The New York State Health Department has confirmed enterovirus 68 came to New York state last week, with more than a dozen children diagnosed with the illness in the Capitol Region and central New York. Health experts are telling parents the best defense against the virus is to make sure kids practice good hygiene.
Three children with asthma contracted the highly contagious respiratory virus and were admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse. The virus made it very difficult for them to breath.
EV-68 is very contagious and has swept across the country has kids return to school. The virus has mostly struck young children.
Dr. Jana Shaw, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Golisano, says good hygiene is the best prevention.
“Please exercise healthy hand hygiene. Cover your cough,” said Shaw. “Remember that this is a virus and antibiotics are ineffective for this infection. They play no role in the treatment of this infection.”
Shaw says parents of children with asthma should be particularly careful, as it’s those children that are particularly susceptible and will suffer the worst from the virus.
“A large proportion of children will recover on their own, without any further medical intervention.”
Shaw says that kids with asthma should make sure they keep up with their inhalers and other medications. She also says a flu shot wouldn’t hurt, since this is a virus that can make other illnesses worse.
There’s no vaccine for enterovirus.