Dr. Oz: Mysterious Virus Targeting Children
Dr. Oz kicked off his show by talking about the mysterious respiratory virus spreading across the nation, targeting young children. The Centers for Disease Control has sent out an advisory about the condition, which begins as typical cold symptoms and can quickly spread into breathing problems so severe and life-threatening that it requires intensive care. The virus is called EV-D68 and it’s baffling doctors across the nation. As many as 27 states have suspected cases. The CDC thinks this could just be the tip of the iceberg.
Officials suspect the respiratory illness could be caused by Human Enterovirus D68, a rare virus related to the one that causes the common cold. At first, the symptoms are runny nose, sneezing, and coughs. But it’s the trouble breathing that parents should pay attention to. Kids with asthma and severe allergies are especially at risk.
With kids going back to school, officials are worried this could spread quickly. So far, only children have been infected. No adults yet. There’s currently no vaccine and no specific treatment for this virus.
Dr. Oz: Virus Spreads Quickly
Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene told Dr. Oz that this virus spreads very quickly. He said a child could be playing and healthy one day and the next day be in the intensive care unit. This virus is a parent’s worst nightmare. Doctors know that virus outbreaks tend to peak somewhere in the late fall, but people can continue to get it all the way up until spring. Infectious disease expert Dr. Gail Shust also joined Dr. Oz and told him that Enteroviruses as a family tend to peak at this time of year, but what’s unusual is that this strain seems to be more severe. There’s a theory this strain is more infectious, but the CDC is exploring a number of theories.
Dr. Oz: EV-D68 Vs Common Cold
Dr. Oz explained that unlike the common cold, when you breathe in the virus germs, they spread down into your lungs, rather than getting trapped in your throat. That’s how a deep down infection happens and causes breathing problems. Dr. Greene said that parents should know that most kids who get this virus won’t have such a severe case. But if your child has asthma, you should monitor them very closely. And if any child has a hard time breathing, don’t wait until the next day. Call and see a doctor that evening, whether a family physician or an ER doctor. Dr. Greene said parents should also look for muscle weakness, which was a symptom of a severe virus outbreak in 2008.
Dr. Oz: Struggling With The Virus
13-year-old Will was hospitalized with a suspected case of this virus. He and his mother Jennifer came on Dr. Oz to talk about it. Jennifer said that when he first got sick, she treated him with some medicine, but the next thing she knew he was struggling to breathe and he wasn’t getting better. Will had a slight cold one day and the next day, he told his mom he wasn’t feeling good. She gave him cold medicine and within an hour, his problems got so bad he became unconscious. Jennifer had to call 911. Will said it felt like he was drowning.
Dr. Oz: EV-D68 Connected to Asthma
Dr. Greene said that most of the kids hospitalized from this virus have had asthma. Most of them didn’t wheeze with this condition, it just felt like they were drowning, like Will said. Dr. Greene recommended using a device called a Peak Flow Meter. You blow into it and it detects if there’s an airway problem. These devices are inexpensive and portable. If you’re a parent with a child with asthma, you should get one of these devices.
Dr. Shust said that parents should make sure they observe all the typical things to protect themselves from colds. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, keep your kids home from school if they’re sick, and try not to touch your nose or your eyes.
Dr. Oz: Acid Can Disable The Virus
Dr. Greene said that EV-D68 has been shown to be vulnerable to things that are acidic, unlike most other Enteroviruses. This strain is sensitive to things with a pH of 3. This means if you think your child has the virus, a squeeze of lemon or a spray of apple cider vinegar is enough to disable the virus. Even blueberries or an apple have enough acid to make a difference. Dr. Greene recommended people have fruit with every meal. It’s also vulnerable to a temperature above 98.6 degrees. So warm beverages and soup could really help. He also said that if your child has a fever, that might be their body trying to fight the virus.