Rhinovirus cases on the rise among children in Rockford area

Online Staff Report

An increase in pediatric asthma flare-ups and breathing difficulties related to the Rhinovirus has local hospitals urging parents to be aware of their child’s symptoms if they get sick. Rhinoviruses are among the most common causes of the common cold, but can cause more severe illnesses in people with underlying lung disorders. They can trigger asthma attacks and have also been linked to sinus and ear infections.

While asthma flare-ups typically increase during the fall, local hospitals are seeing a greater number of cases and more severe cases than usual. Testing of patients has linked these flare-ups to the Rhinovirus. Since Rhinovirus is not a reportable disease, no statistics are available.

Physicians say early treatment and prompt recognition are key to keeping asthma under control. Parents of asthmatic children are urged to be proactive should their child become sick and contact the physician if symptoms increase.

The virus is spread through the air and close personal contact. Symptoms usually include sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, headaches and body aches. Most people recover in seven to 10 days. You should call your doctor if you or your child has one or more of the following conditions:

A temperature higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit;

Symptoms that last more than 10 days;

Symptoms that are severe or unusual; and

Breathing that is difficult, fast or unusual, or if the child is using stomach muscles to breathe.

The Winnebago County Health Department recommends the following ways to protect yourself and others:

Frequent hand washing;

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth;

Stay away from sick people;

Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others;

Cough and sneeze into a tissue; and

Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects such as toys and doorknobs.

Should you have questions regarding the Rhinovirus, call your pediatrician or primary care provider, or you can call the Winnebago County Health Department at (815) 720-4050.

Posted Sept. 3, 2014

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