Meadowlands Hospital on Respiratory Illnesses
Along with the annual influenza season, Meadowlands Hospital is also closely tracking respiratory illnesses, especially Enterovirus-D68 that is currently affecting the local population.
The virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches a surface. People can also get infected by having close contact with an infected person, as well as getting infected by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
Most people who get infected do not get sick or they may have mild illness, like the common cold. Just as influenza is not the common cold, enterovirus is a respiratory illness that can initially feel like a bad cold. And like influenza, enteroviruses can be severe enough to hospitalize some of those impacted, especially younger children who already have a respiratory condition like asthma.
Our past experience with dealing with the any type of respiratory illness and/or viral infection always reinforces the need to protect ourselves. We strongly recommend that proper personal hygiene is imperative to help limit getting any virus. Little things, such as hand washing, covering a cough and staying home if ill, really helps.
Besides hand washing with soap and water, we encourage every visitor to our facility to use our alcohol-based hand sanitizers. They are phenomenally effective in eliminating the transfer of a virus. We have increased the number of dispensers so anyone entering and leaving, or waiting by the elevators can use them.
If EV-D68 does appear locally, large numbers of children could develop respiratory infections in a short time period, as the virus spreads much like the common cold. With most enterovirus infections, the vast majority of children have a mild illness that does not require medical attention. However, parents of children with asthma should be aware that their children appear to be more susceptible to serious illness. The groups most susceptible to EV-D68 are infants, children and teenagers.
What can people do to protect themselves against Enterovirus-D68?
Although there are no vaccines for preventing EV-D68 infections, Meadowlands Hospital follows CDC recommendations to:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
- Frequently disinfect surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially when someone is sick
- Don't go to day care, school or work. Stay home if feeling sick and consult with your health care provider
- Children and adults with asthma should be sure to have their asthma symptoms under control and see a health care provider if they develop a respiratory infection and their asthma worsens.
Please make an appointment with our specialists if you notice symptoms of respiratory illness by calling Meadowlands Hospital at 201-392-3100.