Meghan King’s three kids are all recovering from the highly contagious hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD).
This past Wednesday, the Real Housewives of Orange County alum — who shares three children, twin boys Hart and Hayes, 3, and daughter Aspen, 5, with ex-husband Jim Edmonds — posted to Instagram how her kids were infected with the “gross“ virus, which presents as sores in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet.
Meghan King Reveals All 3 Kids Have Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
She shared photos of herself and the three when they were at the zoo, shots taken “moments before I realized they were infected.”
King, 37, went on to elaborate on the ordeal on her blog, saying that she first figured out the kids contracted the disease after Aspen complained about dots on her hands the morning of their trip to the zoo.
Initially, King dismissed them, assuming they were mosquito bites and that Aspen was just being “a bit of a drama queen” complaining about “a non-issue.” But after the complaints continued, King googled “dot rash” and realized what was going on.
“I cringe a bit with embarrassment and remorse as we exit [the zoo] as far apart from strangers as possible,” King recalled.
A pediatrician confirmed the diagnosis the next day. A family trip they had scheduled to Disneyland three days later had to be canceled as a result.
The former host of The Doctors and a member of PEOPLE’s Health Squad ER physician Dr. Travis Stork said HFMD symptoms usually present “a few days after initial infection including fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, and a general feeling of being unwell also known as malaise.”
“Other symptoms that present after the onset of infection include mouth sores and rashes and blisters on hands and feet that can sometimes spread to the knees, elbows, buttocks, or genital region,” he told PEOPLE in 2018.
Stork said HFMD can be spread through nose and throat secretions such as saliva and blister fluid.
“Young children under 5 years old are most at risk of becoming infected because they often put their hands in their mouth and have weakened immune systems,” he clarified. “HFMD is highly contagious and is spread person-to-person. Those infected are most contagious within the first week of their illness but can still spread the virus for the next three weeks.”
When it comes to treatment, Stork explained that while the disease cannot be treated, symptoms can be reduced within a week through over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which can help with fever and other pains. “It is also advised to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration that can occur when a sore throat makes it difficult to swallow.”
Symptoms of the disease usually fade within a week, Stork said. Infected children should be kept away from school or child care centers until he or she has been without a fever for at least 24 hours.
Adults can also get HFMD, Stork warned, “but often exhibit no symptoms of the infection and can unknowingly spread the disease to other individuals.”
And thankfully, the kids are on the up and up.
“Thank goodness my kids weren’t severely affected,” she wrote. “They didn’t have fevers, and other than being a little whiny they felt fine, ate fine, and acted normal. Hart and Aspen had sores in their mouths, Aspen had red ‘dots’ all over her hands, Hart’s left foot and between his toes completely blistered but his right foot was fine, and Hayes had about 5 ‘dots’ in total.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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