strains in future, there is still a likelihood of contracting it…Yes thank God for help!

  4. says

    Oh dear. I can almost feel your pain through reading this post. Sorry you had to go through it and I am glad you have recovered. Thank you for writing about this and raising awareness amongst the parents. I never thought it would be possible for an adult to have HFMD!
    Zee recently posted..Hello there, Mom BloggerMy Profile

  5. says

    Gosh what a horrible, horrible experience! I remember you tweeting about how you almost passed out when you tried ice-cream, and reading this made me cringe because it sounds so painful. Poor you! Thank God for healing both of you, and thank you for sharing your experience. Can’t believe you actually charted the entire thing. Such dedication!
    Adeline recently posted..Our Weekend in PicturesMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Haha, I guess I was partly trying to distract /detach myself from the pain. By documenting it! Thanks for your prayers and encouragement through it all, Adeline. 🙂

  6. Marguerite says

    Thank you so much for documenting this! We are at day 4 with our little boy and I think I’m at the beginning…we are desperate for some sleep and I’ve been in some serious conversations with God about this…your blog gave me renewed hope that this too shall pass…

  7. Alan says

    I am told I have HFMD today; yes at the age of 39 and I seriously do not know how did I get it. Now I am worried my wife and kid will get it from me 🙁 It is scary, I read that adults can carry the virus but yet not display any symptoms of HFMD and the same adult could potentially be spreading the virus without he/she knowing. Isn’t it impossible to prevent infection unless no one leaves the house?

    Anyway, I thank you for your blog. It helps me to anticipate the ordeal I will face on the few days ahead. Cheers!

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Hi Alan, sorry to hear about your case. Yes some HFMD virus carriers can be asymptomatic. I hope you recover quickly though…take care!

  8. Erinna says


    My son just caught hfmd. This is the 2nd day of the nightmare episode. 🙁
    Chance upon your blog while I was frantically looking for help to conquer hfmd.

    Thank you for sharing with us your experience.

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Hey Erinna, thanks for leaving a note…wishing your little boy a speedy recovery. May he grow stronger through this too.

  9. Aaron says

    Hi June, thanks for the article. This ordeal is no joke (I thought how bad can it be since my boy is reacting well after day 4) Well, now it seems like I understand my boy cries really meant. Kway teow soup really helps! Im at day 4 😀 god bless~

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Take care, Aaron. I know what you mean when you say you understand your boy’s cries now…Get well soon before Christmas!

  10. Maria says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am on day 10 of having hfmd, which I caught from my son who had such a mild case, we almost didn’t notice he had it (just a fever followed by a few spots on his hands and 2 or 3 on his face – all cleared up in 4 days). I, on the other hand have never been in so much pain in my life! My mouth feels like it has third degree burns and I can’t even yawn because my throat feels like it is tearing every time I do! I have been reduced to tears many times. I do have some tips for anyone that may read this: toothpaste HURTS so I’ve found the only way I can brush my teeth is if I use my son’s toothpaste because it is not minty. It is Tom’s natural strawberry flavor. Also, in order to not starve, i have been living off of milk/banana/manuka honey shakes. Drink through a straw and you’re good to go. Again, thank you so much for posting this and please pray for me! I don’t know how much longer I can take!

  11. Rebekah says

    I’m almost exactly like Maria above. Thanks for blogging your experience because I feel like crying right now. Our 2 yr old caught it from childcare. His was a relatively mild case. Had mouth sores and blisters in the nappy area but not many other spots. Was off food for 2 tops. I started having a fever when he was on day 5 and pretty much back to normal. Now I’m on day 4 and the ulcers are KILLER. I feel like someone is intentionally scraping my throat with a cheese grater if I so much as swallow or move. Can’t wait for it to pass!

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      My heart goes out to you, Rebekah. Do rest more and try to distract yourself from the pain. It’s hard to swallow but I think the liquids do help in recovery. Take care!

