While there are more than 100 types of enteroviruses known to science, Enterovirus D68 is the one getting all of the headlines. This particular virus was discovered in 1962, so it is not a new virus, and, in the past, it only affected a few people. Not so anymore. In 2014, the CDC announced that this bug had appeared nationwide and was sickening thousands of people.
The vast majority of people who come down with this illness feel as if they have a cold or slight flu. However, for some people, severe cases can cause serious health issues, especially with breathing. Those who have asthma or other respiratory problems can find themselves in need of immediate medical assistance. It has been reported that teens, babies, and children (6 weeks to 16 years old) are most susceptible, and anyone who has a weakened immune system may be at risk for serious complications which can include inflammation of the heart or brain and paralysis.
A major problem with this virus is that many of those who get it feel as if they are simply having a cold. They may have a fever, cough, sneezing, and runny nose. Because these symptoms are so common, those who may be susceptible to complications may not seek medical assistance until their condition becomes serious. The Enterovirus D68 is spread the same way that the regular cold and flu is spread, meaning by coming into contact with someone who already has the virus. Coughing, sneezing, and touching contaminated surfaces are all vehicles for the spread of the illness.
Because the virus spreads so easily, those who are in public areas, such as schools, will be especially vulnerable and this is why so many younger people are getting the illness and why it is spreading so quickly across the country.
There are some ways that you can protect yourself and your family. The following tips are easy to do and they work:
- Keep your hands washed on a regular basis. This is the best tip on this list as hand washing removes the viruses that may be present.
- Keep your hands away from your face, nose, eyes, and mouth. Having the virus on your hand does not infect you; putting your virus-hand to your mouth, nose, and eyes will infect you.
- When possible, avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing food and drink, especially if the other person is sick.
- Disinfect items in your home or workplace that people touch often (doorknobs, telephones, toys, etc).
- If you do get sick, there isn’t much that medicine can do for you. Antibiotics are not effective as this illness is caused by a virus and not by bacteria. Over-the-counter medicines such as pain relievers and fever reducers may be helpful. Rest and plenty of fluids can also help.
If symptoms you have increase or become more severe over time, it is important to get to a doctor as soon as possible. This can be especially important if you (or someone in your family) are having problems breathing.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of Patriot Surplus.