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Facts About...


What is it?

Rhinovirus is a virus that can be a cause of the common cold.

How is it spread?

Rhinovirus is spread from person-to-person mainly through droplet transmission. When an infected person coughs and/or sneezes, droplets expelled from their nose and throat into the nearby environment can enter the mouth, nose and eyes (mucous membranes) of another person. Transmission can also occur through direct contact with an infected individual who is showing symptoms of illness or through indirect contact with contaminated surfaces and then placing hand into the mouth/nose/eyes. People spread the virus while they are experiencing symptoms.

What do I look for?

Symptoms usually occur within 48-72 hours (range 12 hours to five days) after contracting the virus and may include runny nose and nasal congestion, headache, cough, sneezing, sore throat, watery eyes and tiredness. Fever is often absent or low grade. Less frequently, secondary complications can occur and may include bronchiolitis and pneumonia especially in the high risk populations. Although the illness can occur often, affecting most people, the symptoms are usually mild and self limiting. Illness can last up to 7 to 10 days.

How is it treated?

There is no treatment for this infection. Over the counter medications may be used to help relieve the symptoms.

How can I protect myself?

Additional Precautions

More information can be obtained from

Durham Region Health Department, Environmental Help Line 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613

April 22, 2013