Each year, our country deals with respiratory illness in children and adults caused by enteroviruses and rhinoviruses – this year, the most common enterovirus is Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). Because they have not before been exposed to such an illness before and thus have not built up an immunity, children are at a higher risk for contracting EV-D68 than adults. The illness, as with most respiratory illnesses, affect those with asthma or a history of wheezing most severely. Though you cannot guarantee your child will not contract EV-D68, there are ways to help your chances of keeping the illness at bay.

To avoid spreading EV-D68 be sure to:

  • If your child has asthma, stick closely with the asthma care routine and keep a steroid inhaler around
  • Children should avoid coming into contact with body fluids like saliva and nasal secretions
  • Regularly clean common surfaces like doorknobs, and avoid sharing utensils and cups
  • Follow normal flu-prevention tips such as washing hands often; avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth; covering coughs and sneezing; and staying home when you are sick
  • Since children are at highest risk of contracting EV-D68, be sure they are eating immune-boosting foods and consume lots of vitamins
  • Eat high-antioxidant foods such as red beans, blueberries, blackberries and pinto beans
  • Consume anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, garlic, cinnamon and raw cocoa
  • Make sure your child understands the importance of washing one’s hands, and wash yours too
  • If you suspect your child may have come in contact with EV-D68, wash their clothes, hands and face to help lessen the chance of illness

Symptoms

If you or your child experiences these symptoms and have already gotten a flu shot, contact your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, body and muscle aches
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Without having a doctor or lab perform a test, it is impossible to know whether the virus is EV-D68 or another viral infection

The facts

  • From mid-August to October 22, 2014, state public health labs have confirmed that 941 total people in 46 states and D.C. contracted a respiratory illness, which was caused by EV-D68
  • EV-D68 can only be detected through a lab test
  • There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 – a doctor will determine a plan for relieving symptoms
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EV-D68’s prevalence should begin to decline by late fall
  • On October 14, 2014, the CDC began using its self-developed lab test to detect EV-D68; this new lab test is faster in response, giving the CDC the opportunity to determine whether an illness is caused at least in part by EV-D68