It is difficult to meet a person who has never had ARI, so the symptoms of this infection are more or less known. Everything starts, as a rule, with a mild indisposition, which is quickly joined by a rise in body temperature, a runny nose, a sore throat, a cough. However, everything is not so simple.

Symptoms of ARVI usually manifest after one to ten days after exposure to the virus. But what are the symptoms – depends on many factors, in particular, on the type of pathogen, the degree of its ability to infect this organism (here we usually talk about high and low immunity, about hardening), the age of the patient, the conditions of his environment, tactics therapy, etc.

Different viruses that can cause ARVI prefer to hit different parts of the respiratory tract (related to the respiratory tract) (for more on this, see the article "What is ARVI?"), Respectively, the symptoms of the disease may differ significantly.

Rhinoviruses, as a rule, cause only nasal congestion with a subsequent abundant rhinitis. The overall state varies slightly. Body temperature sometimes rises to 37-37.5 ° C (less often – up to 38 ° C), and may not rise at all. There may also be a tickling in the throat, sometimes a cough (mainly due to mucus running down the back of the nose (rhinitis posterior)). Rinovirus infections in children are often confused with the common cold "on the teeth."

ARVI caused by adenoviruses, start acutely. The temperature usually rises to 38 ° C (or higher, but usually no higher than 39 ° C), but often it falls off quite quickly (there are times when it lasts up to 10 days). There are runny nose or copious discharge from the nose, perspiration and sore throat, dry cough (which on day 3-4 becomes wet with sputum discharge), puffiness of the tonsils and a point purulent coating on them, lacrimation, puffiness of the eyelids, conjunctivitis, enlargement in size cervical lymph nodes, intoxication of an organism of average severity (general weakness, lethargy, headache, deterioration of appetite, sleep disturbance, increased irritability, etc.).

Adenovirus infection can be taken for influenza, but there are a number of differences:

  • adenovirus infection in most cases is accompanied by conjunctivitis (eyes hurt, blush, watery, there is a feeling of poured sand);
  • the period of intoxication with adenovirus infection is only 1-2 days, while weakness, headache and other discomforts with influenza persist for up to 7 days or more;
  • despite a sharp rise in temperature with adenovirus infection, it usually does not last long and rarely exceeds 38-39 ° C, while in the case of influenza it rarely falls below 39-40 ° C;
  • influenza viruses are seasonal (peak incidence is usually seen in February-March), while adenoviruses can be seen throughout the year.

In newborns, the infection usually takes place in mild form (usually without heat, conjunctivitis and enlarged lymph nodes) due to residual immunity to the virus given by the mother. At the same time, for children over 6 months of age, intestinal manifestations are also characteristic in addition to the main symptoms: frequent stools, traces of mucus in it, and abdominal pain. Also, children develop a bacterial complication in the form of pneumonia.

Enteroviruses can affect a lot of different organs, including the upper respiratory tract (nose, pharynx). Infection begins to manifest with a sharp increase in body temperature to 38-39 ° C. Keeps this temperature often no more than 3-5 days, after which it drops to normal numbers. However, often the temperature rises and falls undulating: 2-3 days a high temperature, then 2-3 days the temperature is normal, after which it rises again for 1-2 days and only after that it is finally normalized. During the fever, there are often symptoms of intoxication (weakness, headache, drowsiness, etc.) that go with the normalization of temperature.

For enterovirus infection is characterized by an increase in cervical and submandibular lymph nodes, because they are multiplying viruses. When the virus infringes the oropharynx, enterovirus angina develops, which, in addition to the symptoms described above, is accompanied by the presence of vesicle rash in the form of vesicles filled with liquid on the mucous membrane of the oropharynx and tonsils. When such bubbles burst, they are replaced by sores filled with a white coating. After recovery, there are no traces on the site of sores.

Parainfluenza is characterized by a moderately severe general intoxication (lethargy, headache, chills, general malaise, sensation of aching in the body, etc.) with upper respiratory tract infection, mainly the larynx (laryngitis). Body temperature rarely rises above 38 ° C, however in some cases the fever takes place. In the first hours of the illness, as a rule, lays the nose, worries about perspiration in the throat, dry (barking) cough, there is a slight reddening (in rare cases, swelling) of the mucous membranes and posterior pharyngeal wall, sometimes swelling and granular structure of the soft palate. The work of other organs, as a rule, is not violated, but if there is a history of a patient with chronic respiratory diseases, the inflammatory process can spread to the lower respiratory tract and promote the development of bronchitis.

The most vulnerable to parainfluenza are children, especially children under one year old. The growing mucosal edema and spasmodic contraction of the larynx muscles, accompanied by mucus congestion, can lead to the development of false croup in children of younger preschool age (larynx stenosis of 1-3 degrees).

Reoviruses sometimes affect not only the upper respiratory tract, but also the small intestine. In this regard, to the standard increase in temperature, runny nose and cough often add pain in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting. Also can be observed conjunctivitis, enlargement of lymph nodes, liver and spleen, hyperemia (blood vessel overflow) of the face, mucous membrane of the tonsils, posterior pharyngeal wall and arches.

