Human Enterovirus 68: the disease itself and its' symptoms, like a fever, runny nose or cough are common, but the number of children hospitalized recently across the Midwest and as far south as Oklahoma is anything but.
"For those children that are immune compromised and are very young, they're having increased wheezing," said Lou Kreidler, the Health Director of the Wichita Falls/Wichita County Public Health District.
Kreidler says that the virus hasn't made its way to Texoma just yet. In fact, health officials have seen a decrease in respiratory issues in Wichita Falls, as well as no change in the amount of over the counter cold products purchased over the past two weeks. However, Kreidler says that we need to take the appropriate precautions.
"If your child is sick, keep them home, if they're running a fever keep them home, and to be sure to wash your hands and cover your cough," she advised.
With children going back to school, they are more prone to contracting this virus because of their amount of time in enclosed environments. There a couple of signs that parents need to look out for.
"If their child develops a severe cough, or if they begin wheezing, if they're asthmatic, any of the symptoms that would normally alert them to take their child to their physician or the Emergency Room, that's what people need to be aware of," Kreidler said.
There is no vaccine for this disease, so health professionals stress the importance of washing your hands to prevent the spreading of the Enterovirus 68. So far, no one has died as a result of the illness.