Get the facts: What you need to know about Enterovirus D68

If you’ve been hearing or seeing disturbing news reports about a respiratory virus afflicting children across the U.S., try not to be too alarmed. Though HISD officials do not believe this virus has spread to the Houston area yet, below are some facts and tips to help keep your family healthy.

This virus — more commonly referred to as Enterovirus D68 — is not new. Rather, it’s part of a larger family of viruses that likely has changed slightly, causing more serious symptoms in children who are not yet immune.

There is no particular vaccine or treatment for this virus. It simply must run its course. Mild symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body and muscle aches. Severe symptoms include difficulty breathing and wheezing and are often experienced by children who have asthma or a history of wheezing.

Health officials believe the best way to prevent Enterovirus D68 is by practicing good hygiene. All viruses are transmitted via person-to-person contact, most commonly through hand contact. As such, hand washing is the single most important thing you can do to prevent their spread.

The health and safety of students is always HISD’s top priority, and the district is working closely with health officials throughout the city to monitor the status of this virus. If at any point they believe the situation has changed, they will notify us immediately, and we will take appropriate action.

In the meantime, please talk to your children and remind them about the importance of practicing good hygiene, including washing their hands and covering their coughs and sneezes. Below are a few tips to help prevent the spread of Enterovirus D68:

• Avoid close contact with sick people.
• Wash your hands often.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes.
• Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces.
• Stay home when you’re sick.

Concerned parents and employees may also want to review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Enterovirus D68 fact sheet.