Chances are you have heard about the mystery virus that is now in at least 18 states and has prompted the hospitalization of thousands of young children with respiratory symptoms, including asthma-like breathing problems. Today, I will shed some light on what this “mystery” is, and what you can do to prepare yourself and your family for this and other viruses (e.g. colds and flu) that take hold this time of year.
According to Web MD, the “mystery virus” virus is known as Enterovirus D68. It was first identified in this country in 1962. Several sources like Web MD and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), report that they don’t know why Enterovirus D68 is on the rise this year. Additionally, they can’t tell us why this hardy virus has presented with an intensified impact on the lungs; especially in children that already have a history of asthma.
What we do know, is that it starts out like a typical cold with runny nose, sneezing, and then coughing. Typically the wheezing and breathing difficulties start fairly soon; often two or three days from the onset of cold-like symptoms. While fever can be part of this illness, at the present time, it has been reported that only 25-30% of children who end up being diagnosed with this virus actually experienced fever as a symptom. EV-D68 is spread by coming in contact with an infected person’s saliva, nasal secretions, or sputum. It appears that older people may have immunity to this virus due to previous exposures to it. That is one reason why this is being seen predominantly in children. If there is a concern about your child’s symptoms, seek appropriate medical attention promptly, because as of early October, 2 children have died from complications of this virus, and at least ten have experienced paralysis.
What can we do for prevention?
Here are a few prevention strategies that have helped reduce my occurrence of viruses, colds and flu.
- Cut the junk out of your diet and the diets of those you love. Sugar suppresses the immune system’s ability to function at the cellular level.
- Eat more whole, clean foods and consider taking a whole food concentrate!
- Drink plenty of purified water.
- Obtain the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep nightly.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Spend enough time lathering and rinsing that you can sing “The Happy Birthday Song” before you dry them. Note: It is NOT recommended to use hand sanitizers to achieve the results you need. Chemical hand sanitizers can destroy the necessary good bacteria.
- Do not allow the sharing of cups and utensils.
- Encourage coughing into a tissue (and discarding it); or, if one is not available, people can cough into the crook of their arm.