With so much in the news the last few weeks about the respiratory virus affecting kids in numerous states, Hutto ISD Health Services wanted to share some information with you about this virus and reminders about illness prevention.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), while Enteroviruses are very common and can have no symptoms or only mild cold like symptoms, the strain EV-D68 is not as common as others and is responsible for the illnesses that are in the news. The virus is spread through close contact. The EV- D68 virus causes cold like symptoms, runny nose, cough, fever and rash. The symptoms can escalate causing breathing issues including asthma attacks.
There is no vaccination for the illness and antibiotics are not given since Enterovirus is caused by a virus not bacteria. The treatment is based on the symptoms. Children with a history of asthma are at increased risk and need to take their regular medication. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, it is important to seek medical help if you start having respiratory symptoms.
The best way to prevent the spread of the illness is frequent hand washing. Proper hand washing includes washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are not effective again enteroviruses. Continue to encourage children to keep hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth. Some children are familiar with the "T-Zone". It is also important to cover coughs and sneezes. A final way to prevent the spread of the illness is keep ill individuals, especially those that are running a fever or have a recurrent cough at home and away from others.
Prevention recommendations are similar to those for other viral respiratory diseases, including:
- Frequent, thorough hand washing – soap and water is best
- Cover your cough or sneeze in your sleeve or shoulder
- Clean frequently touched surfaces (such as toys) with a commercially available disinfectant after they have been touched by ill persons
- Don't share cups, utensils, water bottles and the like with ill persons
- Avoid close contact with ill persons (such as hugging and kissing)
- Stay home if you are ill
- Seek care from your medical provider if you have breathing problems or other severe symptoms
The prevention techniques listed above are good to follow at all times, not just when there has been an increase in a particular illness. We focus on these practices with the students. As we approach fall and winter when flu season is at its peak following these tips will hopefully help the children from contacting the flu and other illnesses.
Influenza, also known as the "flu," is more dangerous than the common cold. The CDC reports that children under 5 years of age, commonly need medical care for the treatment of influenza. Children that also have a history of another chronic health problem are more susceptible to complications of the flu. Flu season runs through May!
The best way to protect you and your children from getting the flu is to get vaccinated! The flu "shot" is recommended for infants from 6 months to 2 years of age. The nasal spray is recommended for healthy children from 2-8 years of age. Some of the children require two vaccinations. Speak to your health care provider about whether your child will need a second dose.
Hutto ISD Health Services started tracking illness in early September. These numbers are reported to Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD). HISD, along with hospitals, MD offices and other districts monitor illnesses reported and provide surveillance. Please assist us in providing information if your child is diagnosed with flu or has been out ill.