Viruses are small organisms composed of protein and DNA. Viruses have no activity on their own, but when viruses enter living organisms, they are able to replicate and damage that host organism. Viruses are the cause of many illnesses such as flu, diarrhea, measles, mumps, chickenpox, hepatitis, and even the common cold.
For a virus to activate, it first needs to access a host organism. The virus then infects the organs and tissues of the host. The virus uses the host’s metabolic machinery to replicate (copy itself) and spread. This can, in some cases, cause damage to the cells. In addition, the virus activates the host’s immune response to try to fight off this infection. The immune response is responsible for many of the symptoms that we associate with being sick.
Viruses are the cause of many common infections. Some examples of the viruses that cause these infections are below:
- Rotavirus – one of the primary causes of infectious diarrhea in children
- Hepatitis – caused by the hepatitis A, B, C or E viruses
- Flu – primarily due to influenza A, B and C viruses.
- Measles – due to the measles virus.
- COVID-19 – caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus
- Warts – human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Common cold – Rhinovirus
Most of the time, viral infections such as flu, colds, and stomach issues are taken care of by the immune system. In some cases, when people are immunocompromised, they have a harder time clearing these infections.
Medical treatment is not necessary for most viral infections. There are some viral infections, though, that can lead to complications such as cancer or chronic illness.
Immunization is the best way to address viral infections such as polio, measles, influenza, chickenpox, and more. Immunization helps to increase the ability of an individual to fight off viral infection and complications.
Treatment for viral illness is often focused on treating the symptoms of the illness. In most cases, the body’s immune system will get rid of the virus without assistance. There are a few antiviral medications available for the treatment of viral infections. If taken early, these may reduce the duration or severity of symptoms from the illness.
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
Most of the time, viral infections resolve on their own. If a viral illness does not resolve, or the symptoms of illness are severe, a visit to a medical provider is recommended.
Treatment for common viral infections is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.
For more information on common viral infections, see the following website: