Respiratory Virus Symptoms

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There are many types of respiratory viruses, and the resulting illness can be mild or severe depending on your health and the virulence of the virus. Respiratory viruses are often highly contagious, and preventive actions such as hand-washing, coughing into shirt sleeves and covering your mouth and nose when sneezing can reduce the spread of these illnesses. Consider this information derived from the Mayo Clinic and the National Library of Medicine about symptoms of respiratory viruses.

Congestion

  • Respiratory viruses may cause congestion in the sinuses as a result of excessive mucus production. In addition to excessive mucus, the sinus passages can become swollen or inflamed, which can contribute to congestion. Persistent congestion can lead to infection of the sinuses or ears, which may require medical treatment.

Cough

  • Coughs may develop as a result of infection with a respiratory virus, and this symptom may linger for many weeks after the illness has passed. If you have a respiratory virus, you may develop a dry cough or expel mucus while coughing. Coughs caused by respiratory viruses may be painful and cause difficulty breathing while coughing, and the cough may be worse at night while you're trying to sleep.

Fever

  • You may experience a fever up to 102 degrees F. People infected with the common cold or respiratory syncytial virus usually have a mild fever, while those with influenza or other respiratory viruses are more likely to have a high fever. Influenza may also cause sweating that alternates with chills until the fever breaks.

Pain

  • Aches and pains are also symptoms of a respiratory virus. Excessive mucus production can trigger facial pain, a sore throat and headaches. People with influenza may have moderate to severe muscle aches in addition to headaches.

Sneezing

  • Respiratory viruses are often spread through sneezing, and you may start sneezing early in the course of infection. You may also have a runny or stuffy nose. Frequent sneezing may cause watery eyes, which can make driving or working at a computer difficult.

Tiredness

  • People with respiratory viruses may feel tired throughout their illnesses. Influenza can cause extreme fatigue that may last for several weeks, and is often described as feeling "run over by a truck." People with respiratory viruses may feel physically weak and may not be able to perform normal household or work activities.

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