Viral infections are a yearly phenomenon and people get infected at least once or twice a year. This microscopic organism is infectious and may affect the immune system as whole and causes neurological, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders. Viral infections are contagious and it spreads from insect to human, person to person through contact. Common viral infections that are spread through casual contacts are common cold, flu, bronchitis, gastroenteritis, ear infections, RSV and croup. It spread in communities like schools, offices and other places where crowds gather.
Most of these infections cause respiratory or gastrointestinal disorders. On an average, adults get two to four colds a year. Common cold is caused by rhinovirus, coronavirus and adenovirus. An influenza virus mutates every year and there numerous strains of the virus that can cause flu. Hence, it is also called the seasonal flu. Though flu is not a serious condition yet thousands of people get hospitalized and it is estimated that around 250k people die from the flu every year. Bronchitis can be caused by chemicals, bacteria and viruses. The virus type is the most common bronchitis. Bronchitis has common symptoms as that of cold and flu in addition it causes persistent cough that can last for weeks.
Read More About : Bacterial And Viral Infection Symptoms
Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is another common viral infection that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It is different from the flu and the main cause is the norovirus and rotavirus. The disease spreads through faeces, contaminated water and food and through contact infected surfaces. Ear infection is common once you get the flu or cold. It is common in children and adults. Croup is caused by human parainfluenza virus types 1 and 3. It is but scary for their parents as they find children cough like seal barking and experience whistling sound as they inhale. RSV can be life threatening for babies aged below 2 and requires hospitalization.
Common cold is typically mild and may last between a week and 10 days. People mostly rely on self treatment and over the counter medicines to treat common cold. It is the same for mild cases of flu. But both flu and common cold can aggravate to pneumonia and this can only be treated by doctors who can prescribe anti viral infection. The treatment will mostly depend on the symptoms and the kind of disorder the patient is experiencing. Bronchitis might require respiratory treatment if the symptoms aggravates.
For mild infections doctors usually suggest to take good bed rest and enough fluids with age appropriate pain relievers. Antibiotics are commonly administered for infections that are severe. Children under 6 months old are prescribed acetaminophen and ibuprofen for others.
As they say prevention is better than cure. The best way one can protect from community spread diseases is to stay hygiene and stay away from sick people. Frequently washing hands and disinfecting common areas is key to stop the spread. Teach your kids to cover mouth and nose using the elbows instead of hands while coughing or sneezing. Cold viruses are spread when someone sneezes or coughs near you or touches contaminated surfaces. Use hand sanitizers and avoid touching your face. Another best way to prevent infection is through vaccination. Discuss with your healthcare provider and take the right vaccines. It is the most effective and safe way to prevent illness.
Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to prevent ear infections in infants. Avoid smoking or specifically second hand smoking that can pass on the virus to you. Practice good hygienic habits to prevent from cold and flu.