Enterovirus D68 Spreading – What Parents Need to Know

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My daughter recently recovered from a mysterious respiratory illness that matches Enterovirus D68 — a respiratory virus affecting children in schools, especially those with asthma. She came home from school one day with a little wheezing (she has asthma — no biggie; we handled it). However, by the next day, she was coughing, fighting to breathe, and a flurry of symptoms escalated from there. It was like those roller coaster rides where they just drop you out of the air . . . only you didn’t know you were going for a ride. But it doesn’t have to be that scary if you know what to expect.

Enterovirus D68 has been reported in 21 states so far and is expected to spread across the entire country and across borders. Although this is a serious matter that is affecting our kids, there is no cause for alarm. Enteroviruses are rather common. According to the CDC, 10 to 15 million people are infected with them per year.

“What’s unusual this time is this strain is causing severe respiratory disease,” Kennedy University Hospital Chief of Infectious Diseases David Condoluci told NJ.com. “We haven’t seen this strain for a long time, so a lot of kids don’t have the immunity for it.” Nor does the CDC have vaccines or specific treatments for this strain. (Washington Post)

How do you know if your child is infected?

The bad news is that this respiratory illness comes on fast, making it nearly impossible to tell if your child has it until he’s coughing and having difficulty breathing. There is no definitive test yet, therefore, look for these symptoms:

  • wheezing
  • stomach pulling in forcefully
  • having trouble eating or speaking
  • blueness around the lips

What do you do if your child gets the virus?

If your child (or you, or anyone in your family — adults are not immune, unfortunately) exhibits any of the above symptoms, he will require medical attention. Dr. Besser tells ABC News, the treatment for Enterovirus D68 is much the same as for asthmatic patients: medicine to open the airways and allow your child to breathe without untreated respiratory distress.

How do you protect your child from this disease?

Thus far, the only recommended prevention is to wash those hands. And with school-aged kids, this is a challenge, which is probably why it’s spreading so fast. Just do your best to keep little hands clean. And if your child gets sick anyway, stay calm, don’t blame yourself, follow the tips above, and know you will all get through this.

Thank you for being tuned in parents. I welcome your comments, suggestions, and parenting tips! There’s more for you, too, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

-Elle C.

References:
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/respiratory-virus-enterovirus-d68-spreads-northeast/story?id=25491529
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/09/15/respiratory-virus-enterovirus-d68-hits-the-northeast/

About Elle C. Mayberry

Elle C. Mayberry is a mom and author, who just released a new children’s book with her young daughter. With a passion for parenting and degrees in psychology and “make it workology,” she created Tuned In Parents (TiP).

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