How to Keep You and Your Family Healthy This Fall
- Posted on: Oct 6 2022
Cooler weather is here along with increased numbers of respiratory illnesses. The CDC wants you to beware of rhinovirus and enterovirus this fall. Read on for tips on preventing these illnesses.
The leaves are starting to change colors, the temperatures are cooling down, and the kids are back in school. Unfortunately, autumn usually comes along with an increase in respiratory illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) put out an official health advisory at the beginning of September to notify healthcare providers about an increase in pediatric hospitalizations due to respiratory illnesses caused by rhinovirus and / or enterovirus1.
Rhinovirus and enterovirus are in the same family and are usually the cause of the common cold, respiratory illness, and / or asthma flare-ups. Symptoms of rhinovirus include sore throat, cough, sneezing, fever, headache, muscle ache, and fatigue. Enterovirus has similar symptoms but can also lead to rash and neurological complications. In most cases, rhinovirus and enterovirus are not distinguishable from each other unless special testing is done.
According to the CDC, recent testing has shown that the number of cases of a strain of enterovirus referred to as EV-D68 has increased from previous years. Although rare, the EV-D68 strain is associated with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM)1. Acute flaccid myelitis is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system and causes the body’s muscles and reflexes to weaken. It usually presents as a sudden onset of arm or leg weakness, loss of muscle tone, loss of reflexes, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, facial droop or weakness, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, and / or pain in the arms, legs, neck, or back. In severe cases, AFM can cause respiratory failure, vital sign instability, paralysis, and even death2.
The CDC recommends protecting yourself and your loved ones from respiratory illnesses such as rhinovirus and enterovirus by following these guidelines:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick and when you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve, not your hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Consider wearing a mask around other people if you have respiratory symptoms
- Seek emergency medical care immediately if you or your loved ones have trouble breathing or have a sudden onset of limb weakness
- Ensure you or your loved one is up to date with an asthma action plan if you have asthma
- Stay up to date on all recommended vaccines1
The key takeaway is to be diligent with infectious disease prevention. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy this fall season by following these guidelines.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 9). Severe Respiratory Illnesses Associated with Rhinoviruses and/or Enteroviruses Including EV-D68 – Multistate, 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 29, 2022
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 21). Symptoms of AFM. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 29, 2022
Posted in: Healthy Lifestyle