We are currently experiencing a nationwide outbreak of the Enterovirus D68. Enterovirus D68 can cause respiratory illness ranging from mild to severe. Infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected and become ill. Adults may also become infected but are more likely to have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Children with asthma may have an increased risk for severe respiratory illness.
Enterovirus D68 causes symptoms similar to those of the common cold such as fever, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, body and muscle aches. Severe symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty with breathing.
Enterovirus D68 causes respiratory illness and can be found in saliva, nasal mucus or sputum. The virus likely spreads when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or touches a surface that is then touched by others. You can help prevent contracting and spreading the virus by washing your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; avoid close contact and sharing toys, cups, and eating utensils with people who are sick; covering your cough and sneezes with a tissue; clean and disinfect surfaces, toys, and doorknobs; and most important, stay home if you are sick.
Since Enterovirus D68 is a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Currently, there are no vaccinations or antiviral medications available for those who become ill with the virus. For the most part, treatment can be provided at home with plenty of rest and fluids. If admission to a hospital is necessary, treatment may include breathing treatments, supplemental oxygen, intravenous fluids, and mechanical respiratory support in severe cases.
If you are unsure about whether or not your child is displaying symptoms of the Enterovirus D68, please seek immediate medical care. Owl Now Urgent Care is open from 10am to 10pm seven days a week including holidays.
Pediatric Health is sponsored by Pediatrics Associates of Lakeland and Pediatric Partners of Winter Haven.
column by DALLAS VALENTINE, FNP-BC
BIO: Dallas Valentine, FNP-BC, graduated from University of Michigan as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and has been practicing medicine for three years.