The virus, which can cause severe respiratory problems, began popping up in the Midwest earlier this summer. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that patients in 10 states, including New York, have contracted it. Patients in Rhode Island and Connecticut are also experiencing symptoms as the virus spreads east. Symptoms of Enterovirus-68 vary from mild to severe. Mild symptoms can include sneezing, coughing, and headaches-- similar to a common cold. More severe symptoms include wheezing, rapid breathing, or labored breathing. Doctors say babies and kids with asthma are most at risk. There is no vaccine for it. And while no one has died from the virus, doctors can only treat its symptoms.
• Cover your mouth and nose every time you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue and throw it away. Use your arm (not your hand).
• Observe regular cleaning habits if someone at home has the flu. Pay special attention to doorknobs, faucets, refrigerator handles, and phones.
• Vaccinate. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone six months of age and older should get a flu shot. Flu vaccines are available in a number of locations, pharmacy, senior center as well as your provider’s office. To find the closest place for a flu shot, go to the VT Health Dept’s Flu Website. Note: there is no vaccine for E-68
• Every time you use a tissue, throw it in the trash and then wash your hands.
• Remember not to share anything that goes into the mouth.
• Wash your hands often and well. Use soap and water for at least 15 seconds.
• Avoid contact with sick people.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Have alcohol hand sanitizer on hand if you don’t have access to soap and water.