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URMC / Patients & Families / Health Matters / September 2014 / Enterovirus D68: Treat Symptoms, Wash Hands and Don’t Panic

Enterovirus D68: Treat Symptoms, Wash Hands and Don’t Panic

Every year, around late summer or fall, some form of enterovirus shows up. The symptoms are often similar to the common cold, along with some fever or rash, and a dash of headache.
But this year, an especially nasty strain called enterovirus D68 has been making its way across the country. This version causes more respiratory problems than others, particularly for children.
mother taking sick child's temperature
With cases now suspected in Rochester, UR Medicine infectious disease specialist Dr. Geoff Weinberg sheds light on the virus and how to prevent its spread. 
  • As a virus, antibiotics are not effective against enterovirus. Aim to treat your child’s symptoms: control the fever with ibuprofen or acetaminophen and make sure they drink plenty of fluids to stay well-hydrated. 
  • Prevent the spread of the disease by washing your child’s hands regularly and making sure they cover their mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • If your child is wheezing, working harder to breathe, or has an out-of-control cough, call the doctor. For infants, monitor their feeding; babies often don’t feed as well if they’re having trouble breathing.
  • The virus can be more serious for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, so keep an extra-close eye on these children. For children with asthma, make absolutely certain that they are taking their preventive medications on schedule.
  • Don’t panic. The symptoms can be scary, but the vast majority of children make complete recoveries.
For more information on enterovirus D68, visit the Centers for Disease Control.
Geoff Weinberg, MD
Geoff Weinberg, M.D., is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital. He is currently chair of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute Committee for the Care of Children & Adolescents with HIV Infection.


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