CNN reports that some children admitted to hospitals in Colorado and Boston with the virus have also experienced paralysis in their limbs, neck, and face. The worst cases may be permanent. The CDC, however, is still working on establishing a cause-effect relationship between EV-D68 and the recent reports of paralysis.
Interestingly, this is not the first time Enterovirus D68 and paralysis have been seen together. In California last year, children with EV-D68 also reported symptoms of paralysis (CNN). It’s curious why nothing was done about it then, for to-date, there still is no specific treatment or vaccine and no real answers for concerned parents.
Some info you CAN grab onto – symptoms of EV-D68 may include:
- cold-like symptoms
- stomach pulling in forcefully
- having trouble eating or speaking
- blueness around the lips
- weakness in the limbs, neck, and face*
*Although the CDC has not definitively concluded that the paralysis symptoms are directly linked to EV-D68, as a parent, I would want to err on the side of caution. In any case, a child that has trouble moving, whether or not it’s in conjunction with confirmed EV-D68 symptoms, is in need of medical attention.
Contrary to the tone of sensationalized media, it’s not all doom and gloom. Enteroviruses are quite common. In fact, 10 to 15 million people get them and recover per year (CDC).
What parents can do to protect their kids against EV-D68
- Teach the kids to wash their hands efficiently and frequently.
- Avoid contact with sick people, even if it’s just a cold.
- Do not send your children to school sick; again, even if it’s just a cold.
- And never underestimate the immune system benefits of a nutritious, balanced diet and eight hours sleep per night!