Adult Hand Foot Mouth

Lets talk about by far the worst virus I’ve ever experienced.


About 3-4 days after traveling on an airplane, my daughter broke with a horrific fever. I had no idea what was going on. I ended up taking her to the emergency room where they told me she either had a viral infection in her throat or it was going to turn out to be hand, foot, and mouth disease. Well, unluckily for us, it was.

24 hours later her fever broke and the spots started appearing. By that time she was acting completely fine. We travelled back home and almost the minute we pulled into the driveway, I started feeling “off.”

I woke up the next day unable to move my body. I was in so much pain that I could hardly bend my joints. I took my temperature and sure enough, 103.5. I knew then I had contracted it but wanted to make a doctors appointment just to be sure since I didn’t have any spots just yet.

They tested me for a few things before agreeing that it was probably going to turn out to be the dreaded Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. My doctor had told me that it was really rare for adults to catch it but definitely not impossible. I was just that lucky. 

My husband was off work that day so I got to sleep pretty much the entire day away. I thought when I woke up I would be feeling much better but I felt 10 x worse than I did before. It was the worst body pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life, a horrible headache, a really high fever, chills, and nausea.  Like my daughter, about 24 hours later, my fever broke. I thought, “YES! I’ll be all rainbows and sunshine like she was.” Nope. The rash started.



Apparently in children the rash isn’t painful but in adults it’s incredibly painful and even more itchy. I seriously contemplated cutting my own hands off they burned so badly. Nothing was even coming close to touching the pain. For two straight nights the only way I could sleep is if I was holding onto ice packs. As soon as the ice packs melted, I was awake and in horrific pain again. I think I got a total of 4 hours of sleep in those two days. I was never so miserable in my life.


The rash doesn’t only stay on your hands and your feet either like it usually does with children. Mine decided it would be a good idea to creep all the way up my right arm. Luckily, that part didn’t itch as badly but it still was quite uncomfortable.

So, now here I am writing this post 3 weeks later. I’m now dealing with the final step of this virus, which is the peeling and nails falling off. Yup, you read that right. There is a good chance that I will end up loosing some fingernails and toenails. Half the skin on my thumb is currently peeling off. I feel like a leper.


I wouldn’t wish this virus on my worst enemy.

So to sum it up for everyone; this is what I learned about Adult Hand Foot Mouth:

  • It starts out with a high fever and body aches that closely resembles the flu.
  • Once your fever breaks, your body breaks out in a rash.
  • That rash is going to be horribly painful and itchy. Ice packs are the only thing that will help you. I couldn’t even sleep when on a high dose of sleep drugs and pain medications.
  • Your skin will peel and your nails might fall off.
  • You’re going to look awful for a while.
  • There is really not much you can do to prevent it except washing your hands really well and avoiding public areas.
  • If you’ve had it as a child, you’re less likely to contract it again as an adult.
  • They need to come up with a vaccine for this crap.
  • It’ll all be over in a short 6-8 weeks. URGH.


  1. says

    Yikes! You are the second adult I’ve seen with hand foot and mouth this week. Sounds absolutely miserable! My little brother had it when he was about four and my mom made sure we didn’t come within three feet of one another the entire time. I hope you’re 100% again soon.
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  2. Jane says

    Hi! Did your nails fall off or were you lucky to escape that? Did you use any creams/moisterisers for your skin that was peeling? I am on day four of this horrid virus. I’m petrified of the skin and nails coming off! I caught this lovely virus from my nearly three year old daughter. There really does need to be a vaccine or at least medication or something targeted for this. Hope you have recovered completely from this by now.

    • says

      Awww I’m sorry you’ve got it! It really is the worst!
      I didn’t end up losing any nails but my skin is STILL peeling pretty badly on my feet. I just went and got a pedicure this week to try to help with it. It did but it was so embarrassing. I hope you get better fast and don’t lose any nails!

  3. Jordan says

    How long before the pain and itching went away?! I got the virus from my one year old and I am in agony. It’s day two with the itching and rash. Lots of tears shed!

    • says

      It took me about 7 full days to get over the itching 🙁 sleep with ice packs on your hands! It’s the only way I got any sleep. I had to keep refilling them every few hours. The itching got better after 5-7 days but the rash lasted about 3 weeks.

  4. Kimberly C says

    This is EXACTLY what I’m experiencing! Even the part of feeling like a leper! I googled the skin peeling because I thought I might be crazy linking it to HFMD. You’re picture and description is right in line with my experience! Ugh!!!

  5. Kristoffer says


    Thanks for sharing your story. Got this from my son two weeks ago, he just started kindergarden. It pretty much happaned in the exact same order you describe:

    Day 1 – Chills, fever and headache (thought it was the fule or a cold)
    Day 2 – Felling a little better (thought i was green)
    Day 3 – Small red dots appear (not as small as my son had)
    Day 4 – Huge clusters of red blistres, lots of pain and itching.
    Day 5 – More pain, more blisters and itching. Had to go to the emergency as the pain was out of this world. Turned out i had gotten a secondary infection through a soar that have not healed. Got antibiotics for the infection.
    Day 6 – Blisters starts to go away, less pain and itching.

