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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Foot in Mouth Disease

I recently heard some sad news that 62 Kindergarten age children died of Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease in Cambodia.  I was quite baffled because this is a "rather not uncommon" yet simple disease in Canada. I think my kids got it three years ago and were banned from daycare for a week, and there was no treatment offered, and I simply thought it sounded gross but was nothing serious.

In fact it is not supposed to be anything serious. According to Hong Kong news reports, the doctors overeas gave steroids to fight the bacteria (but Hand, Foot, Mouth disease is a virus!). It seemed to work fine at first, but the steroids deactivated the immune system and caused death. The cases allegedly happened at a Swiss sponsored children's hospital and embarrassed both countries. The news media are now silenced about it.

That is so sad and makes me so mad!  I didn't even bring my kids to the doctor because I called the 1-800 Ontario Telehealth number and talked to registered nurse who said it wouldn't be necessary and the sickness could be treated at home. The symptoms were prinkly pain on the finger tips and toes, with noticable red points or blisters, fever? (I forgot). I thought I saw canker sores in the mouth, and I figured it must have hurt to swallow because my kids didn't want to eat or drink. The nurse's recommendation for the kids was to drink lots of fluid, even offer freezy pops cuz kids don't want to drink when they have mouth sores, and have them sip bepto bismal as a treatment for the mouth ulcers. As well, since they were possibly contagious with open sores.

My brother in law got sick with stronger symptoms of the disease, and stayed home from work for days without really knowing that he probably got sick from babysitting the kids! Myself and the nanny were immune because we probably encountered those same germs before.  After a few days, everything seemed back to normal and I thought nothing of it; though embarassed to admit they got this Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease until someone's kid at my church got it from the daycare and I realized it was all pretty normal.   Anyway after hearing about this incident overseas really shocked me. Wow, some doctors really messed up. There's been nothing on the news I have access to, but it was my uncle and aunt who operate a Kindergarten in Cambodia who told me about it. Hope that it is well documented somewhere so doctors don't mess up again! It just reminds me how lucky we are in Canada with good healthcare and simple things like clean water.

A tad off topic, but I remember back in 2009 during the hype of the H1NI flu shots and seemingly regularly healthy people of all ages dying from the bird flu, or from not getting treated in time.  I am constantly reminded of that on my little Shoppers Drug Mart past prescription summary; it lists my prescription for the Tamiflu treatment, four simple pills one a day that apparently saved my life.  I remember it vaguely being a strange kind of flu, a fever without a real serious cough, not even a sore throat but I was just tired and always sleeping. I'm the kind of the person, even on a sick day staying home from work, who wouldn't normally be sleeping, but working on crafts, practising piano, watching a movie while sweeping the floor etc. I was sleeping or just lying in bed 18 hours a day. Didn't think much of it, took my pills and drank plenty or water and I was fine even before the weekend. However around that time I had read a news story about an American woman in the States about age 15 (my details could be fuzzy) who went to the hospital for similar symptoms three times, was turned away and for various reasons, possibly lack of medical coverage to cover tests or the drugs, ended up without the Tamiflu treatment and she died. I think I cried about how unfair this was, that my appointment with the family doctor took no longer than five minutes, and I never had to pay a cent for my drugs that probably cost $700.

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