The much talked about Enterovirus D68 has been especially brutal this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), causing almost 700 cases in 2014 so far.
According to the CDC, the virus shares many symptoms with a typical cold and generally affects children. Some 691 cases have been confirmed, along with at least one death. The bug was also present in at least four children who died from other illnesses.
Some of the virus’s symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and muscle or body aches. Unfortunately, because you usually get the same symptoms from a common cold, most people cannot tell the difference.
Wheezing or difficulty breathing is unique to the virus, however – anyone suffering from those additional symptoms should seek treatment at a hospital, according to the CDC.
Since some cases of Enterovirus D68 have been associated with paralysis, doctors have stressed that seeking treatment is extremely important.
Researchers have noted that the Enterovirus D68 season usually lasts from June to October, which means the risk of infection could soon be coming to an end.
“It’s a good guess that as the temperatures go lower, you’re inactivating these viruses,” said Amisha Malhotra, a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
However, doctors are still warning parents to be cautious.
Medical professionals have suggested that washing your hands often, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, disinfecting frequently touched spots and refraining from work or school when sick are helpful ways to prevent contracting the virus.
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