As flu season nears, doctors at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital say parents should be on the look out for the respiratory virus, Enterovirus-D68, particularly if your child has asthma. The virus first surfaced in August, striking schoolchildren in Kansas City, Missouri with a vengeance. More than 300 students were hospitalized there in a single week due to the virus.
EV-D68 presents with cold-like symptoms: a runny nose, coughing, wheezing, and upper respiratory congestion. But this virus can be more virulent, causing severe breathing difficulties, weakness, numbness in arms or legs.
There is no vaccine for EV-D68.
Thus far, only two unconfirmed cases have been reported at Le Bonheur. Dr. John DeVincenzo, Le Bonheur’s medical director of molecular diagnostic and virology laboratories, says those cases won’t be verified until testing is completed by the Centers for Disease Control. Those results could take several months. Hospital officials would not give out any further details on the status of the children.
The CDC has reported it as a nationwide outbreak. Four children have died nationally as a result of the virus.
DeVincenzo says the hospital is being proactive. “We’re ready when it comes. We’ve been acting like it’s already here."
• Runny nose
• Limpness in the arms or legs
• Shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing
• Other nerve problems such as facial droop and double vision
Home or Hospital?
Bring your child to your doctor or the emergency room if:
• Your child complains of having difficulty breathing, can’t catch her breath, has labored breathing
• Your child’s skin or lips have turned blue
• Your child is unresponsive or difficult to arouse
• Your child experiences paralysis, slurred speech, severe headaches, blurred vision
Treatment Relieve symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever.
Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and keep child away from others.
• Sneeze into the crook of your arm & cough into your hand
• Wash your hands with warm soap and water
• Use hand sanitizers
• Stay away from others when you are sick
• Keep kids at home and wait 24 hours before having your baby go back there.