A hard core respiratory virus, Enterovius 68, or HEV 68.
There has been a spike in hospital visits in several states. In fact, twelve states have contacted the CDC for assistance in investigating clusters of enterovirus: Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Utah. Four states have confirmed cases of the virus; Colorado, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa
It’s been all over the media outlets in the last couple of days, and more so online in the special needs forums. Parents are worried. People who are immunocompromised get hit the hardest and the longest. Caregivers have to be in tune to what’s going on with our family members, things can turn so quickly.
As we kick off school season and often a pretty sick time for the immunocompromised I put together this list of things to do to not spread germs! Many are likely a review, but a reminder never hurt.
1. Wash your hands. Do it frequently! When you don’t have water available use hand sanitizer. I keep some in the door of my car for when I get in and out of the car. When kids get in from school I encourage them to use it.
2. No more handshakes and high fives! Encourage your kids to fist bump instead. It’s fun and according to another mom, it will up their cool factor. One special needs mom even stated her own campaign to make elbow bumping a thing. Whatever you have to do!
3. Avoid touching your face. While germs may land in your nose, eyes and mouth from someone sneezing or coughing, it’s more likely for you to touch a surface with the germ on it and then touch your face. Use your shirt or a tissue to scratch your face if you have an itch.
4. Cover your coughs. From an early age we have tried to teach our children to cough into their elbows. They are kids and they don’t always remember, but once you get on a kick they happily (kind of) like to remind each other. Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue is a better idea but… Let’s be realistic. We will settle for an elbow!
5. Disinfecting wipes. I have a special place in my heart for these! I cannot believe the number of people that don’t use them on their shopping carts, especially now that many stores provide them! Wipe down the handle of the cart, around the edges, the child seat and buckle. Wipes are also great in the home for doorknobs, light switches and remote controls.
I am pretty sure that if I didn’t have a special needs child I would err I the side of “exposing children to come germs builds immunity”. (How many times have you been told this when pulling out the disinfectant spray?) However, last year, Dylan missed over a week of school for a cold that had my other children slightly bothered for only a short weekend. Last year I took her to the hospital to get suctioned a couple times for what I thought was RSV but turned out to be the Rhinovirus, a virus related to this bad bug that’s going around.
People with children that have respiratory diseases can’t afford to see how germs “might build immunity”.
I hope this helps, stay healthy people!
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net