What is Rhinopharyngitis or Acute Coryza?

Rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza medically referred to as nasopharyngitis is an infectious disease which is generally known as common cold because of the speed with which it can spread from one person to another. Often times so many people can be infected with it almost at the same time. Rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza usually affects the throat, the nasal, and respiratory systems, causing mucus to run down the nose, with difficulty in breathing, headache, fever, coughing, constant sneezing, and sore throat.

What is Rhinopharyngitis or Acute Coryza

Is A Common Cold/Rhinopharyngitis or Acute Coryza A Virus?

Rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza is a short and infectious disease which is caused by multiple types of viruses. Medically termed as viral upper respiratory tract infection, rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza consists of symptoms such as running nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat.

The rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza is not a dangerous disease unless it is accompanied by flu. Untreated flu can be life threatening. Since the rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza can be caused by more than 100 plus viruses the symptoms are likely to differ considerably.

What Type of Pathogen Causes the Rhinopharyngitis or Acute Coryza?

Researchers conclude that corona viruses are the reason for most percentage of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza in adults. Serious diseases can be caused by rhino viruses. Other rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza viruses like RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), para influenza can cause to serious lower respiratory conditions like pneumonia in children.

How to Know if it is Rhinopharyngitis/Acute Coryza or Upper Respiratory Infection?

Rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza is one of the types of upper respiratory infection. Upper respiratory infections are diseases that affect the throat, nose, larynx, pharynx, and bronchi. A person with upper acute upper respiratory infection will experience running nose, nasal discharge, constant sneezing, sore throat, constant and sometimes uncontrollable coughs, fever and malaise. The rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza is just a type of upper respiratory infection that affects the upper respiratory tract and severe cases of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza will often lead to the above mentioned symptoms. Rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza often affects the nose and throat of the upper respiratory tract and will affect other parts of the upper respiratory tracts in severe cases. Acute upper respiratory infections include Epiglottitis, Sinusitis, Laryngitis, Bronchitis and rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.

Causes of Rhinopharyngitis or Acute Coryza

As an acute viral disease, rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza is most often caused by coronaviruses, also called rhinoviruses. The viruses which cause rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza have been identified to be about 200 in number. Out of these 200 viruses 50 percent are caused by corona viruses only and the rest can be caused by:

  • Metapneumo virus can cause rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • Human Para influenza virus can cause rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • Entero viruses can lead to rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • Human respiratory syncytial virus can reason to rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • Adeno virus can cause rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.

The virus often enters the body through the mouth, nose, and eyes. People are infected with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza when they come in close contact with an infected person by touching or shaking hands, sharing things like clothes, cutleries, cups, toys, towels or other objects that have been contaminated. When the person infected with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza sneezes or coughs without covering their mouth with tissue or hands, if people close by inhale the air or if the droplets falls on their body parts and they touch their nose, eyes or mouth afterwards, they will also be infected with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.

The body's immune system fights against the virus infecting an individual, if the immune system is weak and not able to fight the disease, the infection occurs. Once infected with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza, the body poses a defense against the disease by secreting mucus from the mucus glands of the nose and throat. The mucus catches any bacteria and viruses that try to enter through the nostril. If the virus penetrates through the mucus and gets into a cell, it produces protein to create more viruses. The viruses then go into the body cells, attacking the body's respiratory system causing rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.

The rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza attacks the upper respiratory channels, that is, the throat and nose causing the eyes to water, constant sneezing, sore throat, running nose and nasal congestion. The symptoms usually vary from individuals depending on the ability of the immune system to fight the disease. Some people may not experience all the symptoms that usually come with the infection and for some the rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza may last for 5 or 6 days, and usually lasts for a maximum of 2 weeks.

What is the Difference between Rhinopharyngitis/Acute Coryza and Flu?

The rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza is a minor disease that most people experience few times a year. It comes and goes within three days to two weeks depending on the level of immunity a person has. On the other hand, flu is much more severe, and it usually lasts for more days and weeks and can lead to death if severe complications arise. Different types of viruses cause rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza and flu. About 200 viruses can cause rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza while only three viruses; Type A, Type B and Type C cause the flu. Both flu and rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza viruses are contagious, but the flu is more contagious than the rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.

The rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza and the flu are both respiratory infections, but rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza is milder than flu. The symptoms of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza often seen in flu conditions; fever, muscle aches, fatigue, dry cough, and running nose differ in terms of intensity with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza and flu. These symptoms are more severe in flu than in rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.

Patients with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza often experience more nasal conditions like blocked nose, runny nose, stuffy nose and constant sneezing. These conditions are seen in flu conditions but are just a minor part of the symptoms. More severe symptoms are high fever of about 40 C, tiredness, muscle aches and pains, dry-chesty cough and sweating.

Flu symptoms appear faster, sometimes in one day and it can spread almost immediately and faster than rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza. Recovery is usually within one week. Severe cases take much longer and can sometime lead to death. You can defend yourself from flu by taking a vaccination. The rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza has no vaccination. The body's immune system can fight it and within 3 days, it can be gone. Medications are taken in more severe cases of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.

It is necessary to consult a doctor if you have either rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza or flu together with other health conditions like a diabetes, asthma or heart diseases, or high fever with strong headache, chest, or abdominal pain.

What are the Risk Factors of Flu?

Flu conditions differ from one individual to another, depending on their health stamina and age. Older people above 65 years are more susceptible to flu and their cases are much worse. They usually experience severe chest problems, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Children and adults below 65 years are not as much risk, but serious complications may occur when they have any of the following health problems:

  1. Severe kidney and liver diseases
  2. Low immune system
  3. Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
  4. Diabetes
  5. Severe chest and heart diseases such as asthma.

The best defense against influenza is vaccination and there is a free vaccination available to those who are more at risk.

How Contagious is Rhinopharyngitis or Acute Coryza?

Rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza is contagious within three days on contacting the disease. The disease is transmitted within close contact of an infected person via air particles when they sneeze. The possibility and extent of one contacting the disease depends on the person's age, amount contracted, genetics, level of immunity, and other health problems present in the body. After contracting the disease, symptoms usually appear within 2 to 3 days. It can be transferred to others even before symptoms appear.

Signs and Symptoms of Rhinopharyngitis or Acute Coryza

The symptoms of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza often surface within the first three days of contracting the virus. An infected person will show the following signs and symptoms of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza:

  • Cough, nasal congestion or blockages are the primary symptoms of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • Runny nose is another major symptom of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza
  • Mild fever, minor headaches and body pains are also mild signs of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • Constant sneezing is possible if the patient is having preexisting dust allergies.
  • Another symptom of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza is eyes becoming watery especially when sneezing.
  • Difficulty in breathing due to nose blockage can occur.
  • A little body weakness is present when you have rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • Discharge of thick mucus is a typical sign of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.

The thickness and color of the mucus discharged often indicates the healing progress of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza. At the early times of contacting the disease, the patient experiences lots of running nose, and as it heals, the mucus becomes thicker and less sneezing occurs. Adults rarely have fever; it is often experienced by children.

Signs and symptoms of severe rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza are:

  • Constant chesty cough and sweating with fever is a symptom of severe rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • The fever is above 103 F or 39.4C.
  • Glands are severely swollen in severe rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza
  • Serious pain of the sinuses is a sign of severe rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza

Signs and Symptoms of Rhinopharyngitis or Acute Coryza in Babies and Children

Babies and children are more often affected with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza than adults are. They usually experience the condition about 5 to 7 times a year. The reason is that they often innocently play with other children in schools and day care centers and their immune systems are not adequate to fight rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza. It is advised that you see a medical doctor if the following signs and symptoms of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza persist in babies, toddlers and children.

  • Very high fever of about 100.4 F for up to 12 weeks newborns and reaches 104 F in older children.
  • Strong and persistent headache.
  • Rigid neck is observed in babies and children with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • Vomiting often and or stomach pain can be a symptom of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza in babies and children.
  • Children with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza complain about pain in the ear.
  • Constant cough is an indication of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.
  • Constant sleepiness is a sign of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza in children.
  • Dehydrated and not urinating as often as usual is also seen in babies and children with rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza.

These signs and symptoms of rhinopharyngitis or acute coryza last longer than 24 hours in children less than 2 years and even more in older children.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: March 29, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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