Influenza viruses often cause a strong intoxication of the body (headaches, body and muscle pains, general weakness, eye pain, photophobia, etc.) and begin to show themselves with a temperature increase of several hours to 39-40 ° C higher). With a light form, the temperature can hold at around 38 ° C. The duration of the fever depends largely on the severity of the disease. And with severe forms, it is almost not knocked down by antipyretic drugs.

Since influenza affects mainly the mucous membrane of the bronchi, cough is observed in 9 of 10 patients. Usually it is continuous, prevents sleep. At the beginning of the disease, cough is dry, but after 2-3 sputum begins to depart, and the cough becomes moist.

Runny nose, sore throat and sneezing may or may not be present. Sometimes there are violations of the gastrointestinal tract, but in general for influenza such symptoms are not characteristic.

Respiratory syncytial viruses (RS viruses) prefer the lower respiratory tract. In adults, as a rule, the disease proceeds in a mild form: intoxication is poorly expressed (moderate headache, lethargy), rhinitis, mild hyperemia of the soft palate, arch, rarely – the posterior pharyngeal wall, the temperature rarely rises above 38 ° C and is kept in uncomplicated cases 2-7 days.

A distinctive symptom of MS infection is dry, paroxysmal, prolonged (up to 3 weeks) cough. The patient may experience shortness of breath, a feeling of heaviness in the chest, cyanosis of the lips. In the lungs, as a rule, scattered rales, hard breathing are heard.

Approximately 25% of cases are complicated by pneumonia. Moreover, PC viruses are considered the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age. The disease in babies usually proceeds in a more acute form: accompanied by fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, asthmatic syndrome, blue lips, etc. In the early days, a liquid or mushy stool can also be observed.

Metapneumovirus also causes infections of the lower respiratory tract, respectively, the clinical picture is similar to that of PC-infections, but the disease lasts less long and hard. It should be noted that about half of the cases of infection occur in children under 6 months of age, which determines this age range as the main risk factor for the disease.

Thus, each group of infectious agents selectively affects certain parts of the respiratory tract, respectively, the symptoms of the disease will differ. If it is characteristic of rhinovirus to remain on the nasal mucosa and limit the manifestations of the disease with a slight rhinitis, then stronger viruses, as a rule, consistently affect the different parts of the respiratory system over time, which is absolutely not related to correct or incorrect treatment. For example, first there is a runny nose, and after a few days develops acute bronchitis.  This does not always mean that the infection "fell down", caused bacterial complications. It is possible that we are dealing with a virus that must necessarily have reached the lower respiratory tract – he has enough strength for this, and he feels more comfortable there, accordingly, it is simply impossible to prevent this (like the colic in children – only to survive until will go through the whole cycle, making the patient's condition as easy as possible).

However, viruses that are uncommonly affected by the lower respiratory tract can indeed "descend" if improperly treated or, so-called, reduced immunity, when the natural defenses of the body do not cope with their task (thickened snot, reduced local immunity, etc.). ). Accordingly, the manifestation of symptoms of acute respiratory viral infection, also depends on the state of congenital and adaptive immunity of the sick person, on the tactics of treatment.

As for the age – here it is worth noting the kids. They usually have all the infections with more acute symptoms (fever, rhinitis, anxiety, difficulties in feeding and falling asleep, etc.), which is associated with the aggressiveness of the immature immune system. At the same time, the child's general condition is disturbed a little: as soon as the temperature decreases, he is again ready to jump and jump. However, it is worth remembering that babies often have bacterial complications, the probability of otitis, conjunctivitis is high.


In any case, the symptoms of uncomplicated ARVI, as a rule, last for 10 days. However, some residual events (such as runny nose, congestion and coughing) can continue for some time (up to a month), which manifests as a residual cough after sleep, inhalation of cold or hot air, tobacco smoke or after physical exertion.

In addition, in some cases, a second episode of acute respiratory viral infection may develop, with symptoms similar to the first, which ultimately equates physicians to a single ARVI, which can last several weeks or even months (especially often in winter). It is important that this moment be controlled by a specialist.

Fever for ARVI is kept, as a rule, no more than 7 days, but more often than three days. On the third day after the onset of symptoms of acute viral infection, a maximum of interferon production is observed. Accordingly, on the fourth day of the disease, improvement should begin – as a rule, the temperature begins to decrease (if this did not happen, an immediate general blood test should be done to confirm the viral nature of the infection). On the fifth day there is an active development of antibodies, and the temperature, as a rule, normalizes.


Thus, the clinical manifestations of respiratory infections are largely similar. In most cases, there is an increase in temperature, a runny nose (stuffiness or heavy discharge), a general malaise, a little cough (usually dry in the first 1-2 days and then wet), sore throat, headache, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite and t . Depending on the type of virus that caused inflammation, the condition of the patient's immune system, his age, the therapy used and some other factors, the symptoms may vary.