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What Parents Need to Know About Human Enterovirus

We asked Dr. Mark Piehl, medical director of the WakeMed Children’s Hospital, what parents need to know about Human Enterovirus 68, a respiratory virus affecting children in the Midwest.  He shared the following information with us and several reporters including Time Warner News.

  1. Human Enterovirus 68 is rare, but has been known to cause outbreaks of respiratory illness.
  2. The virus usually causes cold symptoms, including runny nose, cough, and fever.
  3. For the vast majority of people, including children, the symptoms will resolve without medical intervention just like most colds and respiratory viruses.
  4. WakeMed Children’s Hospital has seen more patients with respiratory illnesses than usual for this time of year, particularly wheezing and asthma.
  5. Although colds and upper respiratory infections seem to be hitting earlier this year in our area, no cases of Human Enterovirus 68 have been reported at WakeMed.
  6. Human Enterovirus 68 can cause more severe symptoms if your child has any pre-existing respiratory problems, such as asthma.
  7. If your child has difficulty breathing or is wheezing and is not responding to usual treatment, see your doctor or visit the emergency department.
  8. The best defense against any virus is good hand washing! 

Back to school frequently brings colds and flu.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted on what we are seeing in our physician practices, Children’s Emergency Department and Children’s Hospital as the season progresses.

Watch this simple video produced by the CDC showing proper hand washing techniques.