Virus-related illnesses and their treatment

What are viral diseases?

Viral diseases are extremely widespread infections caused by viruses, a type of microorganism. There are many types of viruses that cause a wide variety of viral diseases treatment. The most common type of viral disease is the common cold, which is caused by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat). Other common viral diseases include:

  • Chickenpox
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Herpes
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Mumps, measles, and rubella
  • Shingles
  • Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Viral meningitis
  • Viral pneumonia

Viral diseases are contagious and spread from person to person when a virus enters the body and begins to multiply. Common ways that viruses spread from person to person include:

  • Breathing in airborne droplets contaminated with a virus
  • Eating food or drinking water contaminated with a virus
  • Having sexual contact with a person who is infected with a sexually transmitted virus
  • Indirect transmission from person to person by a virus host, such as a mosquito, tick, or field mouse
  • Touching surfaces or body fluids contaminated with a virus

Viral diseases result in a wide variety of symptoms that vary in character and severity depending on the type of viral infection and other factors, 

What are the symptoms of viral diseases?

Symptoms of viral diseases vary depending on the specific type of virus causing infection, the area of the body that is infected, the patient’s age and health history, and other factors. The symptoms of viral diseases can affect almost any area of the body or body system. Symptoms of viral diseases can include:

  • Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches and pains)
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Malaise (a general ill feeling)
  • Rash
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose, nasal congestion, runny nose, or postnasal drip
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Unexplained weight loss

In infants, signs of a viral disease can also include:

  • Bulging of the soft spot on the top of the head
  • Difficulty with feeding
  • Excessive crying or fussiness
  • Excessive sleepiness

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, viral diseases can result in serious complications, such as dehydration or pneumonia. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of the following symptoms:

  • Change in alertness or level of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • deep, wet chest cough that produces yellow, green, or brownish phlegm.
  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Lethargy or unresponsiveness
  • Seizure
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or difficulty breathing
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

What causes viral diseases?

Viral infections occur when a virus enters the body and invades the inside of the body’s cells in order to reproduce. If the body’s immune system is unable to fight off the virus, it multiplies and spreads to other cells, repeating the process and leading to a widespread infection.

Types of viruses

There are many types of viruses that cause a wide variety of viral infections or viral diseases. In fact, there are more than 200 different viruses that can cause a cold or an upper respiratory infection. Other common viruses include the following:

  • Epstein-Barr virus causes infectious mononucleosis (cytomegalovirus causes a very similar disease in some people).
  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS.
  • Human papillomaviruses (HPV) cause HPV infection, cervical dysplasia, genital warts, and cervical cancer.
  • Influenza viruses, such as H1N1, cause influenza (flu).
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes lower respiratory tract infections in young children.
  • Rhinoviruses cause the common cold.
  • Rotavirus, enteroviruses, and noroviruses cause viral gastroenteritis.
  • The varicella-zoster virus causes shingles and chickenpox.
  • The West Nile virus causes West Nile fever.

How are viral diseases treated?

Treatment of viral infections varies depending on the specific virus and other factors. General treatment measures are aimed at relieving your symptoms so that you can get the rest you need to keep up your strength and recover without developing complications.

General treatments for viral infections include:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) for fever, body aches, and pain
  • Drinking extra fluids
  • Getting extra rest and sleep
  • Maintaining good nutrition

Depending on the type of viral infection and the presence of complications, a wide variety of other treatments may be needed. For example, a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection that leads to cervical dysplasia can be treated by surgical removal of the abnormal cells on a woman’s cervix.   

In general, it is recommended that children younger than six not use cold or cough medications because of the risk for serious side effects. In addition, people with a viral disease should not use aspirin or products that contain aspirin because of the risk of developing a rare but life-threatening condition called Reye syndrome. Reye syndrome has been linked to taking aspirin during a viral illness, such as a cold or the flu.

Prescription medications are used to treat viral diseases.

In some cases, certain medications may be prescribed to treat viral diseases:

  • antiretroviral medications, which can help people with HIV/AIDS lead longer lives. Antiretroviral medications hinder the ability of HIV to reproduce, which slows the spread of HIV in the body.
  • Antiviral drugs, which minimize the severity and length of some viral infections, such as the flu and shingles, especially in people who are at a high risk for serious complications. For example, the drugs oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) and zanamivir (brand name Relenza) may be prescribed for some cases of flu. These drugs are not appropriate for all people with the flu.

Antibiotics, which are not prescribed for viral diseases because they are ineffective in the treatment of viral infections, may be prescribed if a person with a viral disease develops a secondary bacterial infection, such as bacterial pneumonia, bacterial bronchitis, or encephalitis.

Complementary treatments

Complementary and traditional treatments will not cure a viral disease, but they may help to increase comfort, promote rest, and minimise the symptoms of viral diseases. Some possible treatments include:

  • Chicken soup to help break up congestion and provide easy-to-digest nutrients and extra fluids to help keep up strength
  • Supplements or products that contain vitamin C, echinacea, or zinc
  • Using a vaporizer
  • Using mentholated ointments on the chest
  • For treatment you can use iverjohn 12 medicine

What are the possible complications of viral diseases?

In some people, viral diseases can break down the body’s defences and lead to more serious infections and life-threatening complications. Therefore, it is important to visit your health care provider when you have symptoms of a viral infection. Once the underlying infection has been determined, following the treatment plan outlined by your health care provider can help reduce any potential complications, including:

  • Acute bronchitis
  • Cervical cancer (from human papillomavirus infection)
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent life-threatening, opportunistic infections
  • Otitis media (ear infection)
  • Pneumonia
  • Secondary bacterial infection
  • Seizures
  • Shock and coma
  • Sinusitis
  • worsening of asthma

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