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Avoiding Enterovirus-D68 in 5 Steps

By now you’ve most certainly heard about EV-D68 – or, as it’s more commonly known, Enterovirus-D68. This virus is contagious and in the case of our patient population, can be extremely dangerous to catch. Recently, Roy Maynard, medical director at PHS, had information and 4 steps for our clinical staff to remind patients of and follow every day as they care for children with medical complexities.

We think they’re good steps for everyone to remember to stay healthy this flu season. Do you have any questions about EV-D68 or staying healthy? Leave your question in the comment section and we’ll have Dr. Maynard answer it!

EV-D68 can shed from an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. The virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches surfaces. EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Most of the children who became very ill with EV-D68 infection in Missouri and Illinois had difficulty breathing, and some had wheezing. Many of these children had asthma or a history of wheezing.

While this virus mostly affects children under 5 years old, all children with chronic diseases are at risk for more severe disease and hospitalization.

Follow these 5 simple steps to avoid getting sick:

Although there are no vaccines to prevent EV-D68 infections, patients, caregivers, and anyone in contact with those who may be ill should follow these prevention steps:

      • _T6K2777Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
      • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
      • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick; and
      • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
      • If someone you know is sick, avoid close interactions with them until symptoms subside

Once diagnosed, there is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infection. Additionally, no antiviral medications are available for EV-D68. Some patients with severe respiratory illness may need to be hospitalized and receive supportive therapy.

Currently, there have been no deaths this year associated with this virus and less than 200 confirmed cases in the United States. It’s important to remember that precautions and supportive treatments are comparable to the mid-winter outbreaks of RSV in the medically complex community. Being mindful of following these steps is crucial in staying healthy this winter, and keeping those around you healthy as well.

You can also check out Dr. Maynard’s video on staying healthy here. How do you and your family stay healthy during the ‘sick season’?

Originally published: October 21, 2014

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