Adenovirus In Children

Adenovirus consists of a group of viruses that cause an infection in the tissue lining or membrane of the respiratory tract, intestines, urinary tract, and the eyes. Adenovirus is more common in infants and younger children and usually strikes in the late winter, spring, and summer.

By age 10 the majority of children have had at least one experience with the adenoviral infection. Even though it is more common in children under the age of 10,
the adenovirus can strike at any age. There are an estimated 57 different varieties of the adenovirus making it difficult to immunize against it. With this many variations of the disease, reoccurrence of the infection is likely.

Cause Of Adenovirus In Children

  1. Breathing in the airborne virus.
  2. Swimming in contaminated pools allows the virus to enter the body through the eyes
  3. Not washing hands frequently and subsequently touching objects such as door handles, then touching the eyes or mouth.

Symptoms Of Adenovirus In Children

  1. Sore throat
  2. Watery eyes
  3. Cough (usually non-productive)
  4. Headache
  5. Fever
  6. Runny nose
  7. Vomiting
  8. Swollen glands
  9. Tenderness in the abdomen

Treatment Of The Adenovirus In Children

Adenovirus is a viral infection and normal antibiotics have no effect on this type of infection; however, alternative antibiotics like clindamiycin, tetracyclines, and macrolides are sometimes prescribed by a physician in extreme cases.

Over the counter medication for pain and fever include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. It is highly recommended that a parent consult their pediatrician before administering any over the counter medication, especially in children under the age of 2. Below are some common over the counter medications that may be prescribed by your doctor.


  1. Acetaminophen helps to lower fever and reduce pain, but does not reduce inflammation.
  2. Never use acetaminophen if the child has liver disease.


  1. Ibuprofen helps with pain, fever, and inflammation.
  2. Only recommended for children ages 6 months and older.
  3. Never use ibuprofen if the child has kidney, stomach, liver, or bleeding disorder.


  1. Naproxen also lessens the pain, fever, and inflammation.
  2. Only recommended for children ages 13 years and older.
  3. Never use Naproxen if the child has a kidney, stomach, liver, or bleeding disorder.

If your child is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, you must increase their fluid intake to prevent dehydration.

In most adenoviral cases the infection will only last a few days, but in more severe cases can last longer and progress into lingering symptoms that could turn into bronchitis or pneumonia which can last up to four weeks. In these more severe cases difficulty breathing, severe coughing, and wheezing may be present. Using a humidifier or vaporizer will help loosen the congestion.

If your child has developed adenoviral infection of the eye known as conjunctivitis, use of a warm compress is recommended. Your pediatrician may also prescribe a topical ointment or drops for the eyes.