Viral Respiratory Illness

Viruses that cause respiratory illness are most active from November through May however they can occur at any time. One of the most common viruses related to respiratory complications in children is Respiratory Synchcytial Virus (RSV) and is a leading cause of bronchiolitis. Those at highest risk for complications from RSV are premature infants, children less than 2 years of age with congenital heart or chronic lung disease, and children with diagnosed immune system deficiencies. Adults with compromised immune systems and those 65 and older are also at risk.

In the News:

In recent weeks respiratory virus Enterovirus (EV)-D68 has been linked to an outbreak of respiratory illness in children in the Midwestern United States. This virus causes symptoms similar to asthma and most will have a mild infection. This may spread throughout the United States. The virus spreads by coughing, sneezing, or touching contaminated surfaces. There are no specific medications for this. For severe illness treatment is the same as when someone has an asthma attack. Prevention and good hygiene is key. Only the CDC can test for this virus at this time. Emergency medical care is recommended for anyone experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.


Proper hand washing (15-20 seconds of lather with soap) is one of the best defenses against the spread of respiratory illness. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Disinfecting frequently touched objects such as door knobs, handles, counter tops and toys can also decrease spread of viral illness.