It’s cold and flu season once again. If that wasn’t bad enough, hearing about Ebola and Enterovirus D68 have become all too common in the news lately. As a parent of school aged children, I know how easily something like Enterovirus D68 can spread through a school and make it’s way into our homes. Kids are especially prone to get sick from sharing germs so it is especially important to follow these simple hygiene tips
Prevent the spread of Enterovirus D68 and other respiratory illnesses by following and teaching your children these simple steps:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Teach young children to sing the ABC song while washing their hands. When the song is over, they can rinse.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. This is a hard one but is so important!
- Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands. Teach young children the “dracula sneeze” instead of sneezing in their hands. A tissue is best but is not always available so this is a good alternative.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick. Don’t forget, these same tips apply to your office. One sick co-worker can affect an entire office for weeks!
- Have a professional evaluate the air and surfaces in your home or office to ensure that you and your family are not re-infecting each other in the home. A healthy habitat keeps bacteria and virus’s at bay so you get over sickness quickly.
- The greatest way to stop the spread of these illnesses at work and in school is to stay home when you are sick. We know this is hard. No one wants to miss work or for the kids to miss school. The fact of the matter is when you or your child are severely ill and you run the risk of infecting others and in turn might cause you to become ill again and no one wants that!
What are the symptoms of Enterovirus D68 infection?
Even with the best hygiene practices you or your child might still contract Enterovirus D68 so it is important to know the differences between this virus and the flu or a bad cold.
- Mild symptoms are similar to a severe cold or the flu and may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
- Severe symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty breathing
Enterovirus D68 can only be diagnosed by doing specific lab tests on specimens from a person’s nose and throat so it is important to see a physician if you suspect you are your children might have it. Catching this infection early on can prevent the risk of severe complications.