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:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pain
  • Headache

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.

If your granddaughter develops more-serious signs or symptoms of coxsackievirus infection, such as severe headaches, joint pain or a high fever, she should be evaluated by a doctor. Coxsackievirus infection can lead to meningitis, but most cases are uncomplicated and resolve within a week or so. However, in rare cases, a child infected with coxsackievirus can develop a severe illness that may require hospitalization.

Jul. 23, 2011