Not sure what viruses are and how to deal with one? Understand its main symptoms, treatments and warning signs.
Although we still have to live with the coronavirus, the truth is that we have overcome the peaks of the pandemic and, now, we are back to dealing with generalist diagnoses, which so often make us listen. Certainly, he has already been sick and when he went to the doctor to find out what was going on with him, the diagnosis was something vague: viral disease. But after all, what is a virus?
A virus is an infection caused by one of several existing viruses, which is why the symptoms it causes are also quite diverse.
So, if you don’t feel well, you went to the doctor and he said that you probably have a virus, it means that you have been infected by a virus, you can transmit this infection to others and, to be well, you must above all rest, eat well and drink lots of water.
Get a better understanding of what a virus is and if you feel any changes, do not hesitate to contact a doctor or go to the hospital.
What is a virus? Know the first signs
As the name implies, a virus is an infection caused by a virus. Viruses are particles that do not have the ability to reproduce autonomously. For this reason, this type of infection is usually self-limited, disappearing on its own in a few days (maximum 10), without the need for specific medication. This is the most common infection in children and is contagious.
It is important not to confuse bacteria with viruses, as they are different microbes. Bacteria can reproduce, are more aggressive and capable of directly destroying cells. For these reasons, diseases caused by bacteria are more invasive and therefore require treatment such as taking antibiotics.
With this distinction, it is clear to everyone that it makes no sense and may even be counterproductive to administer an antibiotic when the patient actually has a virus.
There are several symptoms that may be associated with a virus, since there are a lot of viruses.
- Muscle and stomach aches;
- Headaches or pain behind the eyes;
- Diarrhoea, fever and vomiting;
- seasickness and lack of appetite;
- Sneezing, runny nose and cough.
3 types of viruses
There are essentially three types of viruses.
- Respiratory viruses: caused by flu or cold virus, such as Rhinovirus, Adenovirus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Coronavirus, Parainfluenza. Among its most common symptoms are: fever, sneezing, sinusitis, cough, conjunctivitis, sore throat and body aches, tiredness and general malaise. Respiratory viruses usually last between 2 to 7 days.
- gastrointestinal viruses: Its main symptom is diarrhea, usually caused by rotavirus, Norovirus, Astrovirus and enteric Adenovirus. In addition, the presence of abdominal cramps, vomiting and low fever is common. These viruses last between 3 to 7 days.
- rash viruses: These viruses manifest themselves essentially through reddish eruptions on the skin, such as chickenpox, rubella and measles.
As we have already mentioned, drugs are not usually prescribed to cure the virus. Therefore, for faster healing, it is essential to rest and strengthen the body, so that the immune system eliminates the virus as quickly as possible.
Some frequent advice is to drink plenty of water, eat a nutritious and balanced diet (based on fruits, vegetables and cooked lean meats) and rest. Of course, in case of pain or fever, the doctor usually suggests taking analgesics, such as paracetamol, for example.
Although the virus is usually harmless and heals on its own, there are complications that can arise and that you should be aware of, such as:
- deep eyes;
- very dry skin;
- worsening diarrhea, with blood, for example;
- worsening cough or shortness of breath;
- spots on the skin;
- persistent fever that does not go down with paracetamol;
As we have already mentioned, viruses are more common in babies and children. But why? The answer is simple: the little ones still don’t have the same resistance as adults, as their immune system is still developing.
Thus, each time the child comes into contact with a different micro-organism, he will contract a virus, until his body is able to produce antibodies against this invading virus.