Complete Insight On Viral Infections
What Is A Virus?
The viruses are the microscopic bacteria found in every region of the earth. They are much smaller in size as compared to bacteria. Viruses need a host body to thrive and reproduce.
It can affect:
The way a virus affects different organisms may vary. For example, the same virus may impact a cat or a dog differently.
What Is A Viral Infection?
A viral infection is the multiplication of a dangerous virus within the body. Viruses are unable to reproduce without the help of a host.
Virus introduces their genetic materials into the cells of the host body and hijacks the internal mechanisms of the cells to produce more viruses.
How Do Viruses Differ From Bacteria?
The first difference is that viruses are much smaller than bacteria. In reality, the most massive virus is also lower than the smallest bacteria. Viruses consists of a protein coat and a genetic substance(either DNA or RNA).
Bacteria can survive without a host, but the viruses can’t.
All of the viruses cause diseases, but that is not the case with bacteria. Also, viruses are very distinctive about the cells they attack. For instance, some viruses can attack the cells in the respiratory system, blood, or liver, while others target bacteria.
How Does A Virus Infect You?
Viruses are usually present in the environment. When a host body arrives in their way, they enter and infect the body.
The viruses can enter the body through:
- Breaks in the skin
After entering, all they do is to locate a host cell to contaminate. The host cells depend upon the type of virus.
For example, the viruses of cold and flu will infect the cells of the digestive or respiratory tracts. While the HIV that causes AIDS infects the T-cells of the immune system.
The lytic cycle may help understand the working mechanism of a virus.
- Adsorption: A virus locates a host cell to infect.
- Penetration: The virus releases its genetic substance into the host cells.
- Biosynthesis: The viruses multiply within the host body.
- Assembly: The replicated substance then forms the viral phages.
- Release: The infected cell releases the recently formed viral phages.
Respiratory Viral Infections
Seasonal Influenza: Seasonal influenza is described by the sudden commencement of cough, headache, fever, joint and muscle spasms severe malaise, runny nose, and sore throat. It affects about 5-20% of Americans each year. Studies suggest that nearly 2 lakh people get admitted because of seasonal flu in a year.
Rhinovirus: The meaning of Rhin is “nose.” Rhinovirus is an infection that causes the common cold. It can cause sore throats, ear infections, and sinus infections. It can also give rise to bronchitis and pneumonia, although the chances are rare.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): RSV is one of the most prevalent viruses that causes mild cold-like symptoms in older children and adults. It can take a severe form of young children aged two years or less.
Each year about 2.1 million children get affected by RSV virus in the United States of America. It accounts for about 14000 deaths among adults of age more than 65 years.
Food Borne Viral Infections
Viruses are the leading cause of food poisoning worldwide. The symptoms experienced relies on the virus involved.
Rota Virus: It is one of the most infectious viruses that lead to diarrhea. Rotavirus can infect people of any age group, but the risks are higher for toddlers and small children. It accounts for more than 215,000 deaths every year in the US. Before the discovery of the vaccine, nearly every child gets affected by the virus at one point or the other before the age of 5 years.
Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A virus causes the highly infectious liver disorder. For some people, the symptoms are mild and persist for only a couple of days. While for others, the symptoms can be severe and last for months. It is spread through contaminated food or water or from direct contact with an infected person.
Norovirus: Noroviruses are high contagious and causes diarrhea and vomiting. The virus can infect people and make them sick. It transmits through an infected person or from contaminated food and water. In the United States of America, Noroviruses affects nearly 20 million people every year.
Viral Skin Infections
These are the infections of the skin caused by viruses. Some of the common viral skin infections are listed below:
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1): They come in two forms: HSV-1 & HSV-2. HSV-1 leads to oral herpes and give rise to cold sores and fever blisters all over the face and mouth. While HSV-2 causes a sexually transmitted disease called genital herpes.
Surveys suggest that more than 50% of adults in the US have oral herpes. Every 1 in 8 people has genital herpes in the country.
Molluscum contagiosum: It is a common skin infection that leads to round, sturdy, and painless bulges of varying sizes. They can be as small as a pinhead, and as large as a pencil eraser. Do not scratch the bumps at any time as it can spread to the circumscribing skin. It is also called water warts and accounts for nearly 1 % of the total cases of skin infections.
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV): It is the virus of chickenpox and shingles. Chickenpox is a common childhood ailment that causes viremia, fever, and distributed vesicular lesions all over the body.
Sexually Transmitted Viral Infections
Genital Herpes: As discussed above, HSV-2 causes genital herpes. There is no cure yet discovered for the disease. During the outbreaks of genital herbs, you may get painful sores. You can take antiviral medications and reduce the length and the number of outbreaks.
HIV: HIV affects specifically T-cells. As the infection progresses, the immune system of the infected person becomes incapable of combating diseases and infections and leads to AIDS(Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
Hepatitis B: It affects the liver and can lead to both acute as well as chronic disorders. The virus generally gets transmitted from mother to child at the time of birth and delivery, or through blood or other bodily fluids. Nearly 1.2 million in the US, and 350 million all across the globe have hepatitis B. You can prevent the disease by the hepatitis B vaccination.
Human Papillomavirus: It is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Many people don’t usually get the symptoms but can still infect other people through skin contact. For some people with the disease, warts appear over the genitals and the adjacent skin. While for others elevates the risk of cervical cancer. There are vaccinations available that you can take and prevent yourself from the cancer-causing strains.
Other Viral Infections
West Nile virus (WNV): It is a single-stranded RNA that leads to West Nile fever. It is a mosquito-borne disease and exhibits from little to no symptoms at all. Common symptoms include skin rash, body aches, fever, headache, swelling of the lymph glands. The symptoms last for a couple of days to a few weeks. In rare cases, the virus enters the brain, and the condition can be fatal.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV): EBV is formally termed as human gammaherpesvirus 4, is one of the most prevalent viruses in humans. It is popularly known as the root cause of infectious mononucleosis.
Viral meningitis: It is one of the most prevalent types of meningitis that irritates the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Other common symptoms include fever, headache, stiffness of the neck, etc. Viral meningitis is less severe than bacterial meningitis, and you can get relieved from the symptoms in a few days, even without treatment. Several viruses can cause viral meningitis, but it generally happens due to a group of viruses(known as enteroviruses).
How Can You Prevent Viral Infections?
There are many general ways by which one can prevent viral infections. These are:
- Wash your hands frequently with a good quality soap or hand wash.
- Avoid exposure to contaminated surfaces and infected persons.
- Consume healthy food that is appropriately treated or prepared.
- Use a tissue while sneezing or coughing.
- Practice safe sexual intercourse.
- Prevent bites from mosquitoes and other arthropods.
The objective of vaccines is to stimulate the immune system and make it capable to fight diseases and infections. They are given prior to exposure to germs. Following are some of the most popular viral vaccinations:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Human Papillomavirus
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Measles, Rubella, Mumps
- Yellow Fever
- Herpes Zoster
Smallpox vaccine also exist but they are given only to those persons who are at an elevated risk for the disease, like military personnel
They act as an antibody and fights infection. Immune globulins are made from healthy blood cells of a group of people containing a high amount of antibodies. People with weak immune system are generally given immune globulins to reinforce their defense mechanisms. They are generally injected into a vein or muscle, and the effect lasts only till the body eradicates the injected antibodies.
Tags: Viral Skin Infection, chronic disorders, Respiratory Viral Infections