Enterovirus 68

Hello Redwood’s Fans!

How has your week been? Mine? Busy at work. Are we seeing the dreaded Enterovirus 68? Why yes, yes we are.
To be honest with you, I just clued into this in the last week. For those of you who might be new to the blog (yea, new readers!), I work as a pediatric ER nurse in a pediatric dedicated urgent care/ER for my real job.

What we noticed was a heavy amount of respiratory related illnesses hitting earlier than ususal. The unit was very busy and we had quite a few admissions for children who needed oxygen with mild-moderate respiratory distress. 

It’s not unusual for the fall/winter to bring out viral illnesses. RSV and influenza are normal players but they usually don’t get off the bench until late November or December at the earliest. This is why we encourage people to get flu shots in October. So they have the requisite two weeks or so to build immunity. 
So, in September, when patient visits picked up precipitously– we were like, “What is going on?” 
Enterovirus 68. That’s what was going on.
Enterovirus is not new. It comes out to play this time of year. It usually causes mild fever and upper respiratory illness. Enterovirus 68 is just a little more potent. It is a virus so only symptomatic support will help. Meaning, if your oxygen level is low, we give you oxygen. In my experience, it is exacerbating asthma. A small subgroup of patients can also develop respiratory distress over the course of 6-12 hours from onset of illness. 
What should you do
1. Good hand washing is the best prevention. Stand six feet away from people who are coughing.
2. If your child develops a cold with fever, keep an eye of them for signs of respiratory distress and a few other things. If you see these, then seek medical evaluation as soon as possible. 
  • Consistently breathing fast.
  • Skin tugging with each breath (between the ribs, above the clavicles, above the sternum).
  • Pulling with their belly with each breath.
  • Nostrils flaring with each breath.
  • Color changes. Looking pale or blue.
  • Not drinking fluids.
  • Peeing significantly less than normal.
3. Encourage fluids. Don’t worry so much about them eating solids but they must drink and be peeing. 
Be assured that though kids are getting admitted to the hospital, most are coming through the illness with flying colors. There haven’t been any deaths, thus far, related to this virus. 
For you this week. 
I’m honored to have friend and author Julie Cantrell stop by to post this week about surviving her brother’s suicide. Suicide prevention week was last week and I’m honored to help spread her words for hope and healing.
Have a great week. 

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