What Is a Rhinovirus?


Quick Answer

Rhinoviruses are the most typical of more than 200 viruses responsible for the common cold, according to WebMD. There are more than 110 distinct types of rhinovirus, and they are responsible for up to 40 percent of all colds. Rhinoviruses seldom cause the serious illnesses of other cold viruses.

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Factors such as diet, enlarged tonsils or adenoids do not increase the chances of catching a cold, explains WebMD. However, psychological stress or allergies that irritate the respiratory passages make the chance of catching the virus more likely. Moderate exercise, which is beneficial in reducing stress, also reduces the chances of a cold.

Viruses that cause a cold, including the rhinovirus, spread from one person to another through personal contact or the air. Cold viruses also spread through respiratory secretions and stool, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A person who touches a contaminated doorknob and then his eyes, nose or mouth increases his chances of catching a cold.

Frequent hand washing by using soap and water to scrub the hands for 20 seconds is essential in providing protection from a cold. Avoiding touching the face with unwashed hands is also helpful. If someone is sick with a cold, stay away from him to avoid catching the virus, states the CDC.

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