Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral Infections
Viral infections like herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), chicken pox and rotavirus are infections caused by a virus instead of a bacterium. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, but some specific viruses like influenza A and B can be treated with certain antiviral medications. Most commonly, treatment for viral infections includes drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, eating well and letting the illness run its course.

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    ARealAge answered
    Foot-and-mouth disease, also called hoof-and-mouth disease, is a viral infection that affects animals with cloven (divided) hooves, such as cows, goats, sheep and deer (but not dogs, horses, or cats). It is caused by the FMD virus, part of the Picornaviridae virus family. Because of its name, it's often confused with another disease that affects people, called hand-foot-mouth (or hand, foot and mouth) disease. People can't contract the animal disease, and animals can't contract the human disease. In animals, symptoms of hoof-and-mouth disease include blisters in the mouth and on the feet. It is possible for people to spread the disease to other animals through contaminated clothing, shoes or other objects. Contaminated food, water, vehicles, and buildings can also spread the disease. It can cause the animal pain and even be fatal.
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    ARealAge answered
    Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain, caused by a virus or bacteria. Symptoms depend on the cause of the encephalitis, the extent of inflammation, and where in the brain it occurs; symptoms can range from mild to very serious. A mild condition may improve with rest, fluids and pain medication. People with more serious cases should get emergency medical care. Headache, loss of appetite, and a general ill feeling may be symptoms of a mild case; fever may also be present. Symptoms of severe encephalitis include:
    • Fever
    • A severe, lasting headache
    • Confusion or memory loss
    • Feeling very sleepy
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Speech or walking problems
    • Seizures
    • Personality changes
    • Weakness
    • Hallucinations
    • Stiff neck
    • Coma In babies or young children, symptoms of encephalitis include ongoing crying, loss of interest in feeding, and a stiff body. They may also have swelling or bulging at the soft spots in their head.
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    ARealAge answered
    Viruses are tiny organisms that cause infection by getting into a person's or animal's cells and multiplying (or reproducing). There are many types of viruses, including the flu (influenza), rhinoviruses (the common cold virus), West Nile virus (spread by mosquitos), HIV, and Ebola (an often fatal virus). Depending on the type of virus, symptoms may be mild, very serious or even deadly. Unlike bacteria, viruses can't be treated with antibiotics. So they're often hard to treat. Unlike bacteria, which generally attack the body's cells from the outside, viruses (which are much, much smaller) invade the body's cells and take control of them to replicate themselves. Sometimes, an antiviral drug can be given, and mild viruses, like a cold or flu, usually get better on their own. Vaccinations can help prevent many viral infections, including the flu, pneumonia, shingles, mumps, measles and chickenpox.
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    ARealAge answered
    West Nile virus is a viral infection that is spread through the bite of mosquitoes that carry the virus. It can affect people and animals. In people, the symptoms are usually very mild. The CDC estimates that 8 out of 10 people have no symptoms at all. If symptoms do occur, they usually include fever, headache, general aching, a skin rash and swollen glands that get better without treatment. People with weak immune systems are at risk of more serious symptoms and complications from the virus. This includes encephalitis (life-threatening inflammation in the brain), which can occur if the virus travels to the brain. There is no vaccine for human use or specific cure for West Nile virus, so preventing mosquito bites is an important way to protect yourself, your family and your pets.
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    AHoward I. Baron, MD, Pediatric Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
    How Can I Protect My Children from Viruses?
    You can protect your children from viruses by teaching good hand washing, says Howard Baron, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he describes a variety of virus-protecting strategies for parents. 
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    AHoward I. Baron, MD, Pediatric Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
    Are Certain Viruses Seasonal?
    Certain viruses that cause children gastrointestinal upset are seasonal, says Howard Baron, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he describes which viruses may strike children during particular seasons. 
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    AUCLA Health answered
    Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the clear membranes covering the white of the eye and the inner side of the eyelid. The same viruses that are responsible for colds and infections of the ear, sinuses and throat can also cause viral conjunctivitis. Children with viral conjunctivitis do not benefit from taking antibiotics. The condition is contagious, however, and they may need to stay home from school if there is a fever. Hand hygiene is an important factor in preventing the spread of viral conjunctivitis.
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    AScripps Health answered

    Polio is almost extinct. However, an adult booster is recommended for travelers to India and Africa.

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    AUCLA Health answered
    Although there are some specific antiviral drugs (such as for the treatment of influenza A and B), there are no drugs to treat most other respiratory viral illnesses. Common viral infections in children usually last only a short time and are best treated by ensuring adequate fluid intake, restricting strenuous exercise and allowing the illness to run its course. Over-the-counter cold medicines should not be used in children.
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    Evidence supporting the use of homeopathy as a treatment for viral infections is lacking. More studies are needed.

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