Doctors Warn Parents of Enterovirus in Kids

Enterovirus has gained national attention as hundreds of children have been hospitalized for severe cold-like symptoms. Cases have been confirmed in neighboring states, Alabama and Louisiana, but not yet in Mississippi.

The enterovirus has infected thousands of children across the nation between the ages of six weeks and 16 years. At first, parents may think their child has a run-of-the-mill cold, but some children, especially those with asthma, are more susceptible to the virus and their symptoms could quickly get worse.

Wheezing and shortness of breath are signs that your child may have the enterovirus. While no cases have been confirmed yet in Mississippi, there may be unconfirmed cases where parents think their child just has a cold. Dr. Steve Demetropoulous, Emergency Medicine, Singing River Hospital, says, "There’s no test for it right now that we do through the hospital. The testing is a nasal swab and that’s mainly done through the health department, through the C.D.C. So there’s nothing that you can bring your child in to see if they have it in the E.R."

Doctors emphasize that while parents should exercise caution in keeping their children safe from the virus, only about 10% of those infected develop wheezing or shortness of breath, and it’s those children that need to be hospitalized.

Dr. Demetropoulous also says, "If you have a child that’s having a viral-like illness, they’re coughing, they’re sneezing, and they have a low-grade fever and headache, you can treat them like you would do any virus with Tylenol, with sinus medications, with Robitussin for a cough, but if they start having shortness of breath or you hear wheezing, that’s when you need to go to the hospital."

To prevent the spread of enterovirus, doctors suggest washing hands thoroughly, especially after contact with someone who has cold-like symptoms. Doctors also say to wipe down children’s toys with disinfectant wipes and use hand sanitizer after touching publicly shared items like shopping carts.

Doctors on the Coast are on alert, with cases in Alabama likely to spread to Mississippi in the coming weeks. Doctors also ask parents to keep children home from school if they have cold-like symptoms.

Categories: Local News, News

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