Dr Oz: Mysterious Respiratory Virus
Dr Oz spoke out to parents of young children. The CDC is warning about a rapidly spreading virus that seems like a cold but can lead to life-threatening breathing problems. The topic of conversation was Enterovirus D68, which is attacking American children.
Up to 27 states have suspected cases, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said things could get worse. Enterovirus D68 is a rare condition related to the virus that causes the common cold. If your child has trouble breathing, asthma, or severe allergies, watch for serious symptoms.
Dr Oz: Enterovirus D68
Dr Oz said that no adult cases have been reported so far. The CDC has issued a nationwide alert for this virus, for which there is no vaccine or proven treatment. Two experts joined Dr Oz to contribute to this public health warning.
Dr Alan Greene, a pediatrician, predicted that the virus would continue to spread. It tends to peak in the late fall, though cases can pop up into spring. Especially in children with allergies or asthma, the condition can deteriorate rapidly.
Dr Oz: Why Is Enterovirus Spreading?
What is causing this virus to spread? Dr Gail Shust, assistant professor of pediatric infectious disease at Mount Sinai Hospital, said what’s unusual about this strain of Enterovirus is its severity and number of cases.
One theory is that this strain may be more infectious. The CDC is working on getting some answers. Dr Shust said that the first cases popped up in August 2014, and Enterovirus D68 is relatively uncommon.
You could get this virus in the same way that you get a cold. Virus particles wind up in the back of your throat, before traveling into the lungs, causing inflammation. That’s where this condition becomes potentially dangerous.
Dr Oz: Why Is Enterovirus Not Affecting Adults?
What should parents do if they think a child has Enterovirus D68? Dr Greene said that the good news is catching this virus should not be a life-threatening situation for most children. But if your child has trouble breathing or other lung-related health conditions, don’t wait to see if symptoms improve before calling a doctor or visiting the emergency room.
Adults have larger airways that can better cope with swelling. But children have smaller airwaves, making this more complicated. Dr Oz mentioned the case of a 13-year-old with asthma, Will, who was with his mother in the audience. Mom Jennifer recalled that Will had aggressive symptoms that were not responding to breathing treatments. Eventually, he became unconscious and Jennifer had to call paramedics.
Will said he felt stuffed up and could not breath. He told Dr Oz he felt like he was drowning. He said he does not remember passing out. The great news is that now he is feeling much better and is back at school.
Dr Oz: Peak Flow Meter for Breathing Problems
What precautions should parents take? Dr Greene said that most of the hospitalizations for Enterovirus have been in kids with Asthma. However, many have not experienced wheezing. He suggested using a Peak Flow Meter to gauge whether you or a child has an airflow problem.
Will demonstrated how the Peak Flow Meter helps to guide parents and patients about whether they should be concerned about breathing problems.
Dr Shust said hand washing is important in preventing the spread. Try not to touch the nose or eyes, and keep your sick kids home from school.
Ongoing research is finding that the Enterovirus D68 strain is sensitive to acidic things, such as fresh lemon juice or Apple Cider Vinegar. Blueberries or apples even seem to be acidic enough. Soup and warm beverages are great, because the virus can’t live above the body temperature of 98.6 F.