5 Things Parents Should Know About Enterovirus

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Enterovirus and Rhinovirus belong to a group of non-polio viruses that affect millions of people each year. This year, enterovirus EV-D68 has been the most commonly reported enterovirus--cases have been reported in 47 U.S. states. Almost all the confirmed cases tested by the Centers for Disease Control have been among children, many with a history of asthma and wheezing. Here are five things parents need to know about the virus.

Children with asthma are at higher risk

EV-D68 causes mild to severe respiratory illness. Those with asthma have a more sensitive respiratory system which makes them at a greater risk of infection. To protect your child, make sure he or she has an updated asthma action plan and has access to medication at all times. Also, make sure teachers and caregivers are informed your child has asthma, and know how to manage symptoms. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)


Stay home when sick

Enterovirus is primarily spread through infected mucus from the nose and mouth. If you or your child are experiencing coughing or sneezing symptoms, along with mild symptoms such as fever, runny nose and body aches, it’s wise to stay home and keep your child home from school. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)


Consider a flu vaccine

The flu can be damaging to respiratory systems and trigger asthma, which puts a child at greater risk for enterovirus. The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six get flu vaccine every year. However, children who have had wheezing symptoms during the past year should avoid the nasal-spray vaccine, and get a flu shot instead. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)


Prevent enterovirus before it starts

There is no vaccine against EV-D68, so it is important to prevent the spread of infection in homes and schools. Since children constantly touch their eyes, face, and surfaces throughout the day, teach your child to wash his or her hands frequently. To protect your home, make sure to clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently.  (Source: Centers for Disease Control)


Talk with your child’s doctor

It is very difficult to tell the early symptoms of enterovirus from those of a common cold.  Call your doctor if your child develops a fever or rash, is wheezing, or has trouble breathing. If your child has asthma, call a doctor if you have followed your child’s updated action plan and the symptoms persist or are getting worse.  (Source: Centers for Disease Control )