In case you have not heard, there is an outbreak of a virus called enterovirus spreading in the U.S.
I think you’d almost have to be hiding under a rock (something I sometimes do) to have missed this one!
So, what is it, and what do you need to know?
EV D68 is a strain of enterovirus that has not been seen in the U.S. in many years, and is causing cold symptoms in many, and severe respiratory symptoms and wheezing in some.
Enteroviruses are actually quite common, and are the culprit behind many colds, vomiting and diarrhea illnesses, and viral meningitis. Usually enteroviral infections are mild and self-limited (you get over it with time and rest). Enteroviruses are more common in children and occur more often in summer and fall.
The reason this virus has gained so much attention is that it is leading to more severe respiratory illness in people who have asthma or history of wheezing and is causing wheezing in many people that have never wheezed before.
If you, your child, or anyone in your family has asthma: Make sure to use preventative medicine, even if this is not a season that you or your loved one usually needs it. If you have not been in for a recent asthma maintenance visit (we recommend them every 6 months), schedule one to be sure your asthma is being optimally managed.
If not: Treat yourself and your kids the way you usually do. Review and practice ways to prevent spreading and contracting infection: wash hands, don’t share drinks, keep hands away from your face and mouth, and avoid people who are sick.
If it looks like cold symptoms, start supportive care with rest, fluids, a humidifier, and over-the counter medications as needed, for people over 6 years.
If you or your child experience trouble breathing, we need to see them! If it is after hours, seek care in the ER for difficulty breathing. We are always here to help guide you if you are unsure what to do, but anyone having trouble breathing should always be seen in a timely manner. Stay Well!