Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that can infect the membranes (tissue linings) of the respiratory tract, eyes, intestines, and urinary tract.
Adenoviral infections can affect anyone but are most common among babies and young children. By the time most kids are 10 years old, they've have had at least one adenovirus infection.
Adenoviruses can be responsible for a large variety of symptoms and illnesses including runny nose, fever, bronchitis, sore throat, cough, and pneumonia. Pinkeye (conjunctivitis), diarrhea, bladder infections, and inflammation of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis) also can be associated with adenoviruses.
Kids in childcare are particularly at risk for adenovirus infections because the viruses are so contagious. They can be spread through direct personal contact, the air (sneezing and coughing), and by touching an infected object or surface.
Washing hands frequently and keeping surfaces clean can help protect against getting an adenovirus infection.
While complications can occur with adenovirus infections, especially among infants and people with weakened immune systems, most people won't be seriously affected. With rest, plenty of fluids, and acetaminophen for pain and fever, most infections will clear up within a week.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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