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What are the Different Types of Common Cold Causes?

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Amable Aguiluz · Updated Feb 16, 2023

What are the Different Types of Common Cold Causes?

There are different types of common cold causes. The onset of the sickness can be attributed to many different bacteria, with the rhinovirus being the most common.

The common cold has symptoms that appear anywhere between one to three days after infection. Symptoms include but are not exclusive to:

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Body aches and headaches

Different Types of Common Cold Causes

The different types of common cold causes include:


Rhinovirus is the most prominent common cold cause. It is the most common infectious agent against humanity, has over one hundred types, and thrives in temperatures from 33 to 35 Celsius. This virus thrives in the human nose. Rhinoviruses have the ability to manipulate genes and cause the body’s immune system response to overreact.

Human rhinoviruses are very contagious. Fortunately, rhinoviruses rarely lead to life threatening or serious health conditions. However, there is currently no vaccine for rhinovirus and most of the other viruses that are known to be causes of the common colds in patients.

Different Types of Common Cold Causes: Coronaviruses

The cause of the worldwide pandemic is also responsible for bringing about common colds to patients.

There are many variants of the coronavirus that affect animals, but only six variants are known to affect humans. Coronavirus, in comparison to its counterparts, is known to typically cause not only common colds, but upper severe acute respiratory syndrome in mild to moderate cases.

Human Parainfluenza Viruses (HPIV)

HPIV is a virus that generally leads to mild infections. However, infections may be more common and severe for children.

HPIVs usually cause respiratory problems for young children, and are associated with symptoms such as a fever, a runny nose, and at times, cough. Most patients affected by HPIVs can recuperate on their own, but there are isolated cases wherein HPIV causes complications such as pneumonia.

HPIVs are generally spread through close personal contact, or touching contaminated surfaces and objects. It can also be spread through the air by inhaling particles from sneezes and coughs from infected people.


Among the different types of common cold causes is the adenovirus. Adenoviruses  cause a range of illnesses, including the common cold.

Patients affected by the adenovirus exhibit symptoms other than the cold-like symptoms such as bronchitis, sore throat, diarrhea, and more. The adenovirus may infect anyone, but favor individuals with weakened immune systems. Adenoviruses may be contracted the same way as HPIVs or any other virus, by physical contact, or by airborne contraction.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus 

This is another virus that is known to cause common colds. This virus typically leads to mild to moderate  infections in adults, but is known to cause severe lower respiratory tract infections in elderly patients, young children, and vulnerable patients with a weak immune system. Premature children, young children with asthma, and those with preexisting heart or respiratory health conditions who are infected are at a risk of developing health complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.

Key Takeaway

The best method of preventing the common cold is by establishing a strengthened immune system by taking vitamins, supplements, and adjusting one’s diet. This also directly addresses the symptoms of the common cold.

Medical attention is needed if you believe that you are affected by a cold caused by any of the above mentioned viruses. Consult with a doctor if a cold lasts anywhere between 7-10 days and continues to persist.

Learn more about the Common Cold here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Amable Aguiluz · Updated Feb 16, 2023

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