Viral Diseases: Viruses, Bacteria, Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

The most common type of this type of disease is the common cold, which is caused by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat).

A viral disease is an infection caused by a virus, viral diseases are very widespread infections, a type of microorganism. There are many types of viruses that cause a wide variety of viral diseases.

Other common viral diseases include:

  • Chickenpox.
  • Gripe (flu).
  • Herpes.
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV / AIDS).
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV).
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Mumps, measles and rubella.
  • Herpes.
  • Gastroenteritis viral (gripe estomacal).
  • Hepatitis viral.
  • Meningitis viral.
  • Viral pneumonia

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

  • Breathe droplets suspended in the air contaminated with a virus.
  • Eat food or drink water contaminated with a virus.
  • Have 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.
  • Contact surfaces or body fluids contaminated with a virus.

Viral diseases produce a wide variety of symptoms that vary in character and severity depending on the type of viral infection and other factors, including the person’s age and overall health. Common symptoms of viral diseases include flu-like symptoms and general malaise.

Viral diseases are not treatable with antibiotics, which can only cure diseases and bacterial infections. However, the most common viral diseases, the common cold and the flu, are self-limiting in generally healthy people.

This means that the viral infection causes the disease for a period of time, then resolves and the symptoms disappear as your immune system attacks the virus and your body recovers.

In some cases, viral diseases can lead to serious complications, which can be life-threatening, such as dehydration, bacterial pneumonia and other secondary bacterial infections.

People at risk for complications include those who have a chronic disease or a repressed or compromised immune system, and the very young and very old. In addition, certain types of viral sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV / AIDS and HPV, can cause serious complications and death.

Seek immediate medical attention if you think you have a viral disease, especially if you are at risk for complications, or if you believe you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease .

Seek immediate medical attention if you, or someone you are with, have severe symptoms of a disease or viral illness, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting or a change in alertness or awareness.

Virus

Viruses are even smaller than bacteria and require living hosts, such as people, plants or animals, to multiply. Otherwise, they can not survive.

When a virus enters your body, it invades some of your cells and seizes the machinery of the cell, redirecting it to produce the virus. Diseases caused by viruses include:

  • Chickenpox.
  • PAGE.
  • Common cold

In some cases, it can be difficult to determine if a bacteria or a virus is causing your symptoms. Many ailments, such as pneumonia, meningitis and diarrhea, can be caused by bacteria or viruses.

What are the Symptoms of Viral Diseases?

The symptoms of viral diseases vary according to the specific type of virus that causes the 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 may include:

  • Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, pain and discomfort).
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
  • Irritability.
  • Upset (general feeling of illness)
  • Eruption.
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion, nasal congestion, runny nose or postnasal drip.
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Swollen tonsils.
  • Unexplained weight loss

In babies, the signs of a viral illness may also include:

  • Bulge of the soft spot on the top of the head.
  • Difficulty with feeding
  • Excessive crying or irritability.
  • Excessive sleep

Serious symptoms that can indicate a life-threatening condition:

In some cases, viral diseases can cause serious complications, such as dehydration or pneumonia . Seek immediate medical attention if you, or someone you are with, have any of the following symptoms:

  • Change in alertness or level of awareness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Deep, wet cough that produces yellow, green, or brown phlegm.
  • High fever (more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Lethargy or lack of response.
  • Seizure.
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing.
  • Neck stiffness.
  • 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 to reproduce. If the body’s immune system can not fight the virus, it multiplies and spreads to other cells, repeating the process and leading to 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 infection of the upper respiratory tract. Other common viruses include the following:

  • The Epstein-Barr virus causes infectious mononucleosis (cytomegalovirus causes a very similar illness in some people).
  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS.
  • Human papilloma viruses (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, enterovirus y norovirus causan gastroenteritis viral.
  • Varicella zoster virus causes shingles and chicken pox.
  • West Nile virus causes West Nile fever.

Various ways to get infected with a virus

You can get a virus in several ways, including:

  • Being bitten by an animal infected with a virus.
  • Being bitten by an insect infected with a virus, such as with West Nile virus.
  • Breathe droplets suspended in the air contaminated with a virus.
  • Eat food or drink water contaminated with a virus.
  • Have sexual contact with a person who is infected with a sexually transmitted virus.
  • Share needles to tattoo or use drugs with an infected person.
  • Touch infected feces or body fluids and do not wash your hands before eating or touching your mouth, eyes or nose.
  • Touch surfaces contaminated with a virus.
  • Transmission of a virus from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery.

What are the risk factors for contracting virus diseases?

Viral diseases can occur in any age group or population. Everyone gets viral diseases during their life, although in some cases, the virus does not cause obvious symptoms.

