Virus threatens the health of students

Virus threatens the health of students

Claire Peralta, Staff Reporter

A new illness is sweeping the nation, infecting hundreds of school-age children, sending many to the increasingly crowded ICU. Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68 starts out with symptoms resembling the common cold, but quickly takes a turn for the worse.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. Most of the children who got very ill with EV-D68 infection in Missouri and Illinois had difficulty breathing, and some had wheezing.”

Currently, the disease is seen more in people with current respiratory health issues and they are the ones that have experienced more severe cases of EV-D68.

“With this particular virus, we got an email from the Collin County Department of Health services,” school nurse Jeannie Haines said. “What they’re seeing with this virus, anyone with a history of asthma or any respiratory type illness is affected a lot more. If someone came in and they were feeling sick, and they had a cough that was difficult to manage, wheezing, more respiratory symptoms than anything, we would want to take action, suggest that they see their doctor as soon as possible, and if they have a preventative respiratory management plan, make sure that they’re in compliance with that.”

Enterovirus D68 started to spread in the Midwest, quickly spread to the South, in states like Louisiana, and then to Northeast within a matter of days.

“It’s inevitable that (the virus) will reach Texas,” Haines said. “It’s a matter of being proactive and doing all that you can to prepare yourself.”

With children and teenagers being the most susceptible to the virus, students are strongly encouraged to keep an eye out for symptoms, and to do everything to stay healthy, as EV-D68 is easily spread.

“The approach to preventing illness is the same whether it’s the flu or a cold,” Haines said. “It’s all about doing the best things you can to be proactive and not get sick. The biggest things are wash your hands, try to eat well, stay hydrated, and get sleep so your body and immune system will be in the best possible shape to fight off any viruses that come our way. We need to be kind and cautious towards each other regarding coughs and sneezes, and be aware if you’re sick; keep your germs at home.”