Natural Remedies for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Natural Remedies for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease - Musings of a Modern Hippie

At 4.5 years old, my son came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. For anyone who has ever experienced it first hand or had a child contract it, this is not a light thing. 
From the CDC

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth (herpangina), and a skin rash.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus (group). This group of viruses includes polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses.
Coxsackievirus A16 is the most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease in the United States, but other coxsackieviruses have been associated with the illness.
Enterovirus 71 has also been associated with hand, foot, and mouth disease and outbreaks of this disease.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease (also called hoof-and-mouth disease), a disease of cattle, sheep, and swine. However, the two diseases are caused by different viruses and are not related. Humans do not get the animal disease, and animals do not get the human disease.

The symptoms of Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease are dreadful. They start out with a low fever, and generally ill feeling along with loss of appetite. Next comes the tiny fluid filled blisters on the hands, feet, and inside mouth, which can quickly spread. The blisters are painful and itchy, especially in the mouth. I noticed my son itching the tops of his feet one night, then over the next few days he seemed cranky, didn’t eat much, and slightly warm although his aural temperature never went above 98. Then one night when he seemed particularly fussy, wouldn’t eat dinner and complained about sore mouth I looked at his feet and hands on a hunch. Sure enough, classic spots, as well as inside his mouth.
Normally, this disease takes 1-2 weeks to clear up, and modern medicine only recommends NSAIDs for pain relief and fever reduction (see why I don’t reduce a fever, here). Kids can’t go back to school until the last blister has scabbed over. 

The night that the blisters showed up was pretty rough. I put the boy down to bed, which took a lot longer than usual. He still self soothes by sucking on his fingers, which was now extremely painful with blisters on both his fingers and in his mouth. He finally fell asleep and I ran to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for the next few days – natural popsicles, organic ice cream, organic juice. Lots of liquids and soft foods. I also grabbed a few homeopathic remedies to try. 

To detour for a moment…I am currently taking a course in Homeopathy. For those who know me well, you know that with my scientific background, I am extremely skeptical about the whole premise of homeopathy. Diluting and shaking something down so much that there is no trace left of the original base? In theory, it sounds like hogwash. But I can’t refute that it works. Most of you have probably taken or used a homeopathic remedy and not even realized it. Hylands Teething Tablets for babies are homeopathic as is Arnica cream for muscle pain. Homeopathy is based on the principle that Like Cures Like. In other words, if a person takes, for example Belladonna, they will experience symptoms of dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, severely dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions. Therefore, if someone experiences any of these symptoms for other reasons, they should be able to find relief with homeopathic Belladonna. Homeopathic remedies are listed by name with a number and X or C after it. This indicates the number of times it was diluted. The bigger the number, the greater the dilution, and the more potent is it said to be. X is 1/2 the dilution of C.

So back to my son’s Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. I had recently read about Arnica and Rhus toxicodendron. Arnica is well known for pain, but it also is indicated for itching and burning skin, eruption of small pimples, and soreness of gums (as well as a whole host of other indications). Rhus toxicodendron (or poison ivy) is indicated for blisters on the skin (and lots of other things). I purchased both. My grocery store carries the Boiron brand of homeopathics. 

 Another great thing about homeopathy is how cheap it is!

Natural Remedies for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

My son woke up at 1 am screaming in pain. I crushed up and dissolved 2 tablets of Arnica 30C in about 15 drops of water and gave it to him. Normally you should try and dissolve the tablets under the tongue, but that wasn’t going to happen with all those mouth sores. Within 10 minutes he was back to his happy self. The transformation was remarkable. 2 hours later he woke again, screaming in pain. Again I gave him 2 more Arnica 30C tablets, crushed and dissolved in a tiny amount of water. Again, within 10 minutes he was happy and back to sleep. At 5 am he woke again crying, but while I was in the kitchen making up another dose of Arnica, he fell back asleep and slept straight until 9 am when he woke as his normal happy self. He still had his existing spots on his hands, feet, and mouth, but nothing new, and the existing spots were already looking less angry. He had a particularly nasty one in his mouth that bothered him to eat, so for the next 2 days he stuck with soft foods and drinks. What kid is going to turn down meals of (organic) ice cream and popsicles

I continued Arnica 30C for 3 more times that day. The next day I switched to Rhus tox 30C for 3 times. In addition to the homeopathics, I gave him our usual immune boosting treatment 3 times a day:

Natural Immune Boosters for Kids

Natural Immune Boosters for Kids | Musings of a Modern Hippie

Elderberry Syrup
Zand Kids’ Insure Herbal
Cod liver Oil
I mixed everything up in a little medicine cup and give it to him in a syringe. The above list links to brands we currently use, but there are many other great brands out there that we’ve also had success with. We pretty much do the above combination anytime he starts showing symptoms of any illness or even when he’s been exposed to something. It’s our go-to and has served us well to avoid or shorten all illnesses in the last few years. We have similar components for our adult version as well. When everyone else around us is sick, we are able to avoid it. (There is one other thing we use for the really nasty adult bugs.)
After 2 just days, his spots were gone and he was completely back to normal. I stopped the homeopathy at that point but continued his immune boosting treatment, in the mornings only, for the next 5 days. Since the spots coincided with a weekend, he was able to go back to school right away and didn’t miss a single day!

