Monday, September 29, 2014

September in a Nutshell

What is the EV-D68 Virus?

By Squiggy the Squirrel

You may have seen on the news or heard on the radio lately about the respiratory virus that has been spreading across our country. Enterovirus D68, also known as EV-D68, is a rare but not a new virus. It was first identified in California in the 1960s but there have been fewer than 100 reported cases since that time, until recently. 

From mid-August to mid-September, over 150 people from 40 states, including DC, Maryland, and Virginia, were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. It's expected that more states will have confirmed cases in the upcoming weeks.

EV-D68 spreads from person-to-person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces. The virus causes mild to severe respiratory illness. Initial symptoms are similar to those for the common cold: runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. As it progresses, symptoms that are more serious may occur, including difficulty breathing, dehydration, and potentially respiratory failure. Infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to become ill from the virus. Many of the children affected so far had asthma or a history of wheezing.

There's no specific treatment for EV-D68 and no vaccine, so the illness has to run its course. Most people recover completely and few need to be hospitalized.

What Should You Do?

Below are some tips to help prevent the spread of EV-D68:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you; use it especially when on public transportation, in large groups, or public places
  • Use tissues
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands
  • Buy sanitizing wipes to frequently clean cell phones, computers, and toys
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • If you're sick, stay home from work or school
  • Get your flu vaccine. While flu vaccinations don't prevent EV-D68, flu season is just around the corner and now's a good time to get your annual shot!
  • Take a course. The Red Cross Online Family First Aid and Pediatric CPR course includes lessons on how to respond to respiratory and cardiac emergencies. Go to for more information.

Share these tips with family and friends so we can all work together to prevent the spread of this virus! It's National Preparedness Month, after all - so let's prepare!


No comments:

Post a Comment