Boston Children’s Hospital Provides Tips on How to Best Prevent Enterovirus D68


BOSTON (September 15, 2014) — Boston Children’s Hospital is taking the necessary steps to prepare in the event that an EV-D68 outbreak occurs in our region and a large number of patients seek care in our emergency department or are hospitalized with respiratory illness. To better prepare families, Boston Children’s has created an educational sheet that outlines what EV-D68 is and what families should do to avoid exposure. 

What is Enterovirus D68?

Enterovirus D68 is a type of enterovirus. Enteroviruses are incredibly common — every year they cause about 10 to 15 million infections. They can cause colds, along with fever, headaches, throwing up (vomiting), loose poop (diarrhea), and rashes. Enteroviruses are most often seen in the summer and fall. 

What are the symptoms?

Enterovirus D68 can cause a respiratory illness. Symptoms may be mild, such as fever, stuffy nose, mild cough and muscle aches. However, symptoms may also be severe, such as a very bad cough, wheezing or trouble breathing. For people who already have lung problems, such as children with asthma, or people with weaker immune systems, such as newborns, this virus can be dangerous. 

What should families do?

  • Wash your hands often. Use plain old soap and water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. Carry hand sanitizer when you are out and about and away from sinks.
  • Don't share cups or spoons, knives and forks, and wipe down toys and shared surfaces like doorknobs often.
  • Keep your distance from sick people. Save the hugging and kissing for when they are better. Don't let sick people hold or care for your baby, if possible. And if you or family members are feeling sick, stay home. It's better for everyone.
  • Teach your children to cover coughs and sneezes with the inside of the elbow or a tissue, not the hand.
  • Children with asthma or lung disease should take additional precautions to prevent symptoms by making sure he or she is taking all medication as prescribed, especially any "controller" medications used to prevent symptoms. If you need refills for more medicine, call your doctor.
  • If someone in your family starts with the sniffles and a cough, don't panic. Chances are it's just the common cold, and nothing to worry about. But keep a close eye, and if the cough gets worse, the person looks weak, is having any trouble breathing at all or otherwise acting sicker, call your doctor or go to your local emergency room.
  • Ask your doctor which emergency room is best for your child, as some have more experience with and equipment for children than others.
  • Where can families get more information? 

What is the treatment for this virus?

There is no medicine to treat Enterovirus D68. The care for it is what we call "supportive," meaning we do things to help with symptoms. We give oxygen if needed, fluids for dehydration (fluid loss), and medicines such as acetaminophen to treat fever and other symptoms. There's no vaccine, either. Prevention, and being aware of symptoms and getting medical attention, are key.

To learn more about Enterovirus D68, please go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For additional information, please visit our latest Thriving blog

 About Boston Children’s Hospital

Boston Children’s Hospital is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, 14 members of the Institute of Medicine and 14 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Boston Children’s research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s today is a 395-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. Boston Children’s is also the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

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