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Adenovirus covers a range of viruses that cause cold- and flu-like symptoms. In fact, many people assume they have a cold or flu when, in fact, they have contracted a strain of adenovirus. Unlike the flu, which usually strikes seasonally, adenoviruses may occur any time of year. These viruses typically cause upper respiratory infections in addition to other symptoms. Researchers know of about fifty strains of adenovirus.

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How Is Adenovirus Spread?

Like the flu, adenovirus spreads via bodily fluids. You can catch the virus simply by touching a surface infected by a substance containing the virus. Unfortunately, there is no adenovirus vaccine commercially available at this time, though one is used by the military. To protect against the virus, people are encouraged to wash their hands after coming into contact with surfaces used by the public, such as elevator buttons, stair rails, store counters, and so on.

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Who Is at Risk for Adenovirus?

Anyone can catch adenovirus. Children and the elderly are at an increased risk. Kids often come into contact with the bodily fluids of other kids at school or on the playground. Some older adults have weakened immune systems that leave them more susceptible to adenoviruses. If you suspect you have an adenovirus, whatever your age, monitor the symptoms closely. If they worsen, see your healthcare provider.

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Symptom: Bronchitis

Many people who catch adenovirus experience upper respiratory symptoms that turn into bronchitis. Adenovirus and the flu are responsible for causing as many as 90% of bronchitis cases. This serious illness leads to pneumonia if left untreated. Bronchitis involves swelling of the airways and significant coughing.

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Symptom: Intestinal Disturbance

Although adenoviruses often cause upper respiratory problems, they can also cause severe intestinal disturbances that mimic the flu. Certain strains of adenoviruses can cause gastroenteritis. This condition is associated with stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Many people believe they are suffering from a bout of flu when, in fact, it is adenovirus. Hydration is essential when experiencing these symptoms.

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Symptom: Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Adenovirus can cause pink eye or conjunctivitis. Pink eye causes redness, flakiness or crust on the eyelids, swelling, pain, and watery eyes. That conjunctivitis caused by adenovirus is more contagious than other forms. Affected people are generally required to stay home from work or school until the contagious period passes.

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Symptom: Cold Symptoms

Adenovirus frequently leads to cold-like symptoms. People with adenovirus get runny noses, sore throats, and headaches. In severe cases, these symptoms can lead to pneumonia. If you experience cold symptoms that worsen, see a doctor to ensure the condition does not lead to pneumonia or bronchitis. If you experience other symptoms like pink eye or a UTI, you may be suffering from adenovirus, not merely a cold.

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Symptom: Fever

Fever is a common symptom of adenovirus; of course, it is indicative of many health conditions, so one might not suspect that adenovirus is the cause unless accompanied by other symptoms such as bronchial disturbances, pink eye, or UTIs. Regardless of the cause, anyone with a fever spiking above 103 degrees should see a doctor.

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Symptom: Urinary Tract Infection

Most urinary tract infections are triggered by bacteria, but occasionally adenovirus is the cause. UTIs can cause frequent and painful urination. If left untreated, they can lead to cystitis. If you experience any bladder problems in combination with other symptoms noted here, you may have contracted a strain of adenovirus.

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Symptom: Neurological Problems

Although extremely rare, adenoviruses may trigger neurological problems involving the brain or spinal cord, which is incredibly serious. Adenoviruses can cause meningitis and encephalitis, conditions that can be life-threatening.

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Treatment for Adenovirus

The adenovirus vaccine is currently available to military personnel only and, unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for the condition. In mild cases, the virus will run its course over a few days or a week. However, people with weakened immune systems may experience more severe symptoms that last a week or longer. Many healthcare providers will treat the symptoms the particular strain of the virus causes. For bronchitis, they may prescribe antibiotics and cough medication. Similarly, doctors can prescribe medications to alleviate other urinary tract infections and conjunctivitis. If severe symptoms occur, such as pneumonia, the individual may require hospitalization.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.