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American Lung Association Offers Enterovirus D68 Advice

Proper hygiene, including frequent hand washing, is important -- especially for children with asthma

FRIDAY, Oct. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) infections continue to spread across the United States, the American Lung Association offers information for parents and providers of children at risk.

Children with asthma are at increased risk for severe symptoms from EV-D68 and more likely to require medical attention, the ALA noted. Medical attention is required for a child with asthma if a typical cold is accompanied by wheezing or shortness of breath that leads to increased use of a rescue inhaler, drops in peak flows, or more nighttime difficulty with cough or wheezing, according to the ALA experts.

Infection with the virus can be prevented by: washing hands often with soap and water, for 20 seconds each time; not touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups and glasses with people who are sick; disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs.

"Children with pre-existing lung conditions, such as asthma, appear to be at the greatest risk for severe symptoms from this virus. Most EV-D68 infected children recover without serious illness," Albert Rizzo, M.D., senior medical advisor at the American Lung Association, said in a news release. "However, it is important for parents to understand that children with this infection who have asthma or a history of wheezing episodes are at higher risk for increased symptoms of shortness of breath and wheezing and are more likely to need specific treatment to address this problem. This means quick contact with their pediatrician or family doctor and even a trip to the emergency room, or a call to 911 is appropriate if respiratory distress is present," Rizzo advised.

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