The number of cases of Enterovirus 68 continue to grow, with the positive tested numbers of patients at well over a thousand — with the actual number probably 10 times that. Many cases are clustered in Colorado and the Midwest.

Enteroviruses are actually pretty common germs, and the late summer/early fall is usually when they show up. This particular strain, however, has been particularly scary since it causes a more vicious illness than the typical enterovirus, which usually just wind up causing pink eye or a bad “summer cold.”

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For some reason, this #68 strain really hits the lungs, and if your child has asthma or some other chronic illness, their risk for a trip to the hospital is unusually high– even though kids with normal lungs can be hit as well.

So here’s the real deal. Most people with Enterovirus 58 don’t even know they have it, or have a case of mild sniffles and cough. Others become deathly ill.

Some people with absolutely no symptoms can be contagious. Bad news!

The reason this bug is more worrisome is that kids are back in school — and schools tend to be germ factories, for either mild or serious illnesses.

Research shows that one person with an enterovirus germ in a classroom can deposit that germ on more than 60 percent of a classroom’s surfaces within two hours.

So parents, what’s the best defense?

The basics. Lots of hand washing … by everyone. Lots of soap. Lots of water.

And make sure you spend 20 seconds doing that wash.

And a sick kid should probably stay at home. Plus, if your child has asthma, make sure they are taking their meds!

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When to see the doctor or go to the ER?

More than a simple cold.

Rapid breathing.

Bad cough.

Fever

Wheezing — this one is a must!

Rash – a sneaky clue it could be an enterovirus

All in all, use common sense, and don’t hesitate to get checked — this one is a fast mover.

 

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