Both RSV and rhinovirus are viruses that typically lead to common and mild infections. The majority of the time, symptoms of both resolve on their own in about a week. However, either can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia.

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Respiratory viruses are a common cause of many typical illnesses that go around each year, especially in the fall and winter months.

Rhinovirus and RSV are two viruses responsible for many of these infections and missed days of work and school.

Rhinovirus is the virus that is most likely to cause the common cold. RSV causes symptoms very similar to the common cold and is more likely to occur in children.

Both viruses typically cause only mild symptoms and resolve on their own after about a week of rest. However, they can sometimes cause serious complications, such as pneumonia.

Rhinoviruses are a group of viruses that are the most common cause of colds in the United States.

Rhinoviruses can affect the upper respiratory and the lower respiratory tract, but upper respiratory tract infections happen more often.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is another common virus that causes mild symptoms that are similar to a common cold.

Children are more likely to contract RSV than adults, although people of any age can contract this virus. Symptoms are often mild, and most people can recover quickly.

Both RSV and rhinovirus are viruses that cause upper respiratory conditions with similar symptoms. In the majority of cases, both viruses only cause mild illness.

It is possible for either virus to lead to more serious illnesses, including pneumonia.

Although RSV and rhinovirus share many similarities, there are some differences between the two.

For instance, RSV occurs more often in children. Rhinovirus is more likely to lead to headaches and all-over body aches, along with the symptoms it shares with RSV, such as sneezing and a sore throat.

RSV is more likely to have symptoms such as loss of appetite and fever.

Rhinovirus and RSV have similar and different symptoms. Here’s a comparison.

Rhinovirus symptoms

Rhinovirus causes symptoms that can include:

RSV symptoms

RSV symptoms can vary depending on the age of the person with RSV. For instance, symptoms in infants can include:

Symptoms in adults can include:

Rhinovirus and RSV often do not need treatment, but they may cause more severe conditions that may need treatment.

Rhinovirus treatment

Rhinovirus typically causes only mild symptoms. Since this is the case, people with rhinovirus rarely need treatment.

In most cases, steps such as getting additional rest, taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, and making sure to stay hydrated, will be enough to help people with rhinovirus recover at home in about a week.

It’s possible for rhinovirus to cause more serious conditions with more severe symptoms, such as pneumonia. It’s a good idea to make a medical appointment if your symptoms are hard to manage on your own, or if they get worse after a few days, instead of better.

RSV treatment

RSV also usually causes only mild symptoms. Most people, including young children who contract the virus, are able to recover at home without medical treatment.

It can help to rest, take OTC pain and fever reducers, and stay hydrated.

Just like rhinovirus, if you notice RSV symptoms not going away in you or your child, you should reach out to a healthcare professional.

Both rhinoviruses and RSV are common viruses with similar risk factors.

Risk factors for rhinoviruses

Anyone can catch rhinovirus at any time. In fact, it’s common for people to contract rhinovirus a few times each year.

Rhinovirus transmits quickly, especially during peak rhinovirus season (aka cold season). In the United States, this is typical during the fall and winter.

People with a weakened immune system have a higher risk of catching rhinovirus.

Risk factors for RSV

RSV is a very common virus. Although people can contract RSV at any age, it is most common in children. Typically, children get RSV for the first time before they reach their 2nd birthday.

Like rhinovirus, RSV transmits quickly and has its peak season every fall and winter. After young children, older adults are the group most at risk for contracting RSV.

Both rhinoviruses and RSV usually cause very minor illnesses that resolve on their own. Most children and adults who contract a rhinovirus or RSV can usually recover at home without assistance. However, it’s possible for rhinoviruses and RSV to cause more serious complications, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

You can find out more about RSV and rhinovirus by reading the answers to some common questions.

How can rhinovirus spread be prevented?

Rhinovirus is very common, so it’s difficult to prevent completely. However, you can reduce the transmission and your chances of contracting the virus by taking simple steps. This includes:

  • Always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Make sure any children in your care wash their hands often, too.
  • Disinfect surfaces in your home and office regularly.

Is there a vaccine for rhinovirus?

No, there is no vaccine for rhinovirus.

Is there a vaccine for RSV?

There are no vaccines against RSV currently approved in the United States. Several are in development.

On February 28, 2023 and March 1, 2023, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted to recommend approval of two RSV vaccines for people ages 60 and up.

RSV and rhinovirus are common viruses that typically cause mild symptoms. These two viruses can be contracted at any time of year, but both are most active in the fall and winter.

Both RSV and rhinovirus cause upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing and coughing. In most cases, symptoms resolve on their own in about a week. However, if symptoms are difficult to manage at home or if they start to get worse, it’s a good idea to make a medical appointment.

Both RSV and rhinovirus can sometimes lead to more serious conditions, such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis.