WHEN mum Emma Reavley noticed red spots covering her daughter’s back she immediately assumed it was chickenpox.
Her four-year-old Evie had it three weeks earlier, so the mum-of-eight thought nothing more of it.
But, as the spots began to spread across Emily’s body “before her eyes”, the 41-year-old began to worry.
By the next morning, the two-year-old’s whole body was covered in angry red sores, which had spread inside her mouth and down her throat.
It was then Emma realised something wasn’t right.
She and husband Shaun, 39, took their two-year-old daughter to the Urgent Care Centre in Hemel Hempstead, where doctors sent her home with antibiotic cream and chickenpox medication.
Within a few hours, Emily’s temperature had “skyrocketed” to 39C, so her parents rushed her to Watford General Hospital after ruling out measles and Scarlet fever.
There doctors diagnosed the toddler with the “most severe case” of hand, foot and mouth disease they had “ever seen” – and told the couple it was the third case they had seen that day.
The tot was allowed home but had to be quarantined for the next 14 days due to the highly contagious nature of the disease.
Now, Emma is sharing the photos of Emily’s blistered face and body, to warn other parents of how dangerous HFMD can be.
The mum-of-eight, said: “Emily started getting a few spots on her neck and I thought it was chickenpox.
“It was just a few at first but it was like they were literally appearing before my eyes.
“I was looking at them and thinking they’re not chickenpox. Having so many children, I know what they look like.
Her whole body was covered and she had them in her mouth and down her throat
“As the day went on, the worse they were getting.
“Her whole body was covered and she had them in her mouth and down her throat.
“At the hospital, the doctors said it was the worst case of HFMD they’d ever seen.”
In order to contain the highly contagious bug, medics told Emma and Shaun they had to keep Emily inside for two weeks.
“She was watching everyone go out and play and she couldn’t go out,” Emma said.
“It was really upsetting for her, it was horrible.
“She was up one minute and the next she was slumped on the sofa crying.
“She would be sort of dancing around because her skin was so itchy but it was also hurting.
“She wanted to be held but if I tried to hold her, she’d be in pain from the blisters on her skin.
“She went off her food because of the ulcers in her throat.
“She was so cold she was shaking but her temperature was so high we couldn’t warm her up.
“It was horrible. It really was heartbreaking to see her like that. I don’t ever want to experience it again.”
COMMON BUT NASTY CHILDHOOD BUG
HAND, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood illness that can affect adults. It usually clears up by itself in 7 to 10 days.
The first signs of hand, foot and mouth disease can be a sore throat, a high temperature (above 38C), or not wanting to eat.
After a few days mouth ulcers and a rash will appear.
The symptoms are usually the same in adults and children, but they can be much worse in adults.
It’s possible to get hand, foot and mouth disease more than once.
Hand, foot and mouth disease has nothing to do with foot and mouth disease that affects farm animals.
You can’t take antibiotics or medicines to cure hand, foot and mouth disease – it has to run its course. It usually gets better in seven to 10 days.
While Emily was back to herself after five days, her blisters took six weeks to clear completely leaving her with some minor scarring.
Mum Emma said she is speaking out to warn other parents of how serious HFMD can be.
“I never knew it could be so extreme,” the 41-year-old added.
“More people need to be aware.
“It’s not just a case of a few spots on their hands, feet and mouth. Emily was particularly unlucky but it can spread and be so serious.
“I would tell any parent whose child has HFMD to follow doctors orders and keep them quarantined for two weeks because it is so contagious and it’s airborne.
“If you just take them to the park or for a walk around the block, they can pass it to another child without even touching them.
“That’s so unfair on that child and their parents who then need to experience it. It really has been horrible.”
MOST READ IN HEALTH
Consultant paediatrician Dr Ramesh Chaniyil from West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, who manage the Urgent Care Centre in Hemel Hempstead, said: “We’re delighted to hear that Emily has made a full recovery.
“It can be very easy to miss Hand, Foot and Mouth disease in its early stages as the blisters can look similar to the blisters which appear with chicken pox.
“HFM is caused by a virus and the features of the disease vary from mild to severe.
“Generally HFM is self-resolving, meaning it will clear up in a few days and you can treat the symptoms with painkillers and by staying hydrated.
“Sometimes with HFM, mouth ulcers make it difficult for you to swallow and that’s when you need to attend hospital for assessment and possible treatment with intravenous fluids and painkillers. In hospital, children might also need to be treated with antibiotics for suspected bacterial infection.”