Enteroviruses are a common type of virus that cause anywhere between 10 to 15 million respiratory infections each year in the United States.
Children are commonly targeted by enteroviruses due to their developing immune systems.
Today, the most common enterovirus affecting children is a strand known as EV-D68. It can be spread through contact with unsanitary surfaces or other kids with the virus. EV-D68 can also be passed through the air as a result of sneezing or coughing.
Years ago, EV-D68 had been considered uncommon.
In 2014, however, cases of children catching the virus surged, with many winding up in hospitals across several states.
Doctors aren’t entirely sure what caused this resurgence, or what we can expect of the EV-D68 virus in the future. As a parent, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of EV-D68 so you can be on the lookout for the virus in your child.
Symptoms of EV-D68 Sickness
The virus causes mild to severe respiratory illness that presents in the following ways:
- Runny nose
- Body and muscle aches
- Difficulty breathing
- Paralysis (in rare, severe cases)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you try to manage the first 5 symptoms on the list if they present mildly. However, if your child’s symptoms are severe, or include wheezing, paralysis or difficulty breathing, take him or her to a doctor or hospital.
Natural Treatment Options
When you consult with your child’s doctor, he or she will be able to determine whether your child has EV-D68 or another respiratory illness such as the flu.
There are no medications on the market to treat EV-D68. If your child catches the virus and requires a stay in the hospital, he or she will receive assistance with breathing from hospital staff if necessary, and will be monitored. Otherwise, children have to push through the symptoms, which pass with the virus within roughly 10 days.
Cold medication is unlikely to work, and painkillers like Tylenol should never be given to children.
Try these natural remedies to speed up the recovery process and soothe symptoms.
#1 – Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has long been used as a disinfectant in many homes.
It can be bought in its diluted form at percentages ranging from 3% to 10%. If your child is suffering from EV-D68 and is older, feel free to create an antiseptic gargle using hydrogen peroxide to help with sore throat and mucus secretion.
Mix 2 teaspoons of diluted hydrogen peroxide with a cup of warm water and have your child gargle the mixture at the back of his or her throat for a minute before spitting it out.
If you have any doubt as to whether your child will be able to gargle the solution without swallowing it, rely on one of the other methods.
#2 – Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent material that has been used for centuries to detox the body of everything from viruses to toxins.
It can help your child’s body get rid of the EV-D68 virus quickly. You can buy activated charcoal as a supplement or as a powder in a jar that you can mix with water.
Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of activated charcoal with a full glass of water. Have your child drink the mixture, along with another full glass of water.
For supplement use, follow the instructions on the label.
Your child’s next few bowel movements will be black, a sign that the charcoal is working its way through his or her system.
#3 – Natural Immune System Boosters
Ensuring that your child’s immune system is in top shape is crucial to helping fight off the EV-D68 virus.
Have your child eat the following foods during illness to give his or her immune system a hand:
- Probiotic yogurt
- Citrus (oranges, pineapple)
- Lean meats such as chicken and beef
#4 – Eucalyptus Essential Oil
When your child is battling the EV-D68 virus, rest is a strong ally. If coughing is keeping your child from getting that rest, eucalyptus essential oil can help.
One drop of the oil on a cotton ball left near your child’s head will reduce coughing, which will contribute to better sleep.
#5 – Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is a powerful disinfectant that’s actually found in many cleaning products, but you’ll want to get the infection-fighting components of grapefruit seed extract straight from the source.
Place 2 drops of the extract in 3 ounces of juice for your child. Have your child drink this quantity 3-4 times daily.