AOM Treatment of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

I hope everyone is having a nice week. I hope you had a chance to try the meditation from last week's blog. 

This week's blog is what I originally had planned for last week. As you may remember, one of the focuses in AOM is pediatrics. As a result, I have been researching a prominent childhood disease called hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). I was inspired to research this subject because it is a very common childhood illness in this area. Local MDs report many cases in the past few months; several have been severe. After interviewing a number of pediatricians and researching the disease, it appears there is no treatment (Tx) targeting the virus through biomedicine. There are many ways of managing the symptoms (sx), such as fever reducers, painkillers and ointments, but nothing that targets the virus. In AOM understanding, biomedicine is treating the branches of the virus--the resulting sx, but not the root--the actual disease.

If you are not familiar with HFMD, according to the CDC, HFMD is a virus caused by a group of viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus. The Enterovirus genus includes the viruses: polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses. The most common cause of HFMD in the United States is Coxsackievirus A16. Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is also a form of HFMD (more predominate in the Asia-Pacific region). HFMD occurs most in children and infants under five years of age. Adults can also acquire the disease, but that is rarer and may coincide with an underlying immune deficiency. "There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. However, some things can be done to relieve symptoms" (cdc.gov).

The most common initial sx of HFMD are fever, general malaise (fatigue) and a sore throat. About two days later, blisters inside the mouth and throat appear accompanied by rash and/or blisters around the outside of the mouth, on the feet, hands, elbows, knees and genitalia. Abdominal discomfort and loss of appetite may also occur. As a result of these sx, the child may stop eating and drinking. Severe sx of dehydration can quickly occur. Recently, local cases in the area have lead to dehydration and cause for hospitalization.   

2012-07-31_Blisters

2012-07-31_Foot Blisters

Fortunately, AOM has many treatments for HFMD.  Many research studies show AOM is successful at treating the root and the branch-virus and the resulting sx, of HFMD. One of the main reasons AOM is successful at Tx HFMD is because it looks at the individualized pattern diagnosis for each patient. While the AOM practitioner understands the biomedical element of HFMD, the practitioner focuses on the patient's entire health along with the new symptoms. As a result, the patient is treated holistically, resulting in both viral and symptom treatment.

As discussed in previous blogs, pediatric massage called Tui Na is very beneficial in treating many conditions, especially pediatric conditions. Acupressure and acupuncture have also been shown to create significant results in the Tx of HFMD.

The most prominent form of AOM Tx of HFMD is the application of herbal formulas and pastes. Research has shown significant results using the application of oriental herbal formulas, both biochemically and in clinical trials. Since AOM views each patient individually and treats the patients diagnosed pattern, not the diagnosis of HFMD, there are several recommended formulas. Additionally, each formula can be modified for each individual case. For example, if the child is having difficulty drinking and eating due to pain, herbs to help express and heal the blisters and reduce the pain may be added. If the patient is having excessive itching, herbs to minimize the symptom of itching can be added. In theory, these herbs aren't added symptomatically, but instead through a differential diagnosis that takes both symptoms and the patient's current and underlying constitution into consideration. This is one of the many benefits of oriental medical herbs. This is also the reason patients should only take oriental medical herbs under the care and direction of an oriental medical herbologist. Great consideration must be given to every herb advised in order to create a beneficial, harmonious result.

Works Cited:

"Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)."Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 3 July 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/about/index.html>.