Enterovirus

The start of the school year has helped a respiratory virus make its way through 12 states, including our own.

Enterovirus – D68 is similar to the common cold, except the symptoms may escalate, causing mild to severe respiratory illness.

Naperville’s own Edward Hospital has seen a number of infections that they believe is the Enterovirus-D68 virus, however, that cannot be confirmed until the CDC does final testing.

This virus affects children as young as 6-weeks-old all the way up to 16-years-old; however, it’s most commonly found in children ages 4 to 6.

Dr. Jonathan Pinsky, MD explains the distinction between identifying the symptoms of this virus and your common cold.

“These children are presenting typically with breathing problems, they have wheezing, they have fast breathing, and they have trouble maintaining oxygen. Most of the children have had fevers, although some children have not,” said Pinksy, Infectious Disease Doctor at Edward Hospital.

The virus spreads through coughing, sneezing, and possibly by contact, so the best way to keep your child safe is to make sure they wash their hands, avoid touching their eyes and cover their mouth when they cough.

Children with a history of breathing problems like asthma are at a higher risk, and if the virus presents itself, should be put on oxygen immediately.

“We don’t know yet what the full spectrum of this infection is, most likely the vast majority of affected cases will have mild illness not requiring doctor’s visits or hospitalizations. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, so I think we’re learning more,” said Pinsky.

There is no vaccine for the virus, so if your child starts wheezing and has a fever, initial treatment would be similar to that of a cold. If the symptoms grow more serious, or your child has trouble breathing, take them to the doctor’s office or emergency room.

Edward Hospital has already taken precautionary measures and currently, no one under the age of 18 or anyone with a cold or flu-like symptom can visit hospitalized patients.

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