With all the news about Enterovirus D68 sending hundreds of children to hospitals, it’s easy to panic when you hear about a case in your neighborhood—or, even worse, if your child starts coughing.
But please, don’t panic.
This virus has certainly caused trouble. Enteroviruses are incredibly common, causing 10-15 million illnesses a year—but usually, those illnesses are minor. This one, for reasons we don’t fully understand, is stronger, and is worse for kids than for adults.
I can hear you saying: so why shouldn’t I panic? Here’s why.
Adults are the ones who are supposed to be stressed, not kids. Childhood is supposed to be the stress-free part of life, right?
Well, maybe not. At least not for teens.
According to a recently released survey from the American Psychological Association, teens are actually more stressed than their parents.
The other day, I finally stole some time and vacuumed out my minivan. I was starting to live in fear of someone asking me for a ride.
Not only was there garbage, random hats, a broken umbrella and tracked-in leaves on the floor, there were bits of pretzels and popcorn and some unidentifiable foods stuck between the seat cushions of the middle and back seats. My kids weren’t complaining (which was good, since they were mostly responsible for the mess), but it was crossing the line from messy to unsanitary.
We just aren’t neat people.
There have been times in my career as a doctor when I wished we had a Name Police.
There have been countless children I’ve met who had, well, unfortunate names. Often it was inadvertent—parents honestly didn’t realize that there might be a problem. Sometimes non-English speakers made up names that had an, um, different meaning in English (like a private body part), or would have seriously benefited from a well-placed vowel or two. Sometimes English-speaking families chose unique names—but then spelled them wrong (like Preshes instead of Precious).
Other times it was on purpose: people picked names of celebrities or objects or places (for confidentiality reasons I can’t give examples, but you can use your imagination) that might have seemed like a good idea at the time—but were clearly going to make life difficult for Junior.
By the time I met the families, there wasn’t anything I could do but cross my fingers and hope for the best. But I’d think: I wish I could call the Name Police about this one. I imagined them knocking at the family’s door, armed with name-change papers.