The number of children sickened by Enterovirus D-68 is very high in Colorado right now, and while District 50 has not had a major outbreak parents need to know basic information about the virus and how to avoid getting sick.
What parents should know:
There is a severe respiratory virus here in Colorado called the Enterovirus D-68. Even though the enterovirus is common, this strain is not. The CDC reports the hospitalization of hundreds of children across the United States with severe respiratory illness and asthma exacerbations.
The virus usually starts like a common cold, sneezing, coughing, and runny nose. Some patients will get a severe cough, have difficulty breathing, and/or develop a rash. Sometimes the virus is accompanied by a fever or wheezing. In the beginning, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to tell the difference between the common cold and this virus. There are symptoms to look for, a fever or rash, or if the child has difficulty breathing. Children with asthma or a history of breathing problems are particularly susceptible for severe symptoms.
How is it spread?
The respiratory illness is spread through close contact, just like the common cold. It can also be spread by touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them, and then touching your face.
How can I protect my children?
The best prevention for the spread of the virus is to use good hygiene practices. Cough into your sleeve or elbow. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds – particularly after using the bathroom and changing diapers. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are regularly touched by different people, such as toys and doorknobs. Avoid shaking hands, hugging and sharing cups and eating utensils. Keep kids home with coughing, fever or rash and follow up with your doctor. Seek immediate medical attention if your child has difficulty breathing. If your child has asthma, be sure they are taking their asthma medication and their asthma is well controlled.