Parents Urged Not To Panic about Enterovirus

A New York pediatrician is urging parents to keep calm if they have to deal with the Enterovirus, which swept across the U.S . and is now being seen here.

“The virus is only at times severe,” said Charles Schleien, MD, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “It’s typically mild and parents should treat it like they would any other cold or viral infection in their child.”

While Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is not life-threatening, it does cause difficulty breathing, especially for children with asthma, said Dr. Schleien. Symptoms can also include fever, runny nose, body aches, sneezing and coughing.

“Our ER has seen about a 30 percent uptick in terms of numbers of visits,” said Dr. Schleien.
Unless children are experiencing  a medical emergency, he advises parents to bring children exhibiting symptoms of EV-D68 to their pediatricians or primary care physicians rather than the emergency department.

Like other viruses, Enterovirus is spread by close contact with infected individuals. With the new school year underway, this makes school-age children a prime candidate for the virus.

Because of this, children under the age of 14 should not be visiting hospital nursery or neo-natal units or areas where there are patients whose immune systems are weakened, Dr. Schleien said.

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