Karen Belz
January 30, 2018 9:50 am
Sarah Diniz Outeiro / Unsplash

It’s been a scary flu season, and things just got a little scarier. Turns out there are viruses out there that have been mimicking the flu, and a lot of people have gotten sick. They’re called adenoviruses, and they’re infectious.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the adenovirus can cause a sore throat, bronchitis, and cold-like symptoms. They can spread through touch or through coughs and sneezes — which basically anywhere there are people.

So how do you know if it’s an adenovirus or the flu? Even though they’ve got a lot of similarities and will both leave you feeling crummy, CNN listed a few key differences. For one, the adenovirus isn’t seasonal, meaning you can get it year-round. And while there’s technically a vaccine for it, it’s not available to those outside of the military. Aside from the typical symptoms, adenoviruses often lead to pink eye and diarrhea, especially if caught by a child.

Are adenoviruses fatal?

Usually not. But just like with the flu, there have been reports of fatalities. Both tend to affect people with weakened immune systems the most, like small children and the elderly.

Basically, prevention comes down to regular hand-washing and avoiding contact with someone who you know is sick. And adenoviruses are more common than you may think. WebMD reports that most children get infected at least once before they turn 10. Usually, symptoms only last a few days.

Make sure to stay safe out there. And always wash your hands!

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