Saturday, October 18, 2014

SUNLIGHT

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants…” ~Justice Louis D. Brandeis


Justice Brandeis was talking about the benefits of transparency and openness in government, business, etc. as a remedy for social and industrial ills. I couldn't think of better quote to accompany this post on a topic that is affecting so many, yet so little being done to identify or help the same. I am speaking of Enterovirus.

Our 18 month old son  was diagnosed with one of the strains of the Enterovirus, EV71, that made him extremely sick, extremely fast.  Enterovirus, particularly the most publicized D68, is an illness which has been largely eradicated from the U.S. for almost 40 years. There have been relatively few cases of D68 or any of the other 100+ Enterovirus strains reported each year during the summer and fall and none that pack the deadly effect of the D68 strain or the crippling effects of EV71 – until this year. D68 and EV71 can cause death, paralysis, brain damage or heart damage, encephalitis, menangitis to mention a few to those who have no immunity against it - usually small children ages 6 months to 5 years. Its symptoms mock that of a bad cold or flu, but if left untreated within a couple weeks can produce deadly outcome.

Our personal experience was with EV71, also known as Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFM). EV71 is hearty and mean little virus that can live at room temperature for weeks so it can live on playground equipment, toys, counters, doorknobs, floors, windows, furniture, etc., after a good sneeze or cough. Once inside its human host, it can survive the pH level of the gastrointestinal tract, where most viruses meet their end. We have no idea where he got exposed to it - it very well could have been one of the many playgrounds he and I visit each week,  the doctor's office, or even a grocery cart or restaurant table.

  • Treatment? Symptomatic support. That’s it. It is a virus.
  • Prevention? Wash your hands and cover your coughs and sneezes.
The onset of symptoms is very quick and the temperature goes very high (our little guy was at 103.6 within hours of onset). His appetite was gone, I could barely get him to drink water and he acted so different from his other little colds, that I opted to go the the hospital rather than wait for an appointment at the doctor's office. It turned out to be a good decision.

Thank goodness I believe he is on the other side of this virus so first, as a mom, I'd like to share a few tips we learned that helped, and hopefully it will help someone else who is fighting the virus.
  • From the onset and after diagnosis, we kept his fever down as much as possible with ibuprofen/tylenol. 
  • Learning that EV71 is accompanied and diagnosed by the little sores on the back of their throat (thus loss of appetite - too painful to eat!) and headache, we gave lots of popsicles, cold beverages and did not worry about him eating solids as long as he stayed hydrated and cool. 
  • I did make our usual veggie/fruit/kale protein shakes to get him nutrients and antioxidants which is a part of our usual eating routine that he likes, and kept his daily liquid vitamin regimen. Anything to help his immune system be able to fight.
  • Yogurt is a go-to for my little guy for protein, but the probiotics in the yogurt can help keep their gastrointestinal tract strong and immunity up as well in order to help their bodies fight the virus. Use Kefir if your little one can't tolerate the yogurt thickness with their throat pain.
  • Last but not least, just hug and love and hold them as much as possible!
Even with that, he lost a lot of strength. We are ten days out from the diagnosis, four days in a row without fever and he is just getting his strength and energy levels back. Thankfully, he just got a clean bill of health regarding his lungs and heart. He's at about 80% of his usual strength and energy level.  So, if you can catch it early enough, keep their temperature under control and keep your little one hydrated, it seems you can help your child's body kick the virus in a couple of weeks. Early detection seems to be the key to not letting the virus weaken their bodies to the point of severe symptoms.

Don't assume your  child merely has a cold or the flu right now. Enterovirus is at our doorstep and slipping through the back doors and on our playgrounds. It is here and it is a virus to contend with.

