To feel common after a common cold is quite uncommon - Khang Kijarro Nguyen


image by: Betty Tsang

HWN Suggests

Hacked off by the adenovirus

Every year, thousands of people in the UK get a bout of cold, (which is not the same as influenza), but can still leave you feeling unwell for 7-10 days... In fact, I have only just recovered from the virus myself after three weeks feeling dreadful.

One of the key characteristics of the infection is that it appears to cause a hacking cough. Although it is too early to say for sure, I suspect that the bug that’s causing the problems is an adenovirus – not the more common rhinovirus which usually causes colds. (There are over 200 strains of the cold but the rhinovirus causes around 35 per cent of cases.)

If there was a Richter scale for common cold viruses, adenovirus would…

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 Hacked off by the adenovirus

One of the key characteristics of the infection is that it appears to cause a hacking cough.


Adenoviruses rarely cause serious illness or death. However, infants and people with weakened immune systems, or existing respiratory or cardiac disease, are at higher risk of developing severe illness from an adenovirus infection.

Most parents haven’t heard of adenovirus, but most children get it several times – especially in the first 2 years of life.


Other symptoms are much like a common cold: fever, runny nose, cough, swollen glands, and sore throat. It can cause wheezing in infants and croup (yes, we're seeing those now too). Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea are due to adenovirus - and right now we are blaming all the stomach problems on the new Sydney Norovirus, but it could be something more typical too.

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