Sep 09, 2014
Rare Respiratory Virus Sending Children to the Hospital – Get The Facts & Take These Steps to Prevent It
A rarely reported respiratory illness, enterovirus 68 (EV-68), has suddenly landed dozens of children in the hospital in Missouri and Illinois. There are also suspected cases in ten other states – Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio and Utah.
So far all of the confirmed cases are children. There have been no fatalities reported, but the CDC is still investigating.
“The situation is evolving quickly” says Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC doesn’t yet have any official predictions of just how far it will spread.
EV-68 was confirmed in 19 of the 22 children tested in Missouri and 11 of 14 in Chicago – all of these children were hospitalized with similar respiratory symptoms.
Here’s what you need to know.
Q&A: EV-68 Facts and Prevention
Who is more susceptible?
Children are more susceptible to enteroviruses and EV-68 is no exception, especially if they have a pre-existing respiratory condition. So far, more than half of the reported cases are children who have a history of asthma or wheezing.
How does it develop?
EV-68 starts out as a common cold. It can worsen and cause severe respiratory issues such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.
When should I call the doctor?
Most sniffles and sneezes won’t amount to anything serious. However, if you notice that symptoms worsen and your child is having difficulty catching his or her breath, call the pediatrician right away. This is especially important if your child has a history of respiratory issues such as asthma.
How can I tell if a virus is getting more serious?
If your child has had a fever for more than three days, and has experienced a definite change in appetite, energy levels, and coloring, seek out a board-certified physician immediately!
How are children with EV-68 being treated?
There is no cure, nor is there an immunization for EV-68. The children who have been hospitalized are receiving help to manage their breathing – fluids, oxygen support and, in rare cases, mechanical ventilation. The virus usually passes in about a week.
How can I protect my family from getting EV-68?
- Manage asthma symptoms. If your child is asthmatic or has any other pre-existing respiratory conditions, it’s very important to manage the symptoms well. That way the respiratory system will be in better form in case the child does come into contact with EV-68.
- Make sure children wash their hands regularly. EV-68 is spread through respiratory droplets, contaminated surfaces and the fecal-to-oral route (think bathroom doorknobs and diaper changes). Teach children not to touch their eyes, mouth and nose with unclean hands. Don’t kiss or share utensils with anyone who is infected and disinfect toys if they have been touched by sniffly children.
- Keep your child’s diet healthy. Keep sweets to an occasional treat, avoid sugary drinks and keep gluten and dairy in check during this time of year.
- Green Juices 3x per week – try the child-friendly recipe at the bottom of this post! Drinking green juices speeds up detoxification and builds up the nervous system (which boosts immunity).
- Astragalus tincture – Give them one dropperful daily this season. Move to 3x per day at onset of cold. Astragalus boosts immunity and is great during season changes and other times of transition that can be stressful on the body.
- A daily probiotic to build immunity – 5 billion cfu per day.
- Vitamin d3 to regulate and strengthen the immune system – 1000 IU per day.
- Why did EV-68 suddenly emerge?
EV-68 is a rare type of enterovirus that was discovered in 1962 and has rarely been reported until the last several years. It is still unclear why there are so many cases this year. One theory is that since it’s now more common to test for EV-68, the increase in numbers is just showing what was there all along. However, there is definitely an abnormal trend popping up in multiple states, “clusters” of children hospitalized with respiratory infections. While it’s not uncommon to for children 2 and under to be hospitalized for complications from a respiratory virus, this season children of all ages (6 weeks to 16 years) are being treated. The mean age is 4-5. This is unusual.
Enteroviruses in general are quite common and often referred to as “summer colds.” They are most prevalent during August and September and are known for being nastier than their winter counterparts, with symptoms that are more severe – headache, sore throat, fever, cough & congestion and digestive issues such as diarrhea. Read more about enteroviruses and their characteristics here.
CHILD-FRIENDLY GREEN JUICE RECIPE
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 apple
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1/2 lemon (or lime)
Juice all ingredients and stir. Enjoy right away!
* This website is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Click here to read the medical disclaimer