Adenovirus: What Is It and What Do I Need to Know?

Adenovirus: What Is It and What Do I Need to Know?

by Yenny (SU)

Adenoviruses are catalysts for a number of illnesses, from the common cold to more serious issues such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Often, adenoviruses cloak themselves under the guise of flu-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, persistent cough, diarrhea, and headache. Shortness of breath and fever, combined with gastrointestinal symptoms, are telling indicators that you don’t want to ignore. Before you retreat to your bed with a bowl of soup – think twice; rarely, giving adenoviruses the cold shoulder can be a life-threatening decision. 

In nature and in medicine, only the strongest survive. It would be an understatement to say that adenovirus 14, a DNA strain derived from the adenoid tissue, is a resilient disease. Transmitted through air, touch, and contaminated surfaces, the virus is able to invade cells in the eyes, nose, and mouth before infiltrating other systems in the body. 

All ages are susceptible to contracting this virus; however, those living and working in crowded conditions (such as military recruits) or those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable. There have been many reports of adenovirus-related respiratory illnesses in the military; for this reason, a vaccine was created in 2011 and is offered solely for those in the line of duty. 

In order to avoid adenoviruses as a civilian, you don’t have to settle for living the life of a hermit. There are many precautions you can take to prevent the spread of this disease. First and foremost, practice consistent hand-washing. The CDC advises a specific method for this practice – highlighting the importance of scrubbing underneath your nails, between fingers, and keeping those suds moving for at least 20 seconds. When a sink isn’t in sight – reach for that hand sanitizer as a temporary solution.

Additionally, always cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and encourage others to do the same. This is an easy way to curb the spread of airborne germs. Because the virus thrives in the lungs and intestines, in particular, proceed with caution when changing diapers, cleaning bathrooms, or washing your hands after using the facilities.

Know when to make the call. If you have a fever or sore throat that has lasted more than a few days days, contact your physician. Don’t play the guessing game.  The focus of treatment is on limiting discomfort, as antibiotics aren’t effective for use on adenoviruses.

When adenoviruses cause wheezing, bronchodilator medications can be effective. You’ll want to consume plenty of fluids and electrolytes, as this is crucial for reducing the intestinal discomfort of the virus. In many cases, rest is the only recommended course of treatment.

It’s always best to have a primary care physician who knows your medical history and offers personalized care. Rockville Concierge Doctors is one primary care operation that has harnessed a back-to-basics approach to doctor visits. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 301-545-1811.