Fact or Fiction: Holistic ways to fight virus

St. Petersburg, Florida -- Local parents are looking for options to keep their kids healthy, after the first case of enterovirus has been confirmed in the Bay area in a 10-year-old Polk County girl.

The respiratory illness, like an intense cold, has spread through 44 states and Washington, D.C., impacting hundreds of kids.

Parents are raising concerns on whether a more natural approach may be the best protection.

Local holistic doctors say essential oils and supplements can help boost kids' immune system to fend off enterovirus, while other pediatricians say there's no medical data to back it up.

UPDATE: Polk girl treated for enterovirus

"Like any virus you want your kids to be healthy," says mother Cynthia Gilbert. Gilbert knows her 5-year-old daughter Ella is already susceptible to respiratory illnesses like the enterovirus, because of her allergies.

Gilbert is willing to take a nontraditional route to protect her little girl.

"I'm open to anything that's going to boost her immune system, keep her healthy, make sure she's doing what she needs to do to help fight that off. I use acupuncture already for her just to keep her body healthy. Essential oils, herbs, things like that are definitely open," says Gilbert.


With no vaccine or treatment for enterovirus, more parents are turning to nature to help fend off the disease that's spread through the air and on surfaces like a cold.

"Astragalus is very good for helping to boost the immune system and fight viruses. It's antiviral," says Dr. Chris Jackson from A Path to Wellness in St. Petersburg.

Jackson recommends using herbal supplements, essential oils and detoxifying children.

LEARN MORE: CDC info on Enterovirus D68

"There are a lot of these detox formulas that can help cleanse the body, anti-oxidants lots of anti-oxidants, having a good diet, avoiding fried foods," says Jackson. "The oils can act as an anti-viral, they can kill viruses."

"Lavender is the safest to use for kids," says Amy Hamilton-Hails at Great American Natural Products. She works closely with her parent customers. "Were always very concerned about child safety and essential oils that people really know what they're doing before they use them with their children."

INFORMATION: Enterovirus Foundation has details

The holistic approach isn't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Pediatric specialist Dr. Shirley Jankelevich at All Children's Hospital maintains good hygiene is the key for healthy kids.

"Good hand-washing, cover your mouth, cover your sneezes, don't touch your eyes," says Jankelevich.

Whatever path you take to prevention, it's important to do your research and talk with your doctor.

For more information from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention on enterovirus: http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/ev-d68.html

For more information from the Enterovirus Foundation: http://www.enterovirusfoundation.org/


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