With the coming of fall – so too comes the flu season. One common malady that presents itself in both the summer and the fall are enteroviruses – which normally causes flu-like systems in healthy adults but can be more harmful for children and the elderly. This virus affects approximately 15 million people in the US, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Younger children and teens may be more susceptible as their immune systems are not fully matured. In addition, people with compromised immune systems can also become very sick.
From mid-August to October 31, 2014, CDC or state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 1,105 people in 47 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.
For most healthy adults, this virus usually presents mild symptoms such as the achy feelings one gets when a flu strikes. Other indicators of enteroviruses could be a fever, mouth blisters or a runny nose, reports the CDC. While enteroviruses are not usually harmful for healthy adults, the CDC recommends rest and fluids as the best treatments (as antibiotics do not work in a virus).
So how does one actually contract enteroviruses? The CDC says a person “…can get infected by having close contact with an infected person. You can also get infected by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.” Some parents are considering indoor air purification systems like Air Scrubber Plus, utilizing a revolutionary new technology that has been scientifically proven to reduce up to 99% of the harmful contaminants in the air and surfaces of the home.
Those more at risk from enteroviruses, such as the elderly, the very young and those who have a deficient immune systems may suffer from infection of their heart or brain or even become paralyzed, reports the CDC. In addition, the CDC says that newborns infected with non-polio enterovirus may develop sepsis (infection of the blood and other organs), but fortunately this is very rare.
While there is no way to completely protect yourself from the risk of enterovirus D68, the CDC recommends the following tips for staying healthy:
1. Always wash your hands with both soap and warm water – especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper – or any activity where viruses could be contracted.
2. If a friend, family member or colleague is sick, if possible, try to keep your distance.
3. Continue to ensure your house or office is cleaned – especially surfaces in the kitchen and bathrooms to keep viruses at bay.