The media lately has appropriately been giving a lot of attention to respiratory viruses, including enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). Most viruses that cause upper respiratory infections can worsen asthma and sinus problems. In fact, the immune system of people with allergic diseases often do not fight off the viral infections as appropriately or as rapidly as they should. Instead, the viral infections linger for longer than they should and stir up allergic type inflammation. This is the type of inflammation that is usually present in individuals with asthma as well as nasal and sinus issues. The enterovirus that has been circulating throughout the US has been problematic in terms of potential for worsening of asthma in children sometimes with severe exacerbations requiring hospitalization. This is something that can be seen with any respiratory infection.

Measures that can help reduce infections difficulty include handwashing. If sick, it is important to stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the infection. Most important of all is to keep underlying asthma, nasal and sinus problems under optimal control. If infection occurs it’s important to begin treatment for any worsening respiratory symptoms early on. This can lessen associated inflammation. This can minimize complications. If you have questions talk to your primary care doctor or to an allergist.