Teresa Fuller MD, PhD
Many people are calling enterovirus D68 the “new respiratory virus.” In fact, there’s nothing new about this virus which was first identified in 1962. Enteroviruses are a common cause of respiratory illnesses in the summer and early fall. This particular strain of enterovirus, D68, can cause respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe. I’m sure you’ve seen many of the severe cases highlighted in the news.
So here are 5 things you can do to help your child prevent enterovirus infections:
- Make sure your child is using the basic infection prevention strategies which include frequent handwashing, coughing into her sleeve, and avoiding sharing utensils or cups with people who are sick.
- If your child develops respiratory symptoms, make sure you’re giving him lots of healthy fluids like water, soup broth, freshly made fruit and vegetable juices and tea. You can use herbal teas such as ginger tea or Echinacea. Add raw honey and lemon which also help fight bad bugs. Do not use honey with children under the age of 12 months!
- Boost your child’s vitamin and mineral intake by giving her lots of fruits and vegetables. Flavor your vegetables with disease fighting extras such as garlic, turmeric and onions.
- Use a humidifier. Moisture is an important defensive weapon that your upper respiratory tract uses to keep out the bad bugs. You can power up your humidifier by adding a few drops of lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, oregano or peppermint essential oil to the water reservoir. These essential oils help fight infections, reduce congestion and improve sleep.
- You’ve probably been advised to use a saline nasal spray to help with congestion. That’s a good idea. But even better is using a Xylitol nasal spray which is anti-microbial in addition to reducing the swelling.
These tips will help your family prevent and fight enterovirus and the multitude of other respiratory viruses that you’ll face in the coming months.
Teresa Fuller MD, PhD, is an integrative pediatrician at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, serving Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. She is double board-certified in pediatrics and integrative holistic medicine with a doctorate in physiology. Dr. Fuller is in a unique position to positively impact the health of children by identifying the underlying contributors to disease such as nutrient deficiencies, toxicities, infection and stresses, in order to reverse symptoms and restore your child’s health. Her focus is prevention of chronic illness and obesity in children and young adults, ADHD, asthma and allergies.