Enterovirus 68

We're used to our children getting sick in the Fall as they head back to school and the weather cools.  But, every once in a while, we are thrown a curve.  That’s what’s happening right now. 

As cold and flu season gets going, we now have Enterovirus 68 thrown into the mix.  You’ve probably seen it on television as it seems to be raging throughout the country right now with infections reported in 45 states.  Enterovirus 68 is a respiratory virus that is very similar to a common cold.  Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. 

Children are most at-risk of becoming infected with this virus and the age group most commonly infected are children between the ages of 4 and 5.  The biggest problem with Enterovirus 68 is that it can quickly become quite serious, especially for children with asthma.  If you have a child with asthma, make sure that you have an appropriate care plans in place and share that plan with your child's school and child care providers.  Signs of distress in a child, such as difficulty talking, audible wheezing or bluish lip color call for immediate medical intervention. 

Since Enterovirus 68  is a respiratory virus, it is found in secretions such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum.  Other than watching for signs of illness in children, the best way to protect your children is to:

  • Wash hands frequently using soap and water.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick (keep your child home when he/she is sick).

With conscientious care, you can help keep your children healthy.  And, if your child becomes ill, you know how to identify when it may be becoming more serious and when to seek medical assistance.