According to Dr. Zak Zarbock, one of the nation’s leading pediatricians and the founder of Zarbee’s, the nation’s fastest growing cough and cold brand, spring and summer cold viruses are on the rise. The four most common bugs to be concerned about this spring and summer are parainfluenza, adenovirus, parvovirus and the enteroviruses.
Following is an explanation from Dr. Zarbock about each virus, along with tips to help your family avoid them and advice for how to treat them if you and/or your kids do get infected.
Croup is the most common result of an infection from a parainfluenza virus. It is commonly seen during the winter months but extends well into the spring. It is a respiratory illness characterized by inspiratory stridor, cough and hoarseness. Younger children tend to have the classic barking cough that is much worse at night, while older children and adults may experience more hoarseness. These symptoms are the result of swelling just below the vocal cords. Most cases of croup are fairly mild; however significant breathing difficulty and airway obstruction can occur.
The parainfluenza virus is spread by droplet and airborne secretions. It typically infects the nose or throat and spreads to the area around the vocal cords. The most common age for croup is six months to three years, but it can affect children as old as six years of age. Home treatment consists of a cool mist humidifier, breathing in the cold air outside or from a freezer, or the use of a steam shower. For moderate symptoms, the use of a steroid may be useful to decrease inflammation around the vocal cords. A breathing treatment with epinephrine (adrenaline) may also be indicated for significant breathing difficulty. Traditional over-the-counter cough medicines that have Dextromethorphan (DM) or diphenhydramine have been proven ineffective and are not supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, so I don’t recommend them. A recent Penn State University study found that the best treatment for coughs in children suffering from an upper respiratory infection is buckwheat honey, which is why I started Zarbee’s. Zarbee’s uses buckwheat honey to calm coughs and sore throats gently while drug-based medications attempt to suppress a child's cough unnaturally. It is also the only cough treatment on the market safe and effective for children as young as 12 months of age.
Avoidance of this virus is best achieved by frequent hand washing and limiting unnecessary contact with the nose and mouth. Teaching proper hygiene and coughing into the elbow may also help keep young children from spreading the virus.
Adenoviruses are actually a family of viruses most prevalent in the late winter, spring and early summer. They can cause many symptoms but are often known for causing high fevers in children. Additionally, runny nose, sore throat, red eyes, pneumonias, and even vomiting and diarrhea may be seen with these viruses.
Adenovirus is highly contagious and may be readily spread by close contact in places like summer camps, schools, childcare centers and hospitals. Transmission of adenovirus can occur via airborne secretions (i.e. coughing or sneezing), the fecal-oral route (i.e. not washing hands after using the restroom) and by contact with contaminated surfaces like toys, furniture and hands. Adenoviruses can survive for long periods on environmental surfaces; they are inactivated by heat or a bleach cleaning solution made by mixing ¼ cup of bleach with one gallon of water. An infected individual can shed the virus from days to months in the stool.
There is no way to completely prevent adenoviral infections in kids. To reduce the risk of transmission, parents and other caregivers should encourage frequent hand washing, keep shared surfaces such as countertops and toys clean and remove kids with infections from group settings until symptoms subside.
Fifth disease is caused by infection with human parvovirus B19. The illness is characterized by a rash on the cheeks, giving the characteristic "slapped-cheek” appearance and occurs most commonly in children. The ill child may also have a lacy red rash on the trunk and limbs, a low-grade fever, cold symptoms, or general discomfort for a few days before the rash breaks out. The rash resolves in 7 to 10 days, however, an infected individual is contagious during the early part of the illness, before the rash even appears. Parvovirus is typically spread by direct contact with the respiratory secretions, e.g., saliva, sputum or nasal mucus, of infected persons. By the time you see the "slapped cheeks,” your child is probably no longer contagious and may return to school or daycare.
Although fifth disease is usually a mild illness that resolves on its own, it may cause a serious illness in persons with sickle-cell disease, certain chronic anemias, or in those with weakened immune systems. Occasionally, serious complications may also develop from a parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy.
Treatment of symptoms such as fever, pain, or itching is usually all that is required for fifth disease. There is no vaccine or medicine that prevents parvovirus B19 infection. Frequent hand washing and the avoidance of sharing drinks or utensils are the most effective methods to decrease the chance of becoming infected. Excluding persons with fifth disease from summer camp, child care centers or schools is not likely to prevent the spread of the virus, since people are contagious before they develop the rash.
