Also known as HFMD, hand, foot, and mouth disease results from a virus. While anyone is vulnerable to the disease, it is frequently experienced among children under the age of 10. Parents can use a number of natural products to ease the symptoms of the disease as it runs its course. One of the best options is to use a soothing essential oil to help treat the virus and also its often painful and uncomfortable symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms
While HFMD can be quite uncomfortable, it is fortunately not considered serious. Nevertheless, the symptoms can become rather annoying. The disease is marked by the following symptoms :
- Blisters or a rash that appears on the hands, legs, feet, or buttocks.
- Sores that erupt inside the mouth or around it.
- Ulcers appearing around the mouth and inside the oral cavity.
- Early symptoms of HFMD are usually a sore throat and fever. Painful blisters very similar to cold sores often appear on the inside of the mouth or the tongue.
- After these initial symptoms emerge, a rash may appear on either the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands.
These symptoms emerge about two days after the initial symptoms appear.
Often, the rash turns into blisters. Sores or flat-looking spots may also suddenly appear on the buttocks, elbow, or knee caps. While some people have one or two of the aforementioned symptoms, others may have all the described symptoms.
Causes of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
The viruses that are attributed to HFMD are enterovirus 71 and coxsackievirus a16. If you consult with a physician about the disease, he or she will normally refer to it as Coxsackie virus for short. A child may catch HFMD by coming into contact with someone who has the disease or by touching something with the virus. This might include a doorknob, tabletop, or toy.
Facts about Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Typically HFMD is diagnosed by visual examination. The doctor may also request a stool or blood sample for additional confirmation or have a throat swab administered. Typically, this condition will resolve itself in about ten days. No medical vaccine or treatment for the illness is currently available. Parents often ease the symptoms with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
You should never give children aspirin for the pain associated with HFMD as it can lead to a serious illness. Popsicles or smoothies are often advised for easing the pain of a sore throat. For relieving the rash associated with HFMD, an anti-itch lotion such as calamine is advised.
People with the virus are contagious for the first seven days. The virus can linger for weeks even when the symptoms subside. The virus could still spread through a carrier’s saliva. To prevent this from happening, a child should be encouraged to wash his or her hands frequently. This same rule applies to parents who change the diaper of a child with HFMD or who wipe a child’s runny nose.
If a child is attending daycare or school, he or she should not go back to the facility until he or she is free of symptoms.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease should be distinguished from foot and mouth disease, which originates from a different virus and affects animals, not people.
Essential Oils for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
There are several effective essential oils with powerful antiviral and antimicrobial properties that can help treat the virus that causes the condition. They can also help soothe the pain and treat other symptoms associated with HFMD. These are some of the best oils for the disease.
Lemon Essential Oil
Extracted from lemon peels, this oil is ideal for getting rid of toxins in the body. It also energizes the user. Any fatigue or toxicity is removed when this treatment is used.
You can also use the oil to stimulate the immune system and to tackle viral infections like hand,foot and mouth. According to research, lemon essential oil also has outstanding antimicrobial properties. (1)
These antiviral and antiseptic properties combine to make lemon essential oil one of the more effective home remedies for the condition.
Users can apply the oil in several different ways. You can either apply it directly topically or add a few drops to a body wash or hand wash. Alternatively, add 10 to 15 drops of your oil to your bathtub and let it soak into your skin.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
One of the most effective and widely used natural treatments for HFMD is tea tree oil. The oil is extracted from Australia’s tea tree known scientifically as Maleluca alternifolia. This wonderful oil has a wide range of medicinal uses and is enriched with both antibacterial and antiviral properties that get rid of the virus and infection that trigger HFMD.
The oil is also acclaimed for use as an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal agent. It promotes the healing or sores and helps clear up blisters. (2)
Again, there are several effective ways of using tea tree essential oil to help treat hand, foot and mouth disease. You can dilute it and apply it directly to your skin or add it to a liquid soap to help clear up your symptoms or prevent the transmission of the disease.
Tea tree oil when used properly is considered safe for young children but make sure that you dilute it well with a suitable carrier oil before applying it to your child’s skin.
Clove Essential Oil
Clove essential oil is another extremely effective natural remedy for hand, foot and mouth disease. It is an extremely powerful oil which is very well-known for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. (3)
These powerful properties combined make clove oil an excellent choice for HFMD, especially in adults. The oil is considered too powerful for use on children and pregnant women should also avoid using it.
Besides combating the infection and virus, it is also known for its superior properties in battling inflammation. Experts in the alternative medicine field also claim that clove oil purifies the blood.
Before applying clove oil to your skin, it is essential that you dilute it well with a skin-friendly carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba. It should never be applied neat. You can also add a few drops to your bathwater or add a few drops to some clean water to make a natural, antimicrobial mouthwash. Be careful not to swallow any of the oil.
Lavender Essential Oil
Very few essential oil lists do not contain lavender oil. This is because lavender essential oil is one of the most diverse and safe essential oils. It can help treat a wide variety of ailments from skin problems to muscle pain and stress and insomnia.
