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Enterovirus D68: How Can You Keep Your Children Safe?

By: Wieke von Scheidt
Enterovirus

With the start of the Fall season the flu is not the only highly contagious disease we need to worry about.  People are getting  increasingly concerned about a virus, called Enterovirus D68 that is slowly making its way from state to state. Parents are particularly worried because it affects children more often than adults.  The symptoms start out with a mild cold to later become more severe, affecting children’s respiratory system.

What is it?

Enteroviruses have been around for a long time, usually causing colds, fever, headaches, vomiting, and rashes in addition to other symptoms. EV-D68 is an unusual strain causing more severe symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing. This may cause particular concerns for parents with children who have lung problems or asthma because it is harder to recognize. In some cases kids had been hospitalized because they required mechanical ventilator in order to breathe properly. The Center of Disease Control is paying close attention to the development of this virus.

How can you get it?

D68 is spreading like many other viruses through body fluids, like saliva, nasal secretion, as well as other kinds of interactions. The time of year Enteroviruses seem to affect more people is in the Summer and the numbers decrease in the Fall.

How to protect yourself?

  • Keep away from sick people
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for about 20 seconds
  • Don’t put backpacks, purses, jackets or other items on restroom floors and counters.
  • Pack reusable water bottles instead of using public water fountains.
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you
  • Don’t share bottles, and utensils
  • Wipe down surfaces with disinfectant wipes
  • Avoid hugging and kissing while being sick

How to treat it?

There is no vaccine or specific medication to treat Enteroviruses. All that can be done is to relief patience of symptoms through mechanical ventilators, and over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. Therefore it is important for parents to take be cautious and take preliminary actions to avoid infections.

For more detailed information visit Centers of Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/index.html

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/protecting-children-enterovirus-d68-201409227455
http://childrenshospitalblog.org/what-to-know-about-enterovirus-d68/
http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/ev-d68.html
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