Enteroviruses are another family of viruses that include the polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and several others. These viruses are widespread and second only to the "common cold" viruses, the rhinoviruses, as the most common viral infections in humans. The non-polio enteroviruses cause an estimated 10-15 million symptomatic infections a year in the United States alone. These infections are most commonly seen at the end of spring and moving into summer and early fall. Conversely, the polioviruses have been eliminated from the U.S. by the widespread use of vaccines.
Most people who are infected with a non-polio enterovirus have no disease at all. Infected persons who become ill usually develop mild upper respiratory symptoms (a "summer cold"), a flu-like illness with fever and muscle aches or a rash. Coxsackie viruses are responsible for hand, foot, and mouth disease as well as herpangina, both of which may result in a sore throat and sores in the mouth. Less commonly, some children may contract viral meningitis or, rarely, a person may develop an illness that affects the heart (myocarditis) or the brain (encephalitis).
Like many other viruses, enteroviruses can also be found in the respiratory secretions or the stool of an infected person. Direct contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, such as a drinking glass, telephone, diaper, or a bathroom door handle may transmit infection. Because most people who are infected with enteroviruses do not become sick, it can be difficult to prevent the spread of the virus. Strict adherence to proper washing and hygiene are the standard to avoid infection. Also, cleaning contaminated surfaces with a disinfectant or a dilute chlorine-bleach solution can be a very effective way to inactivate the virus, especially in crowded, high-traffic settings such as summer camps and community and child care centers.
About Dr. Zarbock
Zak Zarbock, M.D. is one of the country’s top pediatricians and the Founder and President of Zarbee’s, the fastest-growing children’s cough and cold brand in the country. As one of the nation’s leading experts on treating coughs and colds in children, Dr. Zak was invited to participate in the September 2010 FDA hearing on Capitol Hill and speak about the potential dangers of cough syrup. A member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Zak completed his medical training at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, his pediatric internship and residency at the University of Utah and Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City and practices at Families First Pediatrics in South Jordan, Utah. Married and the proud father of four boys between the ages of three and 11, Dr. Zak is a regular guest on TV and radio shows and serves as a resource for reporters writing stories about pediatric issues.
The fastest-growing children's cough and cold brand in the country, Zarbee’s is the only cough syrup on the market that has been proven safe and effective for children 12 months of age and older. Developed by one of the country’s top pediatricians, Zarbee’s is made from antioxidant-rich buckwheat honey, which clinical trials have shown to be the safest and most effective treatment for relieving coughs in children. Recommended by pediatricians nationwide, Zarbee’s Cough Syrup is all natural and gluten free, contains no drugs, alcohol and dyes, has no side effects and carries no risk of overdose. Zarbee’s does not include Dextromethorphan (DM), the most common over-the-counter treatment for coughs, which is not supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, has been banned for children ages 4 and younger and is being scrutinized by the FDA as ineffective and potentially dangerous for children. Available at Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Kmart, Kroger, Winn Dixie, Albertsons and Meijer stores nationwide, Zarbee’s Cough Syrup sells for a suggested retail price of $7.99 for a 4 fluid ounce bottle. For more information, visit www.zarbees.com.
Original All Natural Children’s Cough Syrup
- The only cough and cold syrup on the market that is safe and effective for children 12 months of age and older
- Contains antioxidant-rich blend of buckwheat honey, wildflower honey, and immune-system boosters zinc, vitamin C and natural flavors
- Available in grape and cherry flavors, flavors kids describe as “yummy” and “scrumbdidilyumptious.”
- Sells nationwide for a suggested retail price of $7.99 for a 4 fluid ounce bottle
Zarbee’s Nighttime Cough and Sleep Drink
- Helps soothe nighttime coughs and sore throats
- First product for children 2 years and older to help provide relief from coughs and sore throats and promote healthy sleep
- Contains 100% granulated honey, vitamin C, zinc gluconate, melatonin, natural grape and elderberry
- Comes in a powder form that mixes with soothing warm water
- Safe for children two years of age and older
- Sells nationwide for a suggested retail price of $8.99 for six two-ounce doses
Available at Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Kmart, Kroger, Winn Dixie, Albertsons and Meijer stores nationwide
For more information, visit www.zarbees.com also check out ZarBee's on Facebook.
This was not a paid post and honest/original opinions were used and they are my own. Thank you to the company and/or pr agency who supplied the product for review.