Earlier this week, Fairfield County Moms Blog had the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion, where 3 Norwalk physicians answered questions and concerns around Ebola, Flu, and Enterovirus. The discussion was hosted by Gillian Neff of News 12 on Health and held at the Center for Advanced Pediatrics. The panel featured Norwalk, CT doctors: Dr. Robert Weiss, an ear, nose, and throat specialist with the Connecticut Center for Advanced ENT Care, Dr. Jeanne Marconi, a pediatrician with the Center for Advanced Pediatrics in Norwalk, and Dr. Michael Schwartz, and internal medicine specialist with Soundview Medical Associates in Norwalk.
Ebola vs. Flu
The doctors talked about differentiating symptoms between Ebola and Flu. Dr. Marconi explained that Ebola doesn’t have a cough. Ebola symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding. Ebola is not contagious until symptoms occur; whereas flu is contagious before symptoms occur. Dr. Schwartz explained that with flu, a fever of 101, 102, or 103 might last for days and the patient often reports that everything aches, even down to their fingernails.
In speaking about Ebola, Dr. Marconi explained that the virus is not an airborne disease for the most part, but can be spread by any body secretion including a wet sneeze. All the doctors said they have protocols in place at their offices and have had to do more assessment and detective work over the phone to keep everyone safe, as well as doing more sanitizing in the office. Dr. Marconi said her office has questions posted specific to Ebola. If the patient answers yes, they are asked to go back to their car and call the nurse from there.
How concerned should we be about Enterovirus?
I asked the panel how concerned we should be about Enterovirus D68, particularly with the recent deaths. The doctors explained that Enterovirus isn’t necessarily more concerning than other respiratory viruses. For children with asthma, parents need to be vigilant about helping their children use their medication properly, explaining that spacers have greatly helped young children (and even adults) be more effective with their asthma medication.
The panelists advised us that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending that everyone get a flu shot this year, even those who normally don’t. And handwashing can’t be emphasized enough. As ailments such as flu, cold, and enterovirus are spread by coughs and sneezes, being focused on your children’s handwashing (as well as trying to get them not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands) is essential. As a mom of a 2 year old, I know how difficult this can be but I am focusing on it.
On the topic of prevention, the doctors reinforced that sleep, exercise and good nutrition are essential to support the immune system and prevent illness. Dr. Marconi said that the shorter days are nature’s way of getting us to sleep more. Good tip!
We also spoke about prevention and reducing symptoms of allergy and cold. Dr. Weiss advised that using saline nasal spray or a neti pot regularly is an excellent way to keep the nasal passages hydrated, help to wash out bacteria.
Are you taking different approaches to keeping yourself and your family healthy this season?