THE CHALLENGE

When we received the diagnosis, they did not tell us it was EV71. They told us it was herpangina, "but don't worry, I don't know why they named it that. It has nothing to do with herpes or the heart." Well, it does. Herp refers to the ulcers/blisters they get on the back of their throat as well as on their feet and hands. James didn't have the blisters anywhere else but his throat so we know we caught it early. Angina refers to the the fact that if it's left untreated for too long it can cause myocarditis. It has been dubbed the "modern polio" as it can affect the neurological system as well. James had a brief time of the "jerky movements" the first night of fever, but that was it. The symptoms are as follows:
  • Sudden onset of high fever
  • Rash (hands, feet, diaper area)
  • Blisters in the throat
  • Irritability or fits
  • Sudden weakness in the limbs
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Evidence of heart and lung inflammation (shortness of breath)
  • Jerky or spastic muscle movements

According to Children's Hospital, they can't/don't test for it. The CDC is the only entity that can test for enterovirus, and unless you or your child (2 adults in Colorado have died from complications of EV68) are on a respirator in a hospital or paralyzed, the CDC won’t test. So diagnosis is clinical and you can only hope you know what you are fighting.  I was happy to hear that a few days ago, the CDC said they were going to provide faster testing more readily available to hospitals for the virus. I’m guessing this is largely due to the fact that it has or is about to reach epidemic status in the United States.

Wash your hands. Cover your sneezes and coughs.

The age-old dilemma is this: when we send our children to school or go to a playground or other public place with others who have not been taught the importance of good hygiene, there is no protecting them from any virus that is airborne or passed along from infected hosts’ hands. And even if you teach your kids good hygiene, it doesn't mean they practice it when they are not in your presence!

TIME TO DISINFECT
Humanitarian Effort? Or Human Trafficking?

I started doing my homework and research and found that where the biggest outbreaks for Enterovirus are being reported, there has been an influx of the Unaccompanied Minors (UAC) from South American countries, and Asian countries where Enterovirus is a huge problem and is a huge health issue for children in those countries and has been for years.

So how is it that EV71 and DV68, these polio-like virus' have resurfaced here in epidemic proportions? Well, everything I have found points to bringing UAC's from third world countries, carrying third world diseases, who have neither the resources to learn nor practice proper hygiene.  Once here, these children are going without proper care and attention before placing them into our public schools, homes and communities. In doing so,  we've created an epidemic of a disease that has not been a problem in the United States for almost 40 years.

We had a good policy in place prior to this administration's passing of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) in June of 2012, that kept the number, care and duration of stay of the UAC's in the United States in check at a manageable level. Since DACA was enacted under this current administration, there has been an 846% increase of UAC's, and the number is growing exponentially.

Recently,  a school in Southampton closed to “disinfect” due to a student who was confirmed to have Enterovirus (and not the D68 strain). Interestingly, Massachusetts, as of August 31, 2014 has received over 1,115 of the unaccompanied minors (documented) into sponsored homes or communal facilities from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, countries where enterovirus is rampant and is a huge health problem for children there. New York and other surrounding areas have received over 5,000 UAC's combined.

We are not only letting them in by the thousands because our current administration lacks the intelligence, common sense or backbone to handle the immigration issue smartly at the borders, or to send effective humanitarian aid to the home countries of these children. Our own local politicians get  see the $20-40,000 grant per unaccompanied kid and say “Yeah! bring ‘em here!” Colorado has received some but they are largely undocumented. Colorado shows receiving 336 UAC's as of August 31, 2014, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, yet less than half of those are accounted for by county.

Photo by Eric Gay-Pool/Getty Images
Where are the children going and what is happening to them?
Where is our Surgeon General?
Why isn't the CDC talking about Enterovirus?

What our local politicians are discovering once they've jumped on this "humanitarian" bandwagon, is their wonderful grant money runs our real fast. At least what hasn’t gone into someone’s pocket by the time the disease breaks out. Schools have to be closed, health care services are being overburdened, and public schools are overwhelmed with the costs associated with the consequences of this failure of so-called “humanitarian” effort.
 
Who is even tracking the UAC's/refugees? Where are the rest of the children? Who is making sure they are receiving the proper health care, vaccinations and other social services that they need? I would love to see a reporter follow one or more of these children and find out exactly what is happening to them. I'm guessing a good start is to follow the money trail.

May I propose that it is not humane to bring a child into a country and culture that is foreign to them, not provide adequately for their health care or initial screening, put them schools where they cannot speak the language and will likely have to repeat grades several times, allow them to infect other children at epidemic levels and overwhelm and overtax the health care and school systems. Not only can the immigrant children not receive the help they need, but now the residents are being adversely (even to death) affected. Someone is getting the money, but it sure doesn't look like the children are benefiting from it.

