Enterovirus D68 vs. the common cold
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a total of 82 cases of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) have been confirmed throughout the U.S. since mid-August. The virus has caused hospitals to limit young visitors, with an increasing number of concerned parents bringing their children into pediatricians’ offices and emergency departments nationwide.
“Though the symptoms of EV-D68 haven’t been well characterized, we know the common cold can also be caused by enteroviruses,” he says. “So the symptoms can often be very similar.”
Dr. Malow says many of the symptoms of EV-D68 often include fever , cough and runny nose. Additionally, patients may experience body and muscle aches, skin rash, and mouth sores or blisters.
Other enterovirus strains have been known to exhibit additional symptoms including:
- Hand-foot-mouth disease
“This is just one of many enteroviruses and, so far, it’s hard to differentiate from a cold or other types of the virus,” Dr. Malow says. “Children with a history of wheezing or asthma may be more prone to severe manifestations of EV-D68, so parents should keep a special eye on them.”
He says that if your child develops an upper respiratory infection watch for signs of difficulty breathing or wheezing. These symptoms warrant immediate evaluation from your pediatrician or at an emergency room.
As with the common cold, the key to prevention of EV-D68 is keeping your hands clean, especially with children back in school, Dr. Malow says. Washing hands with soap and water, avoiding close contact with those who may be sick and keeping your children home from school if they do become ill are the best approaches to prevention.
“The good news is, there have been children in the ICU due to this illness, but it appears the majority recover in a timely fashion,” he says. “In most children, this is no more severe than most colds or upper respiratory infections.”
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