In detail

Adenovirus infection in children

Adenovirus infection in children

Adenovirus infection is a medical condition that affects people of any age, but it is most commonly encountered in young children. The infection starts especially in the winter, spring and early summer seasons. Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that cause respiratory disorders - colds, conjunctivitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc. - or of the intestinal tract (digestive tract). Symptoms are similar to colds and flu, but may vary from child to child.

How is the infection spread?

The ways of spread of adenoviruses from an infected person to a child are varied. The strains that cause the infection in the airway are transmitted against the background of incorrect hand hygiene, following the direct contact with contaminated objects or the infected secretions of a patient.

The viruses are also transmitted through the respiratory tract by inhaling the air exhaled by the infected persons. Those that cause infection in the intestinal tract are transmitted by direct contact with infected feces and then by touching the mouth, eyes and nose with contaminated hands.

What are the symptoms?

The symptomatological picture differs depending on the organs where the infection starts. In general, adenovirus infection has mild or moderate manifestations, which differ from child to child, and are often confused with other diseases.

The symptoms of respiratory infections with adenovirus begin after 2-14 days after exposure and are characterized by:

  • rinoree (abundant nasal secretions);
  • sore throat;
  • fever;
  • severe cough;
  • breathing difficulties (clogged nose);
  • inflammation of the lymph nodes;
  • headache;
  • sensation of annoyance.

Symptoms of intestinal tract infections with adenovirus begin after 3-10 days after exposure and generally persist for about 1-2 weeks. It is characterized by:

  • sudden and recurrent diarrheal episodes, very aqueous;
  • fever;
  • abdominal rigidity;
  • vomiting.

How is the diagnosis established?

Diagnosis of adenovirus infection is made only after a thorough medical checkup, which involves a physical examination, an anamnesis on the symptoms, as well as performing tests to detect the virus in the body.

Depending on the symptomatology present, the doctor may recommend the analysis of saliva (exudate), blood or fecal samples, and in severe cases, an ultrasound can be prescribed in the chest (especially if there is suspicion of pneumonia).

What is the treatment?

There is no treatment to cure adenovirus infections. As with any virus, the doctor will recommend a series of measures - medicinal and not only - to improve the symptoms, but also to strengthen the immune system, the only one that can fight the infection.

Antibiotics are useless in treating this infection. The therapeutic scheme is established according to the type of infection, as well as other parameters that concern:

  • age;
  • medical and family history;
  • general state of health;
  • complications of infection;
  • tolerance and allergy to various medicines, procedures etc.

Treatment of respiratory infection with adenovirus includes the following measures:

  • increasing the consumption of liquids (to restore the electrolyte balance in the body, affected by perspiration and fever);
  • bronchodilating medications (for airway clearance - aerosols are especially recommended);
  • supplementation with oxygen through nasal cannula or mask (in severe cases, when the child has difficulty breathing);
  • mechanical ventilation (if the airway is severely affected and the child cannot breathe alone).

The treatment of intestinal infection with adenovirus includes in particular oral rehydration (with water, milk or electrolyte drinks - to compensate for the fluids lost through diarrheal episodes and fever).

The diet should be easy and based more on liquid foods (soups, compotes, etc.). To the extent that the child tolerates, continued feeding with light solid food. Severe cases of dehydration require hospitalization and emergency measures for restoring electrolyte balance - intravenous administration of fluids.

In conditions where the baby cannot be fed on the mouth, doctors will use nasogastric tubes to administer the nutrients his body needs. Most children recover within a few days of taking the first therapeutic measures, the risk of complications being very low. But there are also situations where the infection can persist for up to 10-14 days.

What are the complications of adenovirus infection?

If the therapeutic measures taken at home do not work, and the symptoms persist longer than the doctor has predicted, they worsen or new ones appear, return with the child to the hospital for further investigations. It is possible that the infection has worsened and caused some complications.

Children who have been diagnosed with pneumonia can develop chronic lung disease, and those who have been diagnosed with intestinal infections may be suffering from occlusion or intestinal blockage that requires immediate medical attention.

How can infection be prevented?

As with any type of viral infection, prevention remains the best treatment for these uncomfortable conditions. Proper personal hygiene protects the child from the risk of these infections. Teach him to wash his hands before taking his hand to his mouth, eye or nose or eating something.

Proper hand hygiene prevents the risk of the virus spreading. In addition, the isolation of the child from persons or communities in which there are cases of active infections is a good preventive measure against the disease. And careful sterilization of toys and cutlery that the child uses when eating can help prevent viral infection.

Have your child ever suffered from adenovirus infection? Did you find it at the doctor or did you treat it like any other cold or viral illness? Share us the best therapeutic measures that speed up the recovery of the child in case of adenovirus infection, in the comments section below!

Tags Children infections Children viral infections Children respiratory infections Children Adenovirus