September 15, 2014

Washing your hands is the most effective way to prevent catching the “mystery virus”.

Recent news reports have been full of stories about a “mystery virus” that has affected a large number of children in the Midwestern United States.

This virus is no mystery, but rather a virus related to the family of viruses that cause the common cold.

This particular viral strain is called EV-D68. Most people who are infected will have no symptoms and not be aware that they have the virus. They will spread the virus to others without even knowing it.

This is why it is important to wash your hands often and never share food and drinks with others.

Who is at risk?

  • School age children are most likely to be infected
  • Anyone with a compromised immune system
  • Those affected with chronic respiratory illnesses, such as asthma

What are the symptoms?

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Cold-like symptoms

How is it spread?
The infection is spread through the respiratory secretions of those infected with the virus when they sneeze, cough, or talk. Secretions include:

  • Saliva
  • Mucous
  • Sputum

How can this illness be prevented?
There is no vaccine for this illness. Washing your hands is the most effective way to prevent catching this illness. You can help protect yourself from respiratory illness by following these steps:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, sharing drinks, or eating off someone else’s food
  • Disinfect toys and frequently touched surfaces as doorknobs and cell phones

How is this virus treated?
There is no antiviral medication available to cure this illness. Supportive treatments such as oxygen and breathing treatments are used to keep the patient comfortable.

What do I do if I suspect my child has been exposed?
There is no medication available to prevent your child from becoming ill if they have been exposed. If your child develops coughing, sneezing, or trouble breathing, you should contact your child’s physician or go to the emergency room for supportive treatment.

For more information, visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.