Enterovirus 68, We Need Answers
Update 9-22-2014: There are now 22 states in total confirming to have the Enterovirus 68. According to the list, the states that are added to the list of confirming cases are California, Georgia, Michigan, Virginia, Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Health professionals in Michigan are urging parents to keep children from crowded areas where children may be playing and to wash hands thoroughly.
Continue reading for ways to protect yourself and your family.
Every year there is always a new concern in disease and illness prevention. Parents of young children know this first hand. Depending on which State you live in, you will be warned about safeguarding your families against certain viruses and bacteria.
The latest concern is centered in the Midwest region and parts of the South. A rare virus known as the Enterovirus 68 seems to be plaguing children just as they are returning back to school.
This virus starts out as the common cold—coughing and wheezing, and can spread quickly. Parents are being told to watch out for other children that are ill and teach their children to do the same. The illness can become quite dangerous as symptoms turn from the common cold to severe respiratory distress within hours of its onset.
When was this virus discovered?
The first known case of Enterovirus 68 was discovered in the 1960’s in California. Since its discovery, through 2005, there have only been 26 reported cases to the CDC.
Why are children being infected?
It seems that children are more susceptible to the dangers of the virus because their immune systems are weaker. Although adults can contract the virus it is yet unknown if the reaction will be the same. It is possible that symptoms could be less prominent according to the CDC.
Which States are affected?
The State of Michigan is reporting dozens of severe respiratory in the Southeast region from area hospitals. However, there are still no confirmed cases. A test can determine any confirmed cases. Other states such as Kentucky, Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma have been affected by the virus.
What should you know about this illness?
Since there is not a lot of information available about the illness here are some facts that you should know:
- It occurs in the spring, summer, and fall months.
- Colorado is the hardest hit area this year.
- There are no vaccines available.
- This is a more severe strain than in past years.
- Children with respiratory illnesses, asthma, or other immune compromising issues such as congenital heart disease are susceptible.
- There are no treatments available other than breathing treatments if needed.
- There are no anti-viral drugs to treat the illness.
Where is this illness coming from?
If you have been glued to the news stations during these past few months, you may have seen media coverage on everything from the border patrol problems to potential wars in the Middle East. Many are seeking answers from health departments and professionals as to how and why innocent children are sickened. Who is to blame? Of course there is always someone that has a conspiracy theory that this is being used as a weapon of war. Whatever the case, we want answers.
Many of the comments on an article from the Washington Post are attributing the sickness to children crossing the borders illegally. Many of the children came to the United States with illnesses that were practically eliminated in this country. These questions and discussion have been raised in private conversations, on Facebook, on some of the authority blog, and news sites.
While no one can come up with a clear reason as to why this outbreak has surfaced, or why this sickness has seemed to have mutated in severity the public still wants answers.
What can you do protect yourself and family?
Since there is no vaccine or treatment available you should follow the set protocol for cold and flu prevention:
Sneezing or coughing in arms
My mother used to say, “Cover your mouth when you cough.” She meant cover your mouth with your hand. That is no longer the case. When covering your mouth in that manner you will spread your germs to the surfaces that you touch and to others. Therefore, teach your family to sneeze and cough into the inside of their arm.
Frequent hand washing
I am amazed at how many people do not wash their hands properly after using the restroom or before handling meals. The rule of thumb is to wash with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. If you sang the alphabet song while washing, then you will reach the 30 second mark. If you should hashing your hands frequently if you notice signs of illness in your family or coworkers. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently as well.
Staying away from sick people and staying home when you are sick
It is important to take extra precaution to notice others that are sick. Check for signs of tiredness, sneezing, coughing, and a general look of being unwell. Often times parents will send their children to school with colds and will go to work feeling ill. It is important to give yourself a chance to get better through resting. In essence the viruses can be contained if you stay away from others.
Disinfecting your home, car, and work areas
You should be cleaning your surfaces often. Anything that you touch could harbor the germs that you are trying to prevent. That means cleaning your doorknobs, counter tops, computer keyboards, car door handles, steering wheels, seat belts, desks, and phones. I go as far as spraying furniture with a disinfectant spray. One of the items I am using a peroxide wipe that protects against all kinds of viruses. I use the wipes to disinfect all surfaces.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is essential to building immunity. It will help you fight off infections within the body.
Partaking and cooking with garlic
Garlic is one of my favorite defenses in helping to fight off the cold and flu. Once I notice any feelings of malaise, chills in my bones, or sore throat I quickly go to my refrigerator for the garlic. I take a big spoonful of minced garlic with a glass of water and swallow like a pill to avoid the after taste. I consume it 3 times per day and include it in any broths I drink while feeling sick. My children have been raised on garlic and gladly take it when there seems to be a threat of a cold virus in their bodies.
Warning, raw garlic is very hot, that is why I use store bought minced garlic. It works just as well.