What is Enterovirus?
What is Enterovirus (EV) D68 and what can I do to prevent my child from getting it?
EV D68 is a strain of a cold-like (upper respiratory) virus. It is getting a lot of attention because some children and adults have gotten really sick after contracting this illness. However, most people will improve after getting this infection without treatment or hospitalization. Here are the facts:
- The symptoms resemble a common cold: runny nose, sneezing, cough, shortness of breath, fever. These can range in severity from very mild to severe.
- Children with asthma or compromised immune systems are at higher risk for more severe symptoms.
- There is no specific antiviral treatment for this at this time. This is also true for most upper respiratory infections and colds.
- Treatment is “supportive.” This means acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be given for fevers. Drinking plenty of fluids is very important. If the individual is found to have low oxygen levels in the doctor’s office or hospital, he or she will be given oxygen.
- The overwhelming majority of cases will resolve with supportive care.
- There is no vaccine for this virus. This is also true of most upper respiratory viruses.
- If your child is having difficulty breathing, take him or her to the ER. If your child is having “cold-like” symptoms, an evaluation at your doctor’s office may be warranted.
- A test is available, but only through the CDC. This is not widely available in many communities.
An Ounce of Prevention….
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water if possible.
- Avoid touching yours or others’ face and eyes.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing utensils and cups with people with symptoms.
- Disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched-door knobs, kitchen appliances, bathrooms, electronics.
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About the Expert:
Dr. Anna Holzer, Family Medicine
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