Symptoms and Illnesses of HPIV

Father checking the temperature of his daughter with a cold.

Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) commonly cause upper and lower respiratory illnesses in infants, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems, but anyone can get infected. Symptoms generally appear 2 to 6 days after infection.

Signs and symptoms are similar to the common cold and can include:

  • fever
  • runny nose
  • cough
  • sneezing
  • sore throat

Other symptoms of HPIV illness may include:

  • ear pain
  • irritability
  • decreased appetite

HPIVs can also cause more serious illness in children including:

  • croup (infection of the vocal cords (larynx), windpipe (trachea) and sometimes into the bronchial tubes (bronchi)
  • bronchitis (infection of the main air passages that connect the windpipe to the lungs)
  • bronchiolitis (infection in the smallest air passages in the lungs)
  • pneumonia (an infection of the lungs)

Symptoms of more serious illness may include:

  • barking cough
  • hoarseness
  • stridor (noisy or high-pitched sound with breathing)
  • wheezing

In adults, upper respiratory infections and bronchitis are the most common illnesses caused by HPIVs; signs and symptoms may include fever, runny nose, cough, and sore throat. Pneumonia may occur, especially in older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

If your symptoms are severe or do not improve, you should seek medical attention.

You can have multiple HPIV illnesses in your lifetime.