  12. says

    Hi, I was searching for HFMD information when I came across your blog. Glad this is all over for your family and you.

    My son has HFMD recently, and we only discovered that when he went to the emergency room at KKH for an open wound. Thank goodness he has a mild strain so far, but it is taking more than 12 days for the last ulcer to go away.
    Sarah recently posted..Mr Bump – El Gets StitchesMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Hi Sarah, glad to know that it’s a mild strain. But yes those ulcers can be such a pain! Thanks for leaving a note!

  13. hui ping says

    It is so glad for me to find your page with HFMD sharing. I am 30yo single without children on day 4 of HFMD who can’t sleep almost every night.. The pain never stop since day 1 and I been told it going last for another few more days. The reason I feel glad is I have no idea how I get it and there are little sharing of adult HFMD. Thanks again for your sharing and I feel stronger that I can fight thru this.

  14. says

    Thanks for for yoursharing june…..it really helps me understand my 13mo daughter’s cries and grumpy when playing, I haven’t slept for almost 3night

  15. Zhao Fan says

    We didn’t notice my daughter’s low fever until day 3 the blisters came all around HFandM, she took 11 days to fully cover. I caught it and my symptoms happened on her 8th day. I am 35 years old, pain in mouth for 5 days. now I am on my 10th day, reviewed twice from doctor, doc says still have blisters and still have to take MC. Doc also say adult can be 10-14 days.

  16. Elaine says

    Thanks for sharing this. My 2.5 yo had HFMD last week and now both hubby and I caught it. I’ve just given birth 2 weeks ago so praying that my newborn won’t catch it
    Day 2 for me and so painful

    • June says

      Oh dear, Elaine. I hope you and your family recover soon. May your little one be protected from it too.

    • Lia says

      Hi Elaine!
      Do you have any update on how your family is doing with your newest little one? We are in a similar situation that you were. My almost 2 year old is on Day 5 and I’m supposed to go into labor in another week. I’m very concerned about the possibility of her getting it.. Any advice? I hope you are all feeling better.

  17. says

    Hi. I am celest , l have 2 kids one is 6 and another one is 5. That all are having hfmd.. l was very worry and also sleep with them together… any one can tell me wat can l do.. pls help. And also for the red dot when will it be gone

  18. Charmaine says

    I’m having hfmd for the 3 day 🙁 so painful, I can only depend on porridge with Super painful throat and annoying tongue

  19. Sarah says


    Thanks for sharing this and for the poem at the end too. I’m 28 and just caught it from my boyfriend on his day 4 when he was already in less pain and eating heartily. It’s day 7 for him now and he’s mostly healed.

    However, I’m on day 4 and it really takes a lot of effort to swallow, my throat keeping me up at night. I also have blisters everywhere, even on my face and lips which makes me feel even more miserable, I feel like I’m disfigured. I woke up this morning crying and asking God why I’m still so sick when my boyfriend was already better by day 4. I decided to be brave and try lukewarm ginger water and I found that it can be quite soothing although there’s a sting, I guess it helps numb the rest of the throat temporarily.

    When I chanced upon this post, reading your battle through all 10 days of it, it gave me a measure of encouragement that it will pass, that I’m not the only one feeling discouraged while getting through the viral infection. Most importantly, you’ve reminded me to lean on God to get me through this difficult period.

    Thanks very much for your sharing. I’m looking forward to enjoying alllllll the food again.

    God bless!

    • June says

      Reading your story brought me back to that difficult period momentarily. I’m glad this post helped you in some ways. Hope you’re well and up and running again!

  20. Rash says

    It’s 2018 and HFMD is still around. I am adult with no kid. Only silly me carried a toddler who was recovering from HFMD. And this illness is oh so terrible. Worst of the worst! I have ulcers all over my mouth-tongue, cheek, lips.. 🙁 its day 5 and I still can’t eat. And yes, it makes you appreciate simple things of just being able to eat. I’m counting down the days.. it can only get better right? Pray for me that it’ll disappear soon.

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