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How do you treat an enterovirus infection?

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As of 2015, no specific treatment exists for hand-foot-and-mouth disease and herpangina, two forms of enteroviruses called coxsackieviruses, except the administration of acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the associated fever, reports WebMD. Severe cases of enterovirus D68 may require supplemental oxygen, albuterol and ventilators to support breathing.

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Enterovirus D68, related to hand-foot-and-mouth disease, is caused by a virus for which no antiviral treatment exists; because it is not a bacterial infection, antibiotics are not effective, explains WebMD. Typically, children contract a mild form of D68 and require only rest and fluids. If wheezing and rapid, labored breathing develop, immediate medical care is required. In 2013 and 2014, deaths and paralysis occurred in children with EV-D68. It is unclear if EV-D68 infections continue to cause sickness because each year, a different group of the enterovirus strains predominate, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fever and a rash that produces blisters in the mouth and on the hands and feet are the primary symptoms of hand-foot-and-mouth disease, according to WebMD. The symptoms of herpangina are fever accompanied by sore throat, difficulty swallowing and ulcers in the mouth. Joint pain, inappetence and headaches are additional signs of herpangina in children. These forms of the virus are not harmful and are preventable with good hygiene and not sharing food or items that came in contact with another’s saliva.

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