Concerns are growing as cases of Enterovirus D68 are popping up all over the country. Officials at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford reported that they have been treating a number of children with symptoms of the respiratory illness and that eight to ten children may have contracted the virus.

Now that the virus is rearing its head in our own backyard, Russell J. Berkowitz is helping to spread awareness and arm parents with the tools to properly treat and defend against it. The illness, which mainly affects children, displays symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body aches. Children with more severe cases may experience wheezing and difficulty breathing.

“With at least one confirmed case of Enterovirus D68 here in Connecticut, many parents are understandably concerned,” Berkowitz said. “Medical professionals urge people not to panic but to be proactive about learning the signs and symptoms of this upper-respiratory illness, how to prevent infection and when to call the doctor. The good news is that the usual precautions against colds and flu, such as frequent hand washing, are your best defense against this lesser-known virus.”

According to Chief of Infectious Diseases for St. Francis Hospital Dr. Ulysses Wu, Enterovirus D68 could pose a dangerous risk to children with asthma and other respiratory illnesses; the best defense against the virus is understanding its symptoms and getting timely treatment.

Other ways to protect against the virus is to wash hands and disinfect frequently, especially after changing diapers; avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth; and avoid kissing, hugging and sharing utensils with people that are sick.

Since August, 220 cases of the virus have been reported; all but one affected were children.

To view the full press release, click here.