Category Archives: enterovirus d68

Enterovirus D68: Separating Fact from Fiction

Many parents are concerned about the dangers of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) due to how the media is covering the virus.Enterovirus D68 - Sick Little Girl

Enterovirus D68 is a virus that has not been widespread in the past. This year it is spreading more rapidly. I felt compelled to share the facts about this virus because I keep seeing information shared that is not 100% factual. Let’s separate the fact from the fiction and hopefully set some parents’ minds at ease.

Important Facts About Enterovirus D68

Here are important facts about Enterovirus D68:

  • EV-D68 was originally identified in 1962. Since then, there have only been small outbreaks, most of which rarely spread across state lines. This year’s outbreak has spread rapidly, possibly because very few children have developed immunity to Entervirus D68 due to never having been exposed. Most adults are not affected, as they have developed resistance (from exposure to other viruses) that provides protection. Enteroviruses are usually most active between July – October, so the current spread is in line with normal occurrences.
  • The CDC confirmed cases of EV-D68 in 22 states as of September 19. It is important to note that the number of confirmed cases (160) is small because most children infected with EV-D68 do not need medical attention and are therefore not tested. Hospitals only recently began testing for this specific virus since the likelihood of it being the cause of breathing problems was almost nonexistent until recently.
  • No deaths have occurred from the virus so far.
  • Most children who become ill have nothing more than typical cold and flu symptoms. Few children wind up being hospitalized, and most don’t even need to see a doctor.
  • The virus is closely related to hand, foot and mouth disease. It shares some of the same symptoms, although EV-D68 may have a stronger effect on the lungs and usually does not cause a fever. Children who have had hand, foot and mouth disease seem to have less likelihood of contracting EV-D68 or from having serious symptoms.
  • Ninety percent of the children hospitalized had pre-existing asthma or other upper-respiratory diseases or conditions that weakened their immunity.
  • Enterovirus D68 is a virus. Antibiotics are ineffective against it, and there is no known cure. Mainstream treatments focus on lessening the symptoms. Those with serious symptoms are put on supplemental oxygen, given breathing treatments, or – in extreme cases – put on a respirator to aid breathing until the virus runs its course.

Typical Symptoms of Enterovirus D68

The typical indicators of Enterovirus D68 include, but may not be limited to:

  • Runny nose, cough, sneezing, etc.
  • Body aches 
  • Mouth sores or blisters (do not occur in every case, but are possible)
  • Fever (unusual in this season’s outbreak) 

Extreme cases may include the following symptoms, each of which requires immediate medical intervention:

  • Fever above 103 degrees F. 
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty in breathing:  Difficult breathing is not always easy to recognize. Look for extremely rapid, shallow breathing, with breaths occurring more frequently than one per second. Watch your child’s ribs. If you can visibly see the skin being “sucked in” between the ribs with each breath, that is an indicator medical intervention is needed immediately. 
  • Continuous coughing 
  • If you notice any of the above symptoms, please call your physician or take your child to the emergency room immediately. Call 911 if your child is unconscious, has blue lips, or other severe symptoms.

Protective Measures Against Enterovirus D68

Enteroviruses are all relatively hardy and can live for quite a while on surfaces. The virus is carried in body fluids, mucus, snot, etc. Potential ways to lessen the likelihood of the virus include:

  • You know the drill – frequent hand washing, teaching children to sneeze and cough into their elbows, etc. There is no need to use antibacterial soaps. ALL soap is antibacterial. The chemicals in antibacterial products are known to be dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Making a spray using 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of alcohol, 40 drops of tea tree oil, 40 drops of lavender essential oil and 40 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil. Blend well and keep in a glass spray bottle. Spray on counters, door knobs, faucets, etc. to help kill viral cells.
  • Give your children Vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of the most powerful immunity boosters known. Most children over age two need a minimum of 1000 IUs per day for maximum immunity. This is especially true if you live in a climate that prevents daily sun exposure. There is no need to worry about toxicity at this dose. For more information about Vitamin D, read: Twenty Surprising Facts About Vitamin D.
  • Taking Vitamin C throughout the virus and flu season is known to reduce infection rates. Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosage, but know it’s safe to double the recommended dose at the first sign of a cold or flu. I recommend continuing the double dose until symptoms abate. 
  • Use Elderberry Syrup if you suspect your child has caught a virus. Elderberry is an extremely powerful antiviral that is known to be effective against the enterovirus. It can also be taken as an immunity booster prior to illness, but I would definitely use it at the first sign of a cold or virus. It tastes great, so getting children to take it is nice and easy.
  • If your child has asthma or any other chronic illness, discuss and create a care plan with your physician prior to illness. Keep the plan handy and be ready to implement it immediately when illness occurs. 
  • If your child catches what appears to be a cold but symptoms rapidly worsen or your mother’s instinct insists something is wrong, call your physician. Take your child to the emergency room or call 911 if symptoms become severe.

The good news about the virus is that we are hopefully nearing the end of its “season.” Higher number of cases also mean we now have higher immunity throughout the country. 

Has your child dealt with Enterovirus D68? What were your experiences?