When should I call the doctor about my child's EV-D68 symptoms?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Enterovirus D68 starts with classic symptoms of a cold, including a runny nose, sneezing and coughing. But it can quickly escalate to severe, life-threatening breathing problems that require intensive care. While most kids can fight the virus on their own, it can turn serious. And children with asthma are especially at risk.

If your child has any type of respiratory condition, like asthma, and you think they've been exposed to the virus, watch them very closely for any sign that their breathing is getting worse.

Asthma or not, you should call or see a doctor (or go to the emergency room) if your child has any trouble breathing, if their symptoms suddenly get worse, or if they develop severe symptoms, like muscle weakness. Signs of breathing trouble in kids include:
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Breathing that is faster than usual
  • Straining to breathe
  • Using neck or stomach muscles to breathe
  • Little or no relief when using quick-relief medications
  • Bluish, gray or pale color around the lips, tongue, ears, nails or skin
Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine
In most children, the symptoms of EV-D68 will be those of a mild cold. However, in some children the symptoms can be more severe. If your child seems to have any trouble breathing, or  weakness in their arms or legs, call your doctor immediately. Signs that your child is having breathing trouble include:
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Blue lips
  • Leaning forward to breathe
  • Straining in their neck muscles, or above or below their collarbone
  • Straining in the muscles below their ribs
  • Wheezing sounds
  • Any sign that your child can't catch his or her breath
As the parent, you know your child best. So, even if your child doesn’t have any of these symptoms, but is just worrying you, CALL the doctor.  Trust your gut. No doctor will ever be upset with you for calling as a worried parent.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.