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  Fire got sick last week and the doctors here don't know what it was.  I thought I'd ask all of you about it in case you've seen something like this in your kids.  It went like this:
   Sunday morning: Fire starts showing signs of an ear infection with pulling and digging at both his ears.  We clean them out and give him some pain medicine to help get him through the weekend
  Monday evening: Still having ear infection symptoms with no improvement.  His skin feels warm but he doesn't have a fever (temp is ~99.1).  His lips are starting to crack and he has dry skin around his mouth.  For those of you that have winter, it looks like he's been licking around his mouth, all red and cracking.  Lotion doesn't help.  He screams in pain when we try to clean out his ears that night
  Tuesday morning:  Fire still feels warm but doesn't have a fever.  The skin around his mouth is worse and his skin looks a bit red. He has what appear to be hives on his trunk but they're not itchy.   He cries when I accidently run my fingers over his skin when I put him down (no nails, just my fingers).  I call the hospital and get the earliest appointment available.  The doctor (the same one we've had run-ins with in the past (arrgghhh!), says that he does seem to have an ear infection but that it should clear up on its own.  I'm fine with less antibiotic so I agree.  He doesn't think that the rash around Fire's mouth or the hives are anything special and sends us home.  While at home, Fire's winkie seems to be bothering him when it rubs in his underpants so I put him in a diaper and call a nurse.  They make another appointment in the afternoon that D takes him to.  Same doctor says that his winkie is a little inflamed but again, no big deal.  Send them home.
  That evening, Fire is looking bright red and still feels warm.  The non-itchy hives have spread to his back and upper arms and thighs and his ears are red and so swollen they stick out form his head like dumbo ears.  We run into the hospital administrator here who agrees with me that something's wrong and encourages us to get a second opinion if we feel we need one (that woman is great!  She's been a breath of fresh air into the hospital).  I call the hospital and speak to another doctor.  She is reluctant to see Fire but finally tells us to bring him in.  I feel guilty that I might be wasting her time but something is definitely wrong with my kid.
  The second doctor diagnoses a much more severe ear infection and thinks that Fire might be having a different reaction to the hand, foot, and mouth disease that had been going around.  We are told to keep him home and to bring him in to see her in two days.
 The pictures below were taken on Wednesday.  The skin that had been red on Fire's face had turned dark brown and started to peel and the rash was spreading over his body.  In the second picture, you can see his red and swollen ears.
    Thursday morning:  Fire is still very uncomfortable in his skin.  He can't be outside for more than a few minutes without acting uncomfortable and rubbing his skin.  He doesn't want to be touched hard and want to snuggle but can play on his own indoors. We see the second doctor again and she says that his ear infection isn't clearing up and that she sees some evidence of persistant infection (we get to take him to an audiologist next time we're in the states- yay!).  Because he's got a little peeling on the bottoms of his feet, she diagnosis HFM and says no school until Tuesday.  She recommends keeping his skin moisturized to reduce the inflammation and peeling.
  The picture below was taken on Saturday evening.  You can see how much the peeling had spread on his back.  We'd gone out for a walk and Fire was so uncomfortable in his clothes that I took his shirt off. 

  So what do you think?  A different reaction to hand, foot, and mouth?  The rest of the kids on island that got it had the usual sores in the usual places but none of the Marshallese kids here got them.  Also, Sky never got HFM and when I asked Fire's teachers about this, they said they'd never heard of anything like it.  While researching rashes, I stumbled across fifth disease, also known as parvovirus.  It seemed likely because of the constant low fever and the redness had started on Fire's cheeks matched the "slapcheek" rash that's diagnostic for parvo, but the doctors disagreed because they said other kids would have had it, since it's a catching virus like HFM (coxsackie virus).  A friend suggested that since Fire still so young, his immune system just freaked out about something new.  I think she might have something there since it seems like the rash and peeling were more in-line with an auto-immune reaction.  It's also worth noting that Sky never had any of these symptoms.
  Have you seen something like this in your kids?  Have any guesses as to what Fire might have had?  He's better now, happily with no scarring from the peeling, back at school and excited to see his friends again every day.


  1. Amber, I was going to say 5th disease, Penny had that when she was a little older then Teshie, may be about 3 or 4. It was the warm skin, bright red etc. But she didn't have the peeling.
    5th disease is a form of measles. We used calimine lotion when she had it to keep the skin cool It seemed to work, Sorry I don't have anymore tips for you. But I will be praying for all of you to get through this love ya!

    1. Thanks Auntie LuAnn! Teshie's almost completely better now, just peeling at his ankles and wrists with no signs that the rash is restarting. Calamine's a great idea- we used cool baths every day before nap time with bath salts to help soften his skin.


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