Risk factors for catching a viral disease or developing complications from a viral disease include:

  • Advanced age.
  • Immune system compromised due to an immunodeficiency disorder, HIV / AIDS, cancer or cancer treatment, kidney disease or other conditions.
  • History of chronic disease, such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, tuberculosis or heart disease.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Do not rest enough and have high levels of stress.
  • Do not wash your hands frequently, especially before eating or after using the bathroom, or after touching common surfaces.
  • Share needles to inject drugs or to tattoo.
  • Unprotected sex that includes vaginal, oral and anal sex with a partner who has had one or more sexual partners.
  • Young age, including children from childhood and primary school.

Reducing your risk of viral diseases.

You can reduce your risk of contracting or spreading a viral disease by:

  • Refrain from sexual activity, or only participate in sexual activities within a mutually monogamous relationship in which neither is infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Avoid contact of your hands with your eyes, nose and mouth, which can transmit a virus to the body.
  • Avoid contact with a person who has a viral illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow (not your hand) or a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that includes sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables.
  • Enough rest.
  • Use a new condom for each sexual act.
  • Use a sterile needle not used for each act of tattooing or injecting drug use.
  • Use appropriate antibacterial cleansers to clean your hands and surfaces.
  • Vaccination recommended by your health care provider for viral diseases such as chicken pox, shingles, flu, HPV, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, measles and mumps.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds after contact with a person who has a viral illness, before eating or after going to the bathroom or touching stools, body fluids, surfaces or food potentially contaminated with viruses.

How are Viral Diseases Treated?

The treatment of viral infections varies according to the specific virus and other factors. The general measures of treatment are aimed at relieving your symptoms so that you can rest enough that you need to maintain your strength and recover without complications.

General treatments for viral infections include:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) for fever, body aches and pain.
  • Drink extra fluids
  • Resting and sleeping extra.
  • Maintain 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, an infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) that leads to cervical dysplasia can be treated by surgically removing abnormal cells from a woman’s cervix.

In general, it is recommended that children under the age of six not use cold or cough medicine because of the risk of serious side effects.

In addition, people with a viral illness should not use aspirin or products that contain aspirin because of the risk of developing a rare, but life-threatening condition called Reye’s syndrome.

Reye’s syndrome has been linked to taking aspirin during a viral illness, such as a cold or the flu.

Prescription Medications Used

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

  • Antiretroviral drugs, which can help people with HIV / AIDS lead longer lives. Antiretroviral drugs hinder the ability of HIV to reproduce, which slows down the spread of HIV in the body.
  • Antiviral drugs, which minimize the severity and duration of some viral infections, such as influenza and herpes zoster, especially in people who are at high risk of serious complications.

For example, the medicines oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) and zanamivir (brand name Relenza) may be prescribed for some cases of influenza. These drugs are not appropriate for everyone with the flu.

Antibiotics, which are not prescribed for viral diseases because they are ineffective in the treatment of viral infections, can 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 can help increase comfort, promote rest and minimize 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 maintain strength.
  • Supplements or products that contain vitamin C, echinacea or zinc.
  • Using a vaporizer.
  • Using menthol ointments on the chest.

How Long Are Viral Infections Contagious?

Employees wear surgical masks in the hope of avoiding those that are contagious. Contagiousness refers to the ability to transmit a virus from one person (host) to another (receiver).

Viral infections are contagious for varying periods of time depending on the virus. An incubation period refers to the time between exposure to a virus (or other pathogen) and the onset of symptoms. The contagious period of a virus is not necessarily the same as the incubation period.

What are the Possible Complications?

In some people, viral diseases can break down the body’s defenses and cause more serious infections and life-threatening complications. Therefore, it is important that you visit your healthcare provider when you have symptoms of a viral infection.

Following the treatment plan described by your health care provider can help reduce any possible complications, including:

  • Acute bronchitis.
  • Cervical cancer (due to human papillomavirus infection).
  • Dehydration.
  • Frequent opportunistic infections that threaten life.
  • Otitis media (ear infection).
  • Pneumonia.
  • Secondary bacterial infection
  • Convulsions
  • Shock and coma
  • Sinusitis.
  • Worsening of asthma.

Viral Heart Disease

Viral heart disease, also known as myocarditis, is a heart condition caused by a virus. The virus attacks the heart muscle, causing inflammation and altering the electrical pathways that tell the heart to beat properly.

Most of the time, the body will heal itself and you may never know that you had a problem. However, in rare cases, the infection itself and the resulting inflammation can damage and weaken the heart. This can also trigger heart failure and irregular heartbeat.

This condition can happen to people who seem to be in good health. The only sign of viral heart disease is a flu symptom for some people. Although a wide variety of viruses can affect the heart, only a few are more commonly associated with myocarditis and other heart problems.

Types of Viruses

Adenovirus

Adenovirus is one of the most common viral causes of myocarditis in both children and adults. Typically causes respiratory infections. It can also cause bladder and bowel infections.

The virus spreads through contact with droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person.

Citomegalovirus (CMV)

This group of viruses includes herpes simplex viruses, varicella-zoster virus (which causes chickenpox and shingles) and Epstein-Barr virus (which causes mononucleosis ). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 50 out of 100 people are infected with CMV when they are 40 years old.

