How can I tell if my child has enterovirus D68, versus a cold or the flu?
Whether or not Enterovirus D68 is causing your child's symptoms is less crucial than treating the symptoms themselves. Watch pediatrician Lisa Thornton, MD, explain why treating symptoms is much more important than determining the underlying virus.
You know, a lot of parents are concerned with the difference between enterovirus D68 versus a cold or the flu. And the fact is that the symptoms are very similar.
So it's fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, and in severe cases, wheezing or difficulty breathing.
For us doctors, the difference isn't really that critical because we're going to treat the symptoms.
So as a parent, you need to be concerned with how your child is feeling versus which virus might be causing those feelings.
If a child has a fever and is getting worse, and you're concerned, the first thing to do is to call your pediatrician. Always your first line is your pediatrician.
Give them a call. Tell them what you're concerned about. And they will direct you about whether you need to come to the office or go to the emergency department
or simply treat those symptoms at home. But as a parent, the most important thing is to trust your gut.
If you're super worried, no matter what your pediatrician says, you're looking at your child at home. So if you're really worried, go to the emergency department
because that is what we're there for. We'll be happy to evaluate your child, see what it is, and give you the best care possible.
Now in the emergency department, they may not test for enterovirus D68.
And the reason is that unless your child ends up in a terrible condition-- and we hope that never happens--
it is not critical to the health care community to know exactly which virus is causing the symptoms. Hundreds of viruses can cause the symptoms of fever, cough,
runny nose, body aches. So generally, we don't test for it because it's not important to us to know.
What is important is how your child's feeling, if they're getting worse, and is there treatment we need to give to help them feel better?
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