Mille Lacs Health System
Sept. 24, 2014
Enterovirus 68 has been receiving a lot of media attention. It is not a new virus ̶ it has been around since 1962. This year, however, the virus has been confirmed in 18 states, including Minnesota. The symptoms are fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches.
Like many other viruses, it is spread through coughs, sneezes, and saliva, and can be picked up on contaminated surfaces.
The virus has caused some children to get very ill and require hospitalization. Many of those children have asthma or a history of wheezing. “It is important for those with asthma follow their asthma action plan and use their controller or daily medications as prescribed,” states Vicki Engmark, MLHS Respiratory Therapist. “This will help decrease asthma symptoms if they do get sick. If symptoms persist, parents should contact their health care provider right away.”
There is no vaccine for this virus. “The treatment for this virus is the same as other viruses,” says Dr. Roger Boettcher, Family Practice Physician at Mille Lacs Health System, “which is plenty of fluids and rest. If a patient is extremely ill, the symptoms will be treated while the virus runs its course.” There are no antiviral medications currently available for Enterovirus 68.
The best way to prevent getting this virus (and others) is good hand washing, staying home when ill and staying away from others who are sick. Also, with the virus being predominant among infants, children, and teenagers, parents should caution their children not to share food, drinks, etc. with others.