Every year, millions of children in the United States catch enteroviruses that can cause coughing, sneezing, and fever. This year, the enterovirus that is most commonly causing respiratory illness in children across the country is enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68). Take basic steps to keep your child from getting and spreading EV-D68.
Infections with enteroviruses are usually common in the United States during summer and fall. This year, beginning in mid-August, states started seeing more children in hospitals with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Since then, CDC and states have been doing more testing, and have found that EV-D68 is making people sick in almost all states. Most of the cases have been among children. EV-D68 is not new, but it hasn’t been as common in the past. While this has been a big year for EV-D68 infections, CDC expects the number of cases to taper off by late fall.
Children are at higher risk for EV-D68
Infants, children, and teenagers are at higher risk than adults for getting infected and sick with enteroviruses like EV-D68. That’s because they have not been exposed to these types of viruses before, and they do not yet have immunity (protection) built up to fight the disease. If your child has asthma, he or she may be at greater risk for severe respiratory illness from EV-D68.
Know the signs of symptoms of EV-D68
EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness.
- Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
- Severe symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty breathing.
Call your child’s doctor if he or she is having difficulty breathing, if you feel you are unable to control symptoms, or if symptoms are getting worse. If your child develops severe illness, he or she may need to be hospitalized.
Washing hands correctly is the most important thing you can do to stay healthy.
Follow these steps to protect your children from EV-D68 & other viruses.
Children with asthma are particularly at risk for severe symptoms from EV-D68 infection.
Help protect your family from EV-D68
To help avoid catching and spreading EV-D68, parents and children should always follow basic steps to stay healthy.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Washing hands correctly is the most important thing you can do to stay healthy.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils, with people who are sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
- Stay home when you are sick and keep sick children out of school.
There is no specific treatment for EV-D68. If your child has mild respiratory symptoms, you may be able to relieve some symptoms with over-the-counter medicine for pain and fever. Remember, children should not be given aspirin. Talk to your child’s doctor about the best way to control his or her symptoms.
For more information:
Web Feature, “What Parents Need to Know About Enterovirus D68”
Drop-in newsletter article (matte article), “Parents: Learn the Facts about Enterovirus D68”
Fact sheet for parents, “What Parents Need to Know about Enterovirus D68”
General questions and answers for the public
Infographic: Keep Your Child from Getting and Spreading