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All You Need to Know about Viral Infections
- Too many people don’t realize that infections come in different varieties and not all of them are affected by antibiotics
- To understand viral infections, you need to understand why viruses and bacteria are different
When we have an infection, many of us tend to call the physician and request a dose of antibiotics to help us fight back faster. Too many people don’t realize that infections come in different varieties and not all of them are affected by antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, which are some of the most common don’t respond to such treatments. Understanding these infections can be a good way to learn how to recover from one effectively.
Understanding the Basics of Viral Infections
To understand viral infections, you need to understand why viruses and bacteria are different. Let’s start with bacteria. A bacterium is a living organisms made up of a single cell. To spread in your body, the bacterium must divide. When the bacteria invade a cell, they produce a type of toxin that causes damages.
Viruses are not alive in the basic sense of the word. The best way to think about them is as nuggets of genetic material that has to get inside a host in order to multiply. The virus does this by invading your healthy cells and taking them over. Then the cells are redirected to reproduce the virus. In some cases, the cells which act as hosts are killed once they have done their job.
While these differences may not seem great, they do have a big impact on how viruses and bacteria are treated in the body. The types of medication used for one type of infection will not work for the others.
Types of Infections Caused by Viruses
One interesting aspect of the human body is that no cell within it is immune to viruses. While the same virus may not affect each cell in the same way, there is a different type of virus that harms the different types of cells. Each one causes different types of viral infections. Some of the most common are ear colds and the stomach flu. These are, of course, not very serious conditions and usually clear up without any additional treatment. However, some viruses can do a great deal more damage, including AIDS, some types of meningitis, and mononucleosis.
The cells attacked by the viruses determine the effects of the infection. For example, AIDS/HIV viruses hijack the T cells produced by the immune system which is why diagnosed patients end up suffering from reduced immune responses. Viruses that cause meningitis attack nerve cells. The Epstein Barr virus which causes mononucleosis attacks some types of white blood cells.
Dangers of Using Antibiotics against Viruses
Although most of us have come to rely on antibiotics as the cure-all for infections, the fact is using these drugs to treat viral infections is not a good idea. For one, they will not speed up your recovery but will prevent you from receiving the appropriate medication for your infection. Additionally, the overuse of antibiotics has caused the development of drug resistant strains of bacteria. Today, diseases such as tuberculosis are now becoming more difficult to treat with medication.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Other Viruses5 Dec 2008|