Rhinoviruses are a group of viruses belonging to the Picornaviridae family, which is the same family the poliovirus belongs to. It is a single-stranded, non-enveloped virus that is known for causing humans to experience the common cold. While there are other viruses that can cause common cold symptoms, rhinoviruses cause approximately 50% of them. In addition to causing the common cold, rhinoviruses are also associated with bronchitis and known to trigger asthma.
Rhinoviruses are easily spread from persons to person, with the primary route of transmission being hand to hand contact. From here, the person who becomes infected may touch his or her nose or inhale the rhinoviruses, making it possible for them to enter the upper respiratory tract. They multiply quickly in tissues that are slightly below normal body temperature and have an incubation period of one to three days. Since there are over 100 different types of rhinoviruses, it has been impossible for researchers to develop a successful vaccine against them. However, 95% of individuals exposed to rhinoviruses become infected, and 75% of those people become ill as a result.
While there are many home remedies for ridding the body of rhinoviruses, none have been medically proven. Therefore, doctors simply recommend drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest to help rid the body of rhinoviruses. To alleviate symptoms, a variety of over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and analgesics, can be used.
Rhinoviruses cannot reproduce in warmer parts of the body, which is why they tend to remain in the upper respiratory tract. While some rhinoviruses work their way down to the lungs, the warmth there makes it impossible for them to reproduce. In addition, rhinoviruses become inactive when exposed to a low pH area.
While there are many different forms of rhinoviruses, they all affect the body in essentially the same way. Each of these rhinoviruses is only slightly different. Therefore, they are the same in enough ways to cause the same symptoms, but different enough to work around the body’s immune system. This is because the immune system creates defenses against viruses it has experienced in the past. With different rhinoviruses having a slightly different makeup, the immune system does not recognize each type.