What you need to know about Enterovirus D68

 

A fast-spreading virus related to hand-foot-and-mouth disease is hospitalizing kids across the nation and causing quite a panic among parents of children everywhere.

The virus, Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, is part of a group of entrovirus that includes coxsackie viruses, echo viruses, polio viruses, the hepatitis A virus and EV-68. Although these viruses are common, they are more likely to cause illnesses in infants, children and teens who haven’t developed immunity against the virus, and people with weakened immune systems.

 

How do you catch it?

These germs can live on surfaces for hours and maybe as long as 24-36 hours. The “entero-“ part of their name means the viruses can survive stomach acid and infect the gut, as opposed to  the rhinoviruses (like the common cold), which can’t. Touching a contaminated surface and then rubbing your nose or eyes is the usual way someone catches it. You can also get it from close person-to-person contact.

Common disinfectants and detergents will kill enteroviruses, keeping hands and commonly touched surfaces will help stop the spread of the disease also keep your children home if they display symptoms.

 

What are the symptoms of D68 infection?

What’s different with this virus than others is that the usual tell-tale virus symptoms are relatively mild at first, allowing the disease to spread.

Most kids who are infected with EV-68 will have the following cold-like symptoms:

• runny nose

• congestion

• sneezing

• cough

• breathing difficulty

• fever

• muscle aches

 

These symptoms should be watched closely, but do not require emergency medical care. However, if your child has a history of asthma and develops these cold-like symptoms, you should contact your pediatrician.

 

Who’s at greatest risk?

Recent cases have been in children ages 6 months to 16 years, with most hovering around ages 4 and 5, the CDC says.

And while many kids are coming down with milder symptoms, the virus seems to be hitting children with a history of breathing problems particularly hard.

How do you treat Entrovirus 68?

Because it’s caused by a virus, and not bacteria, antibiotics don’t help. There is no vaccine to prevent it and no antiviral medication to treat it.  Most kids who get D68 infections will just need extra TLC, including lots of rest and plenty of fluids. It is important to keep your child out of school until the symptoms are gone for at least 24 hours.

In some cases children with asthma or breathing issues are being hospitalized to monitor the respiratory distress the virus can cause.

 

Clearing up the confusion: Why are you paying different rates at different clinics?

 

One of the common complaints we hear from our patients is regarding insurance deductibles.

The main issue we’ve found is that patients don’t understand what a deductible is, and how it applies to the way they’re charged for care. Why, they ask, does one clinic tell you there is a $150 deductible, and another charge only $60 for the visit? The most likely answer is that the first clinic is putting that payment toward your insurance deductible, while the second is charging you the “self pay rate.”

Your deductible is the amount of your medical costs that you have to pay before your health insurance takes over. Here’s an example. Gary has a health plan with a $1500 deductible. If Gary only has a few little things go wrong during the year that cost less than $1500 total, he’s going to pay the full amount to treat them. However, if Gary has a catastrophic injury or serious illness that requires a lot of medical care to get better, he’ll pay his $1500 deductible and then his health insurance takes over to pay most if not all of his additional costs. It’s a way for Gary to shoulder some of the responsibility for his health, while still affording him protection from huge medical expenses. Now, if Gary goes to a clinic that charges the “self pay rate,”it will seem that he’s paying less, however none of the money he pays is going toward his insurance deductible. Because of this, it’s often better, particularly when you may have a condition that requires several visits, or medications, to pay toward your deductible. While it seems like you’re paying more, and you are, upfront, in the long run, when your insurance kicks in, all that will be left is your co-pay.