I’m still amazed at how effective the Arnica 30C was in relieving his pain. It was quite remarkable. 


The Honest Company

15 comments for “Natural Remedies for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

  1. Deanna DeBondt
    October 22, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Hello, Thank-you for the info, as HFM Diseases is running rampant here in California.
    FYI: Giving a classical homeopathic remedies, by dilution is fine, but there is no need mediciainally to crush pellet/s as remedy is on the outside of milk sugar pellet.

    Dosing is as follows: in glass container, 4oz of filtered water with 1-3 pellets, stir with metal spoon, 1 minute is fine, as you stir more, it will potentize (make remedy stronger).
    I – 1.5 teasp every 15 minutes until symptoms start to subside, and redose as need if they return.For infants and toddlers, even pre-schoolers, we use the oral syringes and preload them. We put preloaded syringes in plastic bag and set them out of direct sunlight or in fridge without strong odors.

    The diluted remedy will last 2 days out of sunlight and strong orders as both will neutralize remedy

    Again, thank-you for sharing!
    Blessings Galore, +Mrs. Deanna DeBondt

  2. Erica
    May 24, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Can you explain how you used the Rhus tox? Thanks!

    • July 31, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Great question! Because my son was so young at the time an had many sores in his mouth, I gave it the same way as the arnica…I crushed up and dissolved 2 tablets in about 15 drops of water. And repeated that 3 times that day.

  3. Deb
    August 8, 2016 at 12:27 am

    This was an excellent post! My son contracted hands foot and mouth on a Thursday and by Tuesday he was showing symptoms. Since i work in a health food store i immediately googled natural remedies for this disease. Your entry is what helped my son knock this sickness by Friday! Excellent advice! Thank you!

  4. amanda
    September 23, 2016 at 12:05 am

    my son has the spots
    would that terthing tablet remedy get rid of his spots??

  5. Alyssa
    September 28, 2016 at 10:46 am

    How did you figure out the doasage?

  6. Talor
    November 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Hello! My son has this and is on day 1 of the sores. He is miserable. He is 8 months old! Is this safe for infants? If not, what do you suggest for his age? He is not drinking his milk. Ibprofen is helping with the pain but he will not let me put him down.

  7. JJ
    February 5, 2017 at 3:55 am

    Can you give the proporion for your immune booster? Do you just mix one dose of each?

  8. Virginia Linnell
    April 22, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Excellent post! I am a trained Classical Homeopath and your advice is spot on. Loved your comment on being skeptical about Homeopathy working – my husband who has a PhD in math was the same and now is one of Homeopathy’s biggest proponent. He is currently using Euphrasia mother tincture in a bit of water to treat a very angry red eye that developed out of nowhere; working like a charm!

  9. Lynne Fasanella
    June 19, 2017 at 10:44 am

    does this work on adults? My husband and I have it pretty badly.

    • August 16, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      I’ve not tried it myself, but the general concept of boosting immunity along with homeopathy can be quite an effective remedy.

  10. Linda Thomas
    September 27, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    My grandsons 5 and 3, have come home with hfmd from preschool. Read your article and was wondering if there were stores in Illinois that carry products that you have mentioned or are there certified homeopathics that I can contact. Thank you for your knowledge.

    • October 25, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Hi Linda, Thanks for your inquiry! I’m not sure of stores specifically in Illinois that carry these products, other than online stores like Amazon, listed in the post. I was able to find a site that lists certified Homeopaths in your state thought…this may help you in your search:


  11. Nat
    January 19, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Hey Kelly! Love the content! Can you share which homeopathy course you’re taking? I’m a trained Nutritional Therapist and was looking into either an herbology or homeopathy and am looking for recommendations. Thanks!

    • February 28, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Hi Nat, thanks for your inquiry! I did all of my graduate work through Trinity School of Natural Health. A great place to get started in homeopathy specifically though is through one of Joette Calabrese’s intro programs.

      Best of luck in furthering your education!

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