    It has just got better sense then. Now it has been 11 days and most of the blisters are gone nut my fingerstips and toes are feling numb and the skin is peeling of. Thought this crap virus would be done with me after 10 days but apperantly not. When did your skin stop peeling (how manny days)? How loong did it take until you where fully recovered?

    And i agree, they should really make a vacin for this shit. When i went to the doctor recently to check the peeling skin they said they never heard of a grown up that got HFM before =)

    Btw i didnt use ice packs. Turned upp the bathtub with cold water and put my hands and foots in there about x50 a day at it’s worst.

    Greetings from Sweden


  6. Mindy says

    OMG!! Gonna forewarn ya’ll, this is a rant post =)
    I am at 28 year old stay, who for uncontrollable circumstances am a stay at home momma during the week, and work as a dialysis technician on the weekends. I have a 4 year old son, whom is in preschool this year, and I have seemingly contracted this virus. I am going to the doctor this afternoon to confirm, but what I have experienced so far….
    A sore throat for 4 days. swollen glands, nodes, and a red rash on my upper soft palate resembling burst blood vessels. Uncomfortable, but I was able to sooth with hot teas and coffee for short periods of time. Day 2 I worked at the dialysis unit basically all day long ( awesome, right ? all of those defenseless people are at risk for this and I am feeling horrible). I worked from 5:45 a.m until 2 p.m, left and went back to bleach the system at 5:45 p.m until about 8:15. when I left at 2 and got in my car the aches hit, then the chills. I had to run into the grocery store before I went home to grab a couple ingredients I needed for dinner and I could barely make my way through the store. I laid down when I got home, and my 4 year old noticed, came up to me and covered me up and said “night night momma”. I was exhausted and sore, and freezing. I got back up and went to the unit to bleach, taking a giant hot coffee which helped my throat and my energy level, atleast enough to get me through.
    day 4 the minor red blotches/ small vague spots appear on my hands. they feel tight, as the day progresses my feet burn slightly and my hands burn worse. I get a text message from my sister in law saying thanksgiving is a risk because my youngest nephew (2) has contracted…. you got it. HFMD.
    This morning, day 5. Very distinctive spots on my hands, and my nose and face. I also have noticed a sore spot on the outside of my left ear the past couple of days. I have a nose ring so my nose is horrible, even the inside of it I fear is flaring…My feet burn between my last two small toes on both feet, and my skin is unbearably dry. My face is practically already peeling. to type this out hurts my hands, picking up things, or bending my fingers/hands at all makes me wince. My throat feels fine today, but my head is beginning to hurt, and I am feeling exhausted, itchy and on fire. I have nobody to help me out with my kiddo who I didn’t risk taking to school the past 2 days because of the risk of giving it to the little ones (he attends a special class, with children with very weak immune systems, and special needs). I did not notice anything with him other than a vague period of a couple of days where he had a small rash on his arms and legs for 2 days that went away, which appeared after a overnight fever causing him to wake up crying and completely doused in sweat, making me think that perhaps the rash was from this. After a dose of tylenol, he was fine and slept all night so we even leaned towards possible night terror instead of illness. (my son is not very verbal, so when he is upset it’s even more difficult to get him to communicate effectively). By day 2 the rash was faded basically, and now he is good as gold.
    I don’t usually get sick, but I have two big mastiff puppies (6 months old so they’re not “puppies” anymore LOL) and they scratch, and the wounds are not healing, but getting inflamed and needless to say.. I am a MESS! lol
    I am irritated, and so so tired. I live in the tundra that is Michigan, so all my little guy wants to do is gear up and go play in the snow outside and all my strength went to making him chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast this morning. Hubby is on overtime, so he left for work at 5:40 this morning and isn’t expected home until after 6 p.m tonight. I am super over this long day, and as I type this it’s 10:25 a.m. My kiddo and I are still not dressed, dishes need to be done, lunch needs to be served, floors need to be cleaned (2 mastiff puppies, and a 4 year old special needs son remember?), dinner needs to be prepped, doctors appointment I have to be ready for at 3:45 and I have nobody in my life that helps me expect my hubby whom is at work all day. I am woman, hear me roar 😉 Thank goodness for coffee, and Wi-fi for my sons tablet, as this is certainly my saving grace today.
    Any other helpful tips greatly appreciated <3 Now that I got all the complaining out of my system….lol Happy Holidays and much love <3


  1. […] these things manifest in children vs. adults. It brings me back to last year when Hand Foot Mouth [click here to read about that disaster] ran through our house. My kids were better in a few short days and I had it for almost 10. I guess […]