Enterovirus at a Shelton school: Symptoms, prevention, treatment
A student has been diagnosed with enterovirus (EV-D68) at Sunnyside School in Shelton, the city Board of Education has announced.
Since September, hundreds of children across the country have come down with the respiratory illness that is similar to the flu. This includes cases in Connecticut.
Children are most likely to get enterovirus, especially those with a history of asthma or wheezing. The virus produces mild symptoms, similar to a bad cold, in most people infected.
In late September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory concerning EV-D68.
“The United States is currently experiencing a nationwide outbreak of EV-D68 associated with severe respiratory disease,” the CDC said at the time.
“The CDC is seeking information about other similar neurologic illnesses in all states, especially cases clustered in time and place,” stated the advisory.
Mild symptoms of enterovirus D68 many include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
Sever symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty breathing.
In general, infants, children, and teens are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses.
Those with a history of respiratory difficulties such as asthma are more at risk for severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 infection.
The virus spreads through contact with respiratory secretions — saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum — usually transmitted by coughing, sneezing, or touching contaminated surfaces.
The best way to prevent infection by enterovirus is to:
• Wash hands often.
• Avoid touching one’s face, especially with unwashed hands.
• Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing food, drinks, or utensils with people who are sick.
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.
Treatment for enterovirus is the same as for a cold or the flu: Stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, treat with fever and/or pain reducers as needed, and stay home until fully recovered.
The CDC urges those with asthma to update and follow their asthma action plan, to take medications as prescribed, and to be sure to keep reliever medications on hand. Call a doctor right away if there are new or worsening symptoms that do not go away.
— by Kimberly Donnelly of Hersam Acorn Newspapers