This oil has excellent antibacterial and antiviral properties that make it the ideal remedy for healing blisters and sores. (4) Because it is both soothing and calming, this oil is advised often for battling infections and relieving pain.
As well as its antimicrobial and healing effects, this wonderful oil is very effective in easing stress and helping people to get a good night of sleep. Considering that many children with HFMD are in a great deal of pain, they may find it difficult to sleep and lavender oil may well help.
Lavender oil is gentle acting and one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly, however, it is still recommended that you dilute it in a carrier oil. You can apply it to the affected area of your skin directly or add a few drops to a hand wash or bath.
To help your child get a good night of sleep, try diffusing the oil next to their bed through the night or simply adding a few drops to his or her pillow.
Technically, coconut oil is not considered an essential oil. It is included here as it can greatly contribute to healing, given its healing and nutritive effects. Coconut oil is made up of a blend of healthful elements including minerals, amino acids, and phytohormones.
All these ingredients contribute to the anti-inflammatory response of the oil. In addition, coconut oil contains vitamins B and C, which fight infections. This oil is ideal for fighting various infections, including the viral infections that lead to hand, foot, and mouth disease
Consider this as well: coconut oil is rich in certain electrolytes. These electrolytes include potassium, calcium, chlorides, riboflavin, and sodium, all which fight against physical dehydration. Dehydration is often associated with HFMD. Add to this lauric acid, which has strong antiviral properties. The lauric acid assists in alleviating the discomfort and mouth pain that accompanies blisters, dehydration, and sores. Some parents of children who have HFMD freeze the coconut water as ice cubes for sore throat relief.
Selecting the Right Carrier Oil
Before applying these essential oils to your skin, you should dilute them in a suitable carrier oil. Coconut oil and jojoba are popular choices but there are plenty of others to choose from.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Essential Oils Really Work in Combating HFMD?
Yes. Essential oils provide ingredients and properties that make them helpful for fighting infections, viruses, and fungi. Certain oils, as a result, can be used with a great deal of success. You just need to make sure that you are using the right oil and applying it properly. Most of the oils are effective in boosting immune system functioning, especially tea tree oil and lemon oil.
What Is the Best Oil to Use to Heal Blisters and Sores?
It is best to use tea tree oil to heal and soothe blisters and sores because of its antifungal and antiseptic properties.
What Is the Best Oil for Adults?
Adults with HFMD can use a stronger oil, such as clove oil, to assist them in overcoming their illness. Clove oil is an adults-only oil and is not recommended for use for children. It also is not advised for use by women who are pregnant.
What Home Remedies Support the Use of Essential Oils?
To make the most of essential oils, you should support your treatments with home remedies such as salt water rinses or the use of echinacea. Echinacea is an herb that provides antibacterial and antiviral properties and its leaves can be used in the making of a tea.
You can also support the use of oils, as indicated, with salt water rinses. Salt water rinses are valuable in reducing the pain and discomfort of a sore throat. Licorice root is also helpful as a remedy. Overuse of licorice root can produce negative side effects such as high blood pressure. Caution with respect to use is strongly advised.
As mentioned, coconut oil is a popular liquid and remedy for HFMD. When used together with an essential oil it can be even more effective and can quickly alleviate the pain and eruptions that accompany HFMD.
Preventive Measures for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
Remember that prevention is always better than a cure and fortunately, there are plenty of measures you can take to keep the disease at bay. These are some of the best preventive measures you can take for you and your child.
Practice Good Hygiene
The best possible way to avoid getting hand, foot and mouth disease is to teach and practice good hygiene. Making sure that you and your child wash their hands thoroughly and regularly can greatly decrease the risk of contracting the virus.
Make sure your children know how to wash their hand well with soap and hot water. They should always wash after using the bathroom, before eating or coming home from school or a public place. Also, teach your children to keep their hands and other objects away from their mouths.
Disinfect Common Areas
You should also make sure that you disinfect common areas around the house on a frequent basis. You should regularly disinfect shared surfaces with soap and water and then with a diluted bleach solution. Lemon essential oil also makes for an excellent, natural disinfectant.
As well as surfaces, it is best to disinfect pacifiers, toys and other objects that could be contaminated by the virus.
Stay Away from Contagious People
Make sure that you or your child stay away from people who are infected with the virus. If your child is experiencing any of the common symptoms, keep them home from school as a precautionary measure.
Once the telltale rashes, sores and blisters have developed, they should continue to stay away from school and contact with people to avoid spreading the disease further.
You can use essential oils for children to help ease the symptoms of HFMD. By taking this approach, children will get better faster and feel more comfortable. The primary essential oils that can be used by both adults and children include lavender oil, tea tree, and lemon essential oil. Coconut oil is also listed as a home remedy with essential oils because of its strong composition of electrolytes.
Electrolytes are needed to prevent the dehydration that often is associated with an HFMD condition. The water can be frozen as well to soothe sore throat pain in children. Children suck on ice cubes so they can gain pain relief. All the essential oils mentioned can make any bout with HFMD a short-term experience. You just need to know the application and which oil is best used for rashes, sore throat, or blistering.