A: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is “one of many non-polio enteroviruses. This virus was first identified in California in 1962, but it has not been commonly reported in the United States.” EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms, including fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches. More severe symptoms include difficulty breathing and wheezing. The CDC notes that infants, children and teenagers are most likely to get infected with the EV-D68 virus and become ill. That’s because they do not yet have immunity from previous exposures to these viruses. Children with asthma seem to have a higher risk for severe respiratory illness. There are no specific treatments for EV-D68, but over-the-counter medications for pain and fever can help reduce mild symptoms. For those with severe respiratory symptoms, hospitalization may be needed.
So how can you protect yourself? The CDC recommends washing hands often with soap and water, especially after diaper changes. In addition, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Also avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. Finally, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick. Those who have questions should visit their doctor. More information on this and other viruses are also available online at www.cdc.gov.
Information provided by Clint Luterman, 21st Century Rehab, Dallas County Hospital, 610 10th St., Perry, 465-7672.