But although, I do tend to worry about colds and flu and such, I try not to freak out. I've learned the hard way not to turn into Monk/Howard Hughes. I used to try to sterilize everything in the house, but that's a fool's errand. You cannot really control everything. The chemicals irritate Feisty Pant's lungs and make her more likely to get the very problems we are hoping to eliminate. So we caught our breath and rethought our plans. No harsh chemicals. Hand sanitizer for those who touch her. A round of flu vaccines for everyone who spends a lot time around FP every year, and don't bitch because I don't care. Leave your really smelly artificial perfumes at home, please. (Really smelly natural ones are ok.) It works for us, it works better for her. I sleep easier at night.BUT BUT BUT -and there is always a but- every time I turn around there is some head line from the worst case scenario crowd that seems to want to give a special needs mom nightmares. SARS, bird flu, swine flu, RSV, Ebola, and now, EV-D68. It's often hard to see which ones are important and which ones are simply headlines that sell well. I get why we all do it. News is a BUSINESS after all and they are all competing for our attention. Fear sells well. It seems urgent, even when it isn't . Fear is seductive and self aggrandizing. (Why, if everything is out to get me, I must be important!) SARS was terrible for those who got it. Bird flu is much ado over very little. Swine Flu sucked to get BUT we all sailed right through it. (Sort of, in a whiny, cranky, sit around in your pj's and shiver for a week kind of way- but NO respiratory complications.) RSV is actually scary. To you and me, it's just a bad cold so we don't really take it seriously. To the disabled or infants- it's a life threatening illness. (And the cause for the second half of that marathon hospital stay I mentioned up there in paragraph one.) Ebola is awful, but containable and treatable if we all get off our collective butts and do what needs to be done. That leaves EV-D68. This fall's flavor of scary.
So, as a public service and to sort of whistle past the graveyard as it were, here is a very non-scientific overview of what we know. I will post a couple of links at the bottom to actual facts and figures.
Enterovirus-D68 is respiratory virus that can quickly spread through droplet contact. Think sneezing, coughing, spittle, unwashed hands and unwashed surfaces. In its mild form it is a cold. Runny nose and slight fever. In its severe form it causes wheezing, asthma attacks and breathing problems. Children and teenagers are most likely to get it. (Once you've had it you build an immunity to it.) It is most prevalent in summer and fall. We are now seeing an outbreak that is quickly spreading and is confirmed in New York state. (Where we live.) The best defense is common sense. Wash your damn hands. A lot. Don't share tissues, plates, utensils, cups etc with someone with a cold. (Most people don't. But most people aren't under five- and those little buggers share EVERYTHING) Teach your little ones some basic sniffles hygiene and nag them about it. Use hand sanitizer and clean all those counters and desk tops. If you get a cold- STAY HOME. SERIOUSLY, you're not toughing it out. You're risking someone else's health. Please don't do that. If you get a cold and it seems to be affecting your breathing, get a hold of your doctor and do what needs to be done. My guess is this is one of those viruses that, if severe, is treated by supportive care- oxygen, nebulizer treatments, steroids, until it runs its course. Which should not be too scary if treated quickly. Links are below. If you need me or Feisty Pants, we'll be in the backyard watching leaves, coated in Purell. If you come by, please use hand sanitizer or you will subject to a cleaning by Cheweverything Pants. That alone should kill anything. Lord knows, her breath can. You've all been warned.
Center For Disease Control- EV-D68
NY Stat Dept. of Health -EV-D68