Up to 90% of adults have been infected with the Epstein-Barr virus.

Usually, CMV lies dormant and harmless in the body, but it can cause infections, including a viral heart infection. Viruses are transmitted through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person. They can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to a fetus during pregnancy.

Coxsackievirus B

This is the most common cause of myocarditis, to which half of the cases are attributed. It can cause the flu or attack the heart, creating an infection that lasts from 2 to 10 days. Cardiac symptoms can occur within two weeks.

Symptoms may include fever, fatigue and chest pains. It usually does not cause death, but it can cause permanent damage to the heart, especially if it is repeated.

This virus is transmitted through fecal material, so some of the best methods of prevention are washing hands and improving general hygiene.

Enteric cytopathic human orphan viruses (ECHO)

This family of viruses usually causes gastrointestinal infections and skin rashes. The virus can also cause myocarditis. You can get the virus when you come in contact with contaminated feces or by breathing air particles from an infected person.

Parvovirus humano B19

This virus causes the so-called fifth disease, a disease characterized by mild rash that is more common in children than in adults. It is also occasionally associated with acute myocarditis. The virus spreads through saliva or nasal mucus.

Washing your hands and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze can help reduce the spread of the virus.

Rubella

Known as the virus that causes German measles, rubella can cause a viral infection of the heart. It is also associated with spontaneous abortions, stillbirths and birth defects. It can cause myocarditis if it infects the heart, although it is not common.

A rubella vaccine is available.

symptom

Because many viral heart infections do not create visible symptoms, the infection may go unnoticed. Symptoms that may occur include:

  • An abnormal heartbeat
  • Chest pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Muscle pains.
  • Sore throat.
  • Pain in the joints or legs or swelling.
  • Fainting or difficulty breathing.

Blood tests, electrical tests, x-rays, and nuclear testing of the heart may show signs of stress in the heart and may alert the doctor to the problem.

Treatment

Treatment for viral heart infection may include medications such as:

  • Antiviral agents to treat the infection.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in the heart.
  • Diuretics to eliminate excess water and edema.

Doctors can also recommend certain changes in lifestyle, such as following a low-salt diet and reducing activity. Your doctor will probably give you medications to even out abnormal heart rhythms or help reduce the risk of blood clots if the heart muscle has been damaged or weakened.

The treatment will vary depending on the severity of the infection and its effects on the heart.

Remember

Viral heart disease occurs when a virus attacks the heart muscle. This can cause inflammation and interruption of the electrical pathways that indicate that the heart should beat properly.

Most people who have a viral heart disease will only experience flu-like symptoms. If the tests lead to a diagnosis, work closely with your doctor to develop a treatment plan.

Take all medications as prescribed and control your symptoms.

The Differences between Bacteria and Viruses

Although bacteria and viruses are too small to be seen without a microscope, they are as different as giraffes and goldfish.

What is the Difference between a Bacterial Infection and a Viral Infection?

Bacterial and viral infections have many things in common. Both types of infections are caused by microbes, bacteria and viruses, respectively, as you might think, bacterial infections are caused by bacteria and viral infections are caused by viruses.

They are spread by things like:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Get in touch with infected people, especially through kissing and sex.
  • Contact with contaminated surfaces, food and water.
  • Get in touch with infected creatures, such as pets, livestock and insects, such as fleas and ticks.

Microbes can also cause:

  • Acute infections, which are short-lived.
  • Chronic infections, which can last weeks, months or all of life.
  • Latent infections, which may not cause symptoms at first, but can be reactivated over a period of months and years.

Most importantly, bacterial and viral infections can cause mild, moderate and severe illness. Perhaps the most important distinction between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotics usually kill bacteria, but they are not effective against viruses.

Throughout history, millions of people have died of diseases such as bubonic plague or black plague, caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, and smallpox, caused by the variola virus.

In recent times, viral infections have been responsible for two major pandemics: the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 that killed 20-40 million people and the current HIV / AIDS epidemic that caused the death of approximately 1, 5 million people worldwide in 2013 alone.

Bacterial and viral infections are different in many other important aspects, most of them due to the structural differences of organisms and the way they respond to medications.

Bacteria

Bacteria are unicellular microorganisms that thrive in many different types of environments. Some varieties live in extreme cold or heat. Others make their home in the intestines of people, where they help to digest food.

Most bacteria do not cause harm to people, but there are exceptions, infections caused by bacteria include:

  • Strep throat.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Infections of the urinary tract.

The inappropriate use of antibiotics has helped to create bacterial diseases that are resistant to treatment with different types of antibiotic medications.

The fossilized records show that bacteria have existed for about 3.5 billion years and that bacteria can survive in different environments, including extreme heat and cold, radioactive waste and the human body.

Most bacteria are harmless, and some actually help digest food, destroy disease-causing microbes, fight cancer cells, and provide essential nutrients.

Less than 1% of bacteria cause diseases in people.