Children More Prone To Viruses During Seasonal Changes

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The change in seasons means a number of health concerns will soon begin to arise for the public.

Those who suffer from allergies are most likely experiencing more severe symptoms than normal because allergens are at their peak during the fall season. 

Dr. Lance Broy, Medical Director of Family Practices at the Holzer Health Clinic, said that mold and dust allergens increase in the fall. Cooler evening temperatures attract more people to stay indoors, which makes them more exposed to these types of allergy conditions.

The seasonal change also provides a better atmosphere for viruses, like the flu, to develop and spread.

“It’s not necessarily physiologically with our bodies going through anything different as the temperature or the season change, it’s the viruses and the illness that we are exposed to,” Broy said.

Physicians at Holzer have already seen a number of people come in for their yearly flu vaccination. Broy said it usually takes a few weeks for the vaccine to fully kick in to the immune system. So far he has seen no reported cases of the flu this year at the clinic. He said that near the end of October is when the virus really begins to spread.

Young children in schools are most susceptible to contracting viruses because of being in constant contact with others in a contained space. Broy said this is one of the main reasons

“So when we have illnesses that are easy to catch and then we’re shoved into indoor areas where we’re more around people with those viruses then they spread like wildfire,” he said. “So that’s why you see schools having much more rapid infections.”

Broy said parents can help prevent their children from catching viruses by teaching them to practice basic hygiene and being aware if those around them are sick.

Another virus is quickly spreading nationwide. The recently discovered string of Enterovirus-D68 is a more aggressive form of the respiratory virus and is also most common among children. Children with asthma are at an even higher risk to catch the virus.

Since mid-August two cases of Enterovirus-D68 have been confirmed in Ohio by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both were reported at children’s hospitals in Columbus and Akron. Broy said because it has spread so quickly across the country, it’s likely to continue to spread in Ohio.

“You have to assume that’s a possibility,” he said. “There’s no reason to think that it can’t spread within each state.”