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A viral infection is a disease that can be caused by various kinds of virus. Such infection can take place in different parts of the body. While some viruses can be found in the intestine there are other viruses that can be found in airways and lungs.

It is difficult to treat viral infection as the viruses live inside the body cells. Antibiotics are not used to treat viral infection as it does not work for such infections. It needs to be treated with the help of several antiviral drugs available. Virus causes infectious diseases such as flu, common cold and warts. They can also cause serious illness such as small pox, HIV/AIDS and hemorrhagic fevers.

Causes of Viral infection

Viruses are often compared with hijackers. They invade normal, living cells and then they use those cells to produce and multiply other viruses like themselves. This ultimately leads to killing of the cell and result in making you feel sick

Signs and Symptoms  

The sign and symptoms commonly associated with viral infection are:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sore throat

Preventive measures

Preventing viral infections such as flu or cold is very important older as it may result in some serious health issues such as dehydration or pneumonia. Some of the preventive measures include:

  • Get a Flu Shot. Vaccinations are the cheapest and most effective way to prevent viruses.
  • Wash Your Hands
  • Stay Hydrated
  • Get Enough Sleep
  • Avoid Airplane Infections
  • Stay Away From People Fighting a Cold
  • Use Caution at Buffets
  • Detoxify as much as possible – including sweating regimes
  • Get your micronutrient status as good as possible by taking vitamin D, zinc and C
  • Lifestyle Change: For viral infection transmitted sexually, a change in lifestyle will reduce this infection.
  • Eat a diet that is rich in colourful foods so as to ensure you’re getting antioxidants

Myths and facts:

Myths: If immunity system is healthy immunization is not required.

Fact: Vaccines are necessary as it will help fight against several virus infections. Vaccines are quite effective and safe and can be used successfully in protecting against many infections.

Myth: Taking antibiotics will help when having flu or cold

Fact: Antibiotics do not work when suffering from virus infections. Most earaches, coughs, colds, flu, sore throats are caused due to viruses. Antibiotics won’t help you recover from these.

Diagnosis of disease

In order to detect if a person is suffering from viral infection, a viral test needs to be done. Virus grows in living cells and causes diseases by damaging or destroying the cells they infect. They even end up damaging the immune system of the body and change the genetic material i.e. DNA of the cells they infect.

Viral tests may be done for several viruses such as

  • Chickenpox
  • Herpes simplex
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Hepatitis
  • Rotavirus
  • Genital warts
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • BK virus

Other tests which may also be used to check for viruses are:

  • Antibody test
  • Viral antigen detection test.
  • Viral culture
  • Viral DNA or RNA detection test

Different types of samples such as urine, blood, stool, spinal fluid, organ tissue and saliva are used for a viral test. The type of sample used may depend on the type of infection that is present.

Treatment for viral infection

When there is a viral infection, the body's immune system begins to respond. A process RNA inference starts on its own. Because of the process viral genetic material degrades and enables cells to survive the infection.

Specific antibodies are also produced by the immune systems that are capable of binding to viruses and making them non-infectious. Body's T cells are also sent to destroy the virus.

However, viruses such as HIV evade the immune system using various techniques. Neurotropic viruses also infect nerve cells and are responsible for diseases including rabies, polio, measles and mumps. Vaccines can help prevent you from getting such viral diseases.

Viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. It is to be treated with antiviral drugs. Antiviral treatments have been developed to treat AIDS along with various other viral infections.  When using such medicines it does not destroy the pathogen but it inhibits there development. There are antiviral medications for treatment of hepatitis C, hepatitis B, chicken pox, influenza and shingle as well.

Antiviral drugs list that are commonly used to treat viral infections are Brivudine, Acyclovir, Docosanol, Idoxuridine, Famciclovir, Penciclovir, Valacyclovir, Trifluridine, Amantadine, Oseltamivir, Rimantadine, Zanamivir. This is not a complete list of antiviral medicines. There may be others too.

Most of the viral infection resolves in their own without any treatment. The treatment that is provided usually focuses on symptom relief such as fever, pain and cough.

Steps to improve the health

Several steps if take will lead to improvement in health after suffering from viral infection:

  • Hydrate yourself frequently by during fluids and water at regular intervals
  • Take adequate Rest. Do not overexert yourself
  • Eat light foods and avoid any spicy food. Take plenty f fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet
  • Prevent infecting others by covering you face when sneezing, wear a mask when others are around, not letting others come in close contact with you, staying indoors and so on
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Don't leave handkerchiefs and used tissues lying around
  • Don't share plates, cups, and cutlery
  • Cook and handle food properly
  • Take the medicines prescribed by your doctor at regular intervals

Important things to know

Everyone has bad cold or flu once in a while. Not all viral infection is serious. However, contact a doctor if:

  • Complains last for more than 7 days
  • You have pus or thick drainage coming out of one or both nostrils
  • Have fever or pain
  • You have trouble breathing or chest pain
  • You have continued vomiting and diarrhoea
  • You there are rashes in your body

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