Friday, September 19, 2014

NORMAN - Norman Regional Health System reports it had three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Enterovirus D68 cases in the month of August. EV-D68, an enterovirus causing respiratory illness, has been confirmed in 12 states.

Enteroviruses are common viruses infecting the throat and intestinal tract causing an array of illnesses according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Most individuals infected with enteroviruses do not get sick or only have mild illness according to the CDC. EV-D68 causes symptoms similar to the common cold such as cough, runny nose, body aches, and sometime fever. However, in some patients - often children with underlying asthma, the virus can cause wheezing and difficulty breathing.

"To help prevent the spread of the virus you should practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water for 15-20 seconds or use hand sanitizer," said Julie Smith, Infection Prevention Specialist, Norman Regional Health System. "Also, practice good respiratory precautions by covering your sneeze/cough with your upper sleeve/elbow or tissue and throw the tissue away after use. Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. And, avoid close contact and sharing cups and eating utensils with people who are sick. Make sure to disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys, doorknobs and light switches, especially if someone is sick. Most importantly, stay home when sick."The Oklahoma State Department of Health notes that children under the age of five as well as children with underlying asthma appear to be at greatest risk of having medical complications from EV-D68 requiring hospitalization. Parents are encouraged to monitor children with colds who fall into these categories more closely. If wheezing or breathing difficulty occurs medical attention should be sought immediately.

Norman Regional recently partnered with OU Children’s Physicians to add seven Pediatric Hospitalists to their health system. These physicians specialize in the care of children who are hospitalized and provide immediate and ongoing care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The addition of the Pediatric Hospitalists allows Norman Regional staff to treat even more complex childhood illnesses, including patients with enterovirus complications, as well as those with chronic illnesses, flu, infectious illnesses, respiratory illness, and recovery from injuries or surgeries.