My 3-year-old granddaughter has coxsackievirus. It's going around her child care. Is this a serious illness?
Answers from Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.
Most coxsackievirus infections aren't serious. They typically cause only mild signs and symptoms, such as:
- Sore throat
- Joint pain
Coxsackievirus — sometimes written as two words, Coxsackie virus — belongs to a group of viruses called enteroviruses. Coxsackievirus infections occur most often in young children, usually during summer and fall.
There's no specific treatment for coxsackievirus infections. Antibiotics aren't effective in treating coxsackievirus or any other viral infection. Doctors usually recommend rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers or fever reducers when appropriate.
Most cases of coxsackievirus infection are uncomplicated and resolve within a week or so. If your granddaughter develops more-serious signs or symptoms, such as severe headaches, joint pain or a high fever, she should be evaluated by a doctor. Coxsackievirus infection can lead to meningitis, and in rare cases, a child infected with coxsackievirus can develop a severe illness that may require hospitalization.
Jan. 17, 2015
- Modlin JF. Epidemiology, pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of enterovirus and parechovirus infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 14, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed May 14, 2014.