The respiratory illness that has sickened hundreds of children continues to pick up steam, according to an MSN report. There have been 213 confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68 so far throughout the United States, in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.
The virus, which typically lasts a week, starts with symptoms very similar to the common cold, including runny nose, coughing, and wheezing — but it can become severe quickly, leading to difficulty breathing, particularly in children with asthma.
To date, all the reported cases with a single exception have been in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Enterovirus D68 is most often spread by close contact with an infected person or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. Hand washing is the best defense, and health officials urge parents to remind their kids to thoroughly scrub their hands — for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap — and not to touch their faces with unwashed hands.
There is currently no way to treat Enterovirus D68; antibiotics won’t work since it’s a virus and there is no antiviral for it. If your child shows severe signs of the virus, including difficult breathing and blueness around the mouth, seek medical help from your doctor.