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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    If you have warts and plantar warts you should call your doctor for the following reasons.
    • Your plantar warts do not improve with treatment. In some cases, your doctor may want to perform a biopsy to rule out other possible causes of the warts.
    • Your warts do not respond to self-care and you would like your doctor to remove them.
    • You have signs of infection, including redness, pus, discharge, red streaking, fever and bleeding, especially bleeding that doesn't stop when you apply pressure.
    • Your wart causes pain.
    • Your warts are spreading.
    • You have anal and/or genital warts.
    • You have diabetes or a weakened immune system and you develop warts.
    • The wart starts to look or feel different or changes color.
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    Treating a virus with antibiotics is a bad idea for several reasons. It is frankly a waste of money on your end and can increase your personal risk of side effects and allergies to the antibiotics. The last thing anyone needs when riding out a cold is to add an itchy rash or an upset stomach to the mix. Also, new data is linking gut bacteria to digestion, brain function and overall health. Since doctors can’t give you an antibiotic that only affects your nose or lungs, the pill is going to affect the gastrointestinal tract that has to digest it as well. That is an additional negative with very personal risks and implications.
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    A rubella test helps doctors detect the rubella virus, also called German measles or 3-day measles. It is a blood test that finds antibodies to the virus, which can confirm whether or not a person has the infection. The test can also tell doctors if a person has been vaccinated to the virus, or that they've never been exposed to rubella at all. This test is often ordered for pregnant women, to be sure they have enough rubella antibodies to protect their baby from the virus. Other people may need the test if they have symptoms of the virus. Sometimes, the test is ordered for newborns, if their doctor suspects they've been exposed. The blood test results may be confirmed with tests of urine, or nose or throat swabs, or a nasal wash.
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    Mononucleosis, also called mono or the kissing disease, is a virus that is spread from person to person through saliva. Its symptoms can last for several weeks, and include fever, lasting fatigue, a sore throat and swollen glands. It usually affects teens and young adults, and is not usually serious. But call your doctor when you first notice signs of mono, to get the correct diagnosis and treatment. Even if you've already seen your doctor for mono, you should get medical care right away if you have any pain or feelings of fullness in the upper left side of your stomach area (abdomen). This can be a sign of a swollen spleen, a rare but serious complication of mono. Signs of liver problems, like jaundice, are more rare, but should also be examined by a doctor.
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    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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    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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    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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    What is West Nile virus?  
    West Nile virus is an arbovirus that is carried by mosquitos; it can be very serious, but generally its asymptomatic and those infected don't even realize they have it. Watch public health specialist Peter DeLucia, MPA, discuss West Nile virus.
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    A Pediatric Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of
    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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    A Pediatric Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of
    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.