Enterovirus 68 – What should I know?

September 9, 2014 6:58 pm

Enterovirus 68 is a virus that has been around since the 1960’s. It causes symptoms similar to a “cold”. These symptoms include runny nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, fever, and in some cases a rash. The good news is that enteroviruses usually aren’t deadly. Recently there have been more severe illnesses, especially in children with asthma, but as of now, even the sickest children (those that have required intubation and mechanical ventilation), get better. Most of the enterovirus-68 infections are mild and self-limited and require only symptomatic treatment.

Like all respiratory viruses enterovirus spreads through close contact with infected people. That makes children more susceptible. To prevent infection we encourage frequent hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds — particularly after going to the bathroom. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are regularly touched by different people, such as toys and doorknobs. Avoid shaking hands, kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. Stay home if you or your child feel unwell.

For children with asthma, as with all respiratory viruses, we encourage following your Asthma Control Plan. At the first sign of a respiratory illness (runny nose, cough), start your Yellow Zone medications. Typically this means starting albuterol every four hours, and in many cases increasing your inhaled steroid to 4 times daily. If symptoms are progressing despite early initiation of Yellow Zone medications, follow your Red Zone plan. If despite these steps your child develops significant respiratory distress seek additional medical care.

If you have questions or concerns, or need help understanding your Asthma Control Plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us, 24/7/365, at 612-813-3300.

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