Motocross racer Carey Hart is on tour with his wife Pink and their family, and unfortunately it seems that both of their kids are sick.
“Both kids laid up and mama @pink still has to push through and do shows," he continued.
Pink was just recently hospitalized for a gastrointestinal illness, so we can imagine that Hart is feeling a little anxious about his family's health at the moment.
Being sick while traveling is never fun, of course, but hand, foot, and mouth presents some unique challenges because the illness is so contagious.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is common among kids as it can be transmitted through contact with an infected person’s nasal secretions or throat discharge, saliva, fluid from their blisters, poop, or respiratory droplets that are sprayed in the air after a cough or sneeze, the Mayo Clinic says.
The disease typically causes sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet, the Mayo Clinic says, and it's usually caused by a type of virus called a coxsackievirus. It may also cause a fever, sore throat, fatigue, or loss of appetite.
Usually, hand, foot, and mouth incubates in a person’s body for three to six days before they develop a fever, followed by a sore throat, the Mayo Clinic says. One or two days after the fever, they may get sores on the front of their mouth or throat, followed by a rash on the hands, feet, and possibly the butt.
“In general, this is a fairly mild illness,” infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the John's Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells SELF. Some people even have no symptoms. But in rare cases, a certain strain of the virus can lead to complications like viral meningitis (an inflammation and infection of the tissues surrounding the brain) and encephalitis (a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the brain), the Mayo Clinic says.
But the illness isn't contagious forever. So how do you know when it's OK to release them back into society?
In most cases, people are usually the most contagious during their first week of illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, but people can sometimes be contagious for days or weeks after their symptoms go away. The CDC specifically recommends keeping infected people home, but defers to individual doctors on an actual timeline.
So, you’ll probably want to keep your child out of school for around a week, but it really shouldn’t be more than that unless their doctor specifically advises that, Dr. Adalja says.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to be on total lockdown, William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells SELF. Once your child is feeling better, you’re generally OK to take them to the grocery store and on small errands with you, provided they’re not licking things, he says. (If they sit in the cart, you might want to wipe it down with sanitizing wipes afterward, just to be safe.)
"Most pediatricians say it's OK to take your kid out 24 hours after their fever is gone, but I wouldn't take them out when they have a fever," Gina Posner, M.D., a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells SELF. "They're probably still slightly contagious 24 hours after the fever, but not as contagious."
Just use your best judgment, Dr. Adalja says: The grocery store, where they’re unlikely to come into close contact with other kids (who are the most likely to contract hand, foot, and mouth) is probably OK; the playground or Chuck E. Cheese, where a bunch of kids are in close proximity probably isn’t. And keep in mind that your child may still have those characteristic bumps for longer than a week, Dr. Schaffner says. “If they’re out in public, that can raise some eyebrows,” he adds.
According to Hart's Instagram caption, this was the case for them. "I had Jameson at breakfast yesterday and this vile woman at the table next to us kept staring at him with a shitty look on her face. I told her it was bed bugs.”
Again, every case of hand, foot, and mouth is different and if you’re not sure when it’s OK to take your child out, ask your child’s pediatrician.