Simple Ways to Prevent the Spread of Enterovirus D68

10.21.2014

Virus Outbreak Will Likely Worsen in Coming Weeks

The spread of enteroviruses, the family of viruses that cause the common cold, typically peaks in the fall months as children return to school. In recent weeks, a rare enterovirus known as Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has caused a great deal of misery for children throughout the country. At its most severe, the virus can cause respiratory distress that requires hospitalization. The first cases were identified in Missouri in late August, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has since confirmed cases in 42 additional states and the District of Columbia.

Because EV-D68 is not widely distributed, the majority of people are susceptible to infection – particularly children ages four to 12 with a history of asthma or breathing problems.  Unfortunately, the outbreak may worsen before it gets better. Experts advise that for the virus to stop spreading, it must infect enough of the population to result in immunity. The good news is that many EV-D68 infections will be mild, requiring only symptomatic treatment.

Simple Preventive Measures

Antibiotics will not work against a virus, and there is no vaccine to prevent infection with EV-D68. Therefore, the same measures used to stop the spread of the common cold and flu should be applied to EV-D68.

  • Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom or changing a diaper
  • Avoid touching the nose, eyes and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick
  • Disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched by people, such as doorknobs and toys
  • Keep children at home if they feel unwell

Get Advice and Treatment at a Houston RediClinic

The board-certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants at RediClinic are available seven days a week, including extended weekday hours, to treat children 18 months or older who exhibit mild virus symptoms. Anyone with difficulty breathing should report to the emergency room immediately.

Click here for a complete list of 20 convenient walk-in RediClinic locations in the Houston area.