Doctors explain the difference between Enterovirus 68 and the common cold

Doctors explain the difference between Enterovirus 68 and the common cold

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A virus is spreading across the country and has made it's way here to the Lowcountry.

Officials at Roper St. Francis Hospital say several adults patients have tested positive for Enterovirus 68 and now they're concerned it will spread to Lowcountry children.

Hundreds of children, around the country, are being hospitalized with the respiratory virus.

"It can spread fast, it can cause significant illness," said Robert Oliverio, Physician Director of Primary Care for Roper St. Francis Physician Partners.

Oliverio said the start of school was the worst time for this virus to pop up, because it's spreading quickly between kids.

The enterovirus is nothing new, Oliverio said it's been around for a while but this new strain seems to be different.

Oliverio said its troubling because parents may write it off as a common cold due to it's similar symptoms. Coughing, wheezing, a fever and sometimes a rash.

Oliverio said a common cold takes about a week to get to it's peak, but this virus only takes a few days.

"It can come on pretty quick," said Oliverio.

If you notice your child having difficulty breathing, Oliverio said it may be more than the common cold.

There's no vaccine yet, but other prevention is key.

"Hand washing is key that's the major thing," said Oliverio.

Oliverio said keep sick kids at home and keep your hands clean.

"It's not something to be necessarily horribly scared about, but you want to watch the kids. If they start getting sick, just keep a close eye and make sure they start getting better," said Oliverio.

If you suspect your child may have Enterovirus 68, it's an easy nasal swab test at the doctor's office.

Treatment includes oxygen, dilators to open respiratory tubes and IV fluids.

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