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Viral Infection

What is it?

Viral Infection is caused by the presence of a virus attack in the body. The different types of viruses can infect almost any type of body tissue, right from the brain to the skin. This depends on the type of virus and the person's state of health.

Viruses cause different infectious diseases such as the common cold, flu, and warts. They also cause severe illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, Small Pox, and Ebola.

The viruses first invade the living, normal cells and then use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. This will kill, damage, or even change the cells and make us sick. Some viruses attack certain cells in our bodies, such as the liver, respiratory system, or blood.

When we get a virus, we might not always get sick from it. Our immune system usually will be able to fight it off.

For most viral infections, treatments can only help with the symptoms as we wait for our immune system to fight off the virus. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. Antiviral medications are used to treat some viral infections. Vaccination will help prevent us from getting many viral diseases.

Types of Viral Infections

Some of the different types of viral infections are:

  • Common Cold: is the most common viral infection in the world as different viruses can cause it. The cold can be caused by an adenovirus, coronavirus or rhinovirus. The symptoms are usually mild and might last from a week to 10 days.

    The best way to fight the common cold is by preventing it. Some common prevention measures to reduce the chances of getting a cold are,
    • Washing your hands frequently
    • Using hand sanitizer
    • Avoiding others who are sick
  • Influenza: is the main cause for the seasonal flu. There are hundreds of strains of influenza that cause flu symptoms like,
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Exhaustion
  • Aches
  • Coughing
  • Congestion

These viruses mutate and the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine.

  • Bronchitis: can cause a cough that lasts for weeks and is a common complication of both the common cold and the flu.
  • Gastroenteritis: or the stomach flu is another common viral infection causing symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. It is highly contagious. Viruses, like the rotavirus and norovirus, cause Gastroenteritis.
  • Ear infection: Ear infections are far more common in children than they are in adults. Otitis Media is the most common of the ear infections caused by viruses. It occurs when the fluid and pus build up in the middle ear, behind the tympanic membrane (eardrum), causing ear pain. This usually because of a cold or any allergies that block the drainage and allow viruses to breed, leading to inflammation.
  • Measles: Symptoms of measles usually appear around 10 days after being infected.  Some symptoms are high temperature, red eyes, sensitivity to light and cold-like symptoms.

Authored By: Dr. Priya J Talageri

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