Learn the Facts about Enterovirus D68
Every year, millions of children in the United States get enterovirus infections that can cause coughing, sneezing, and fever. This year, children throughout the country have gotten sick with respiratory illnesses caused by enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68). EV-D68 is one of many enteroviruses that often spread in the summer and fall. It’s not a new virus, but it hasn’t been very common in the past. However, this year, EV-D68 is the most common enterovirus that’s going around.
Since you may not have heard of EV-D68 before, better understanding of how to prevent the virus and the symptoms that this virus can cause can help you protect your children.
What are the signs and symptoms of EV-D68?
Most children who get infected with EV-D68 may have cold-like symptoms, like fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body and muscle aches. More severe symptoms include wheezing and difficulty breathing. Children with asthma are at risk for severe symptoms from EV-D68.
How can I protect my children?
You can help protect yourself and others from respiratory illnesses, including EV-D68, by following these steps:
Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils, with people who are sick, or when you are sick
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
Stay home when you are sick and keep sick children home from school
Could my child get EV-D68?
EV-D68 spreads when people infected with the virus cough, sneeze, or touch surfaces that are then touched by others. In general, infants, children, and teenagers are at higher risk than adults for getting infected and sick with enteroviruses like EV-D68. That's because they have not been exposed to these types of viruses before, and they do not yet have immunity (protection) built up to fight the disease. If your child has asthma, he or she may be at greater risk for severe respiratory illness from EV-D68.
If your child has asthma, CDC recommends you do the following to help maintain control of your child’s asthma during this time:
There is no specific treatment for EV-D68. Talk to your child's doctor about the best way to control his or her symptoms.
Remember, that while this has been a big year for EV-D68 infections, CDC expects the number of cases to taper off by late fall. But even after cases of EV-D68 begin to decrease, parents and children should continue to follow basic steps to stay healthy, such as frequent hand washing and avoiding touching their faces with unwashed hands. To help your family stay healthy this fall and winter, CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine.
For more information on:
Enteroviruses, visit http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/
EV-D68 in the U.S., visit http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/outbreaks/EV-D68-outbreaks.html