A rare respiratory illness continues to sweep across the United States, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works with multiple state entities to come up with a solution. Enterovirus D68, a non-polio variation of the enterovirus, has been spreading like wildfire since healthcare providers began seeing a condition that presents itself as a severe cold at the beginning of September. As of a September 8 report from Knoxville’s WBIR, enterovirus D68 was in only 10 states. Today, that number has doubled.
Part of the reason that reactions to the problem have been so slow is that healthcare providers simply assumed that patients showing symptoms of the virus had a bad cold. The average child catches between six and 10 colds each year, and with summer officially ending in only four days, the season for colds is rapidly approaching. However, now that 153 children across 19 states have come down with enterovirus D68, medical professionals are warning parents not to assume that their children have only the common cold.
Of those affected by the virus, none have died. That could quickly change, though, as the illness causes “severe breathing problems,” as a recent Washington Post report put it so succinctly. Left untreated, enterovirus D68 moves from mild wheezing and discomfort when breathing to what are effectively full blown asthma attacks.
Prevention of Enterovirus D68 Requires No Special Steps
Fortunately, even as the virus continues to prove itself extremely infectious, the CDC notes that this isn’t a time for panic. So far, doctors have found success treating D68 just like more common respiratory conditions. Steps to prevent contracting D68 are the same as those for the common cold: washing hands regularly, avoiding exchange of bodily fluids with sick individuals, and keeping the house clean have all been shown to be effective prophylactic steps. In other words, it’s not quite the doomsday disease some have made it out to be.
Have you or has anyone in your family dealt with this condition? What were some of the treatments your doctor used to get you through? Let us know in the comments below.