Break it down: This administration is bringing thousands of children (and their diseases) into our country and essentially selling them to states with little to no regard for their welfare. That is basic human trafficking, not humanitarian effort and it is certainly not what the original plan was for assisting unaccompanied immigrant children seeking refuge in he United States.

Our current administration will not deal with the border situation, thus Enterovirus and other third world diseases (Ebola and Tuberculosis) are back in the United States. It is clear that their decisions are reckless and their priority is not to protect our country and our people. The excuse? They don't want to hinder "humanitarian" efforts. Yet, what they are doing is not humane to the ones seeking help or the ones who live here.

THE SUNLIGHT

I want to encourage you to first, go ahead and do your own homework. Then get to the voting polls in three weeks and get rid of this incompetent, overly politically correct government who are more afraid of hurting some other country, class or culture’s feelings than protecting our own country, children and communities.

Let’s “disinfect” more than our homes; let’s disinfect our country, our government of the idiocy, incompetence, inhumanity and yes third world diseases this current administration has brought us. If we are going to be humanitarian - let's do it right.

Believe it or not, Enterovirus and Ebola are here. We are only seeing the beginning right now, because our governmental agencies are not tracking the placement of these children/refugees, nor are they even trying to take measures to contain the illnesses at the borders or in the communities. Smoke and mirrors and denial are the current administration’s policies – not your best interests.

Children and adults are dying from these third world diseases in the United States. Let's send a message to Washington that their reckless, careless, selfish political decisions are no longer acceptable. We do not want to devolve into a Third World nation.

Justice Brandeis also said this:

"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
Your vote does count and you can make a difference.




Tuesday, January 7, 2014

AGING GRACEFULLY



Two or three years ago, I did a series on my old blog titled, Reinventing Middle Age that
emphasized the positive aspects of navigating through mid-life issues; health, REALationships, psychology and other issues. Not only was it fun to write and research, but it helped some of you as well as myself make more positive, healthy decisions in this season of life.

Since I wrote that series, I have had some amazing developments happen in my own middle-aged life: I got married and inherited three wonderful children; and while still learning how to navigate that major mid-life change (never married and no children before), God in His wisdom decided to bless our family with a wonderful baby boy at my mature age of 48. As I approach the 50-year milestone in my life, I find that time to write, or even think, is a privilege not afforded very often as a wife and mom of four children – one of them a 9 month old, and a body/brain still in decline.  So, I revisited my Reinventing Middle Age series to remind myself once again what I learned about successfully navigating this wonderful season of life.

One difference is that I have found a line of products that is helping boost my body to do what it needs to do for such a task. Yup. Here comes a shameless plug.

EPIC ERA products are not weight loss products, although they do offer a couple that will help with that.  The product line is very much geared to wellness in every aspect of health. Whether you need help with sleep and relaxation, to digestion, simple daily health maintenance, quality essential oils, or even have help with curbing the coffee/caffeine or sugar addiction that wreaks such havoc our middle-age bodies, they have something for you.

EPIC products are packed with natural ingredients (many of which you and I have taken individually at some point in our lives to help with one ailment or another) that work synergistically to improve overall health. I first tried thee the EPIC RELAX product, coupled with the STILL essential oil.  In all the research and experience I have done for navigating middle age, the sleep deprivation from natural body/hormone changes (or having a baby at 48) is the most devastating to the body. With good sleep, memory, energy and immune system recover well daily, and the natural effects of the aging process can be diminished rather than magnified.  I highly recommend the products! As I continue to use them, I will share how they've helped me, as well as any other supplements I find helpful!

At this age/stage of life, I know I am more interested in daily wellness and maintenance, rather than a quick fix for issues. I am approaching 50 in a few months and I have a baby.  Retirement just got pushed back a few years. I have to stick around for at least another twenty years, and I’d like to be able to remember things like where he goes to school and what his name is, as well as be able to attend his school functions and graduation.  When life throws us curve balls... sometimes we all need a little help!

So, for 2014, I decided to begin blogging again by reinventing my Reinventing Middle Age series with a few updates and new perspective. I don’t know how many of you 50-year-olds have just added a baby to your family, but I do know this: I see we are all struggling with many of the same middle-age issues so I thought it would be a great place to start! Of course the blog will be about many other things as well, but let’s continue this journey together and like a good, solid, adjustable cane… help each other out along the way! 

Stay tuned!