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Sick child coughing into elbow

How parents can prepare for viral season, including EV-D68

Over the last few days, the news media have brought attention to the number of children across the country with respiratory illnesses, particularly Enterovirus EV-D68. Though we haven’t seen any cases of Enterovirus EV-D68 at Children’s Wisconsin so far this year, we continue to actively test for it.

We’ve seen an anticipated increase in respiratory illness over the last few weeks, both in our primary care clinics and in our emergency room. This is typical for this time of the year with the change of season and children going back to school. Because we see this on an annual basis, we are always prepared to treat more sick kids this time of year.

Enteroviruses, which are very common, are closely related to Rhinoviruses, the cause of the common cold, and often present with cold-like symptoms. Treatment usually includes addressing the symptoms and getting extra rest.

Preventing the spread of illnesses

Because viruses are spread through close contact with infected people, it is not unusual for illnesses to be on the rise when children are back at school. The most important things parents, teachers and caregivers can do to prevent the spread of illnesses are to:

  • Encourage frequent hand washing.
  • Teach children to cover their noses and mouths when they sneeze and cough.
  • Avoid sending kids to school when they are sick.

Enterorvirus EV-D68, the illness being reported in several communities across the country, includes symptoms that impact the respiratory system. This means that it can be particularly hard on people with asthma or other breathing disorders. These individuals should talk with their physicians about how to best address their symptoms.

Children’s Wisconsin remains ready to provide the best care to kids this fall and that includes those with EV-D68 infection or any other respiratory illnesses that come our way.