Viral Infections: Overview
Viral infections are caused by viruses, which are tiny microbes that spread in the body. Viruses are actually made up of tiny pieces of DNA or RNA, and are smaller even than single-celled bacteria. Viruses are very common, with examples including respiratory viral infections (e.g. common cold, flu, etc.), digestive viral infections, and many, many others. Viral infections are often contagious, but not all types are. Viruses need to be distinguished from other types of microbes such as bacteria, fungal infections, parasites, and other types of disease. The distinction is often important because viruses cannot be treated by antibiotics (which are used to treat bacterial infections), and antiviral drugs may sometimes be used. Some types of viruses may need no treatment and the body may defend itself adequately and recover with symptomatic treatments only. Other types of viruses can be more serious.
- Common Cold: The common cold refers to any number of viral infections of the nose and throat. Typical symptoms are all too ... More on Common Cold »
- Flu: Flu, also called influenza, is a viral infection of the upper airways. It is usually more severe than the common cold ... More on Flu »
- Bacterial Infections: Bacteria are tiny single-celled microbes that can infect the body. Some bacterial infections can be quite dangerous and worsen ... More on Bacterial Infections »
- Fungal Infections: Fungal infections are caused by small organisms called fungi (plural) or fungus (singular). They often infect the skin or other ... More on Fungal Infections »
- Parasitic Infections: Parasitic infections, or parasite infestations, are where a parasitic organism infests the body. Simple examples are worms, head lice or ... More on Parasitic Infections »
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics are a class of drugs that is mainly known for their use against bacterial infections, although they can also ... More on Antibiotics »
- Antivirals: Antivirals are the general class of medications that act against viruses. Although medications are not generally used against the most ... More on Antivirals »
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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.