Viral Diseases – Symptoms, Causes &Treatments

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A viral infection is any type of illness or disease caused by a virus, a type of microbe. A viral infection occurs when a virus enters the body through such processes as breathing air contaminated with a virus, eating contaminated food, or by having sexual contact with a person who is infected with a virus. A viral infection may also be caused by an insect bite. In a viral infection, the virus invades the inside of the body’s cells in order to reproduce. A virus then spreads to other cells and repeats the process.

This process of viral infection results in a variety of symptoms that vary in character and severity depending on the type of viral infection and individual factors. Common symptoms of a viral infection includefatigue, flu-like symptoms and fever.

 

Many types of viral infections, such as a cold, are self-limiting in generally healthy people. This means that the viral infection causes illness for period of time, then it resolves and symptoms disappear. However, some people are at risk for developing serious complications of viral infection. In addition, certain types of viral infections, such as HIV/AIDS, are not self-limiting and cause serious complications and are eventually fatal.

 

There are many types of viruses that cause a wide variety of viral infections or viral diseases. For example, there are over 200 different viruses that can cause a cold or an upper respiratory infection. Other common viruses include the influenza virus, which causes influenza or the flu. The Epstein-Barr virus and the cytomegalovirus cause infectious mononucleosis. The varicella zoster virus causes shingles, and chickenpox, and HIV causes AIDS.

 

Viral diseases are extremely widespread infections caused by viruses, a type of microorganism. There are many types of viruses that cause a wide variety of viral diseases. The most common type of viral disease is the common cold, which is caused by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat). Other common viral diseases include:

  1. Chickenpox
  2. Flu (Influenza)
  3. Herpes
  4. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS)
  5. Human papillomavirus(HPV)
  6. Infectious mononucleosis
  7. Mumps,measles and rubella
  8. Shingles
  9. Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  10. Viral hepatitis
  11. Viral meningitis
  12. Viral Pneumonia

 

Viral diseases are contagious and spread from person to person when a virus enters the body and begins to multiply.Common ways that viruses spread from person to person include:

SYMPTOMS:

Symptoms of viral infection vary depending on the type of viral infection, the area of the body that is infected, the age and health history of the patient and other factors. The symptoms of viral infection can also resemble symptoms of other diseases, such as bacterial infections.

Symptoms may affect almost any area of the body or body system and include fever,chills, headache, stiff neck, irritability, enlarged glands, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rash, abdominal pain, sore throat, ear pain, cough,weight loss, fatigue, body aches, and other flu-like symptoms.

In infants, signs of viral infection can include excessive crying, excessive sleepiness, difficulty with feeding, and a bulging of the soft spot on the top of the head.

 

Many viral infections, such as upper respiratory infection and seasonal influenza, are self limiting. People who are generally healthy are often able to survive these infections without developing serious complications. However, even young and healthy people may develop serious complications to some viral infections. For example, women infected with certain strains of HPV are at risk for developingcervical cancer.

Certain risk factors make it more likely that a person will develop serious, even lethal, complications from a viral infection. People who are generally most at risk for developing complications include those who have a compromised immune system due to such diseases as HIV/AIDS or combined immunodeficiencies. People who take certain medications, such as corticosteroids, which suppress the body’s natural immune response, are also at risk. Other risk factors include malnutrition, high stress levels and being very young or very old.

Complications of a viral infection can include a secondary bacterial infection, pneumonia,dehydration, shock, the development of some forms of cancer and coma.

Symptoms of viral diseases vary depending on the specific type of virus causing infection, the area of the body that is infected, the age and health history of the patient, and other factors. The symptoms of viral diseases can affect almost any area of thebody or body system. Symptoms of viral diseases can include:

  1. Flu- like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches and pains)
  2. Gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  3. Irritability
  4. Malaise (general ill feeling)
  5. Rash
  6. Sneezing
  7. Stuffy nose, nasal congestion, runny nose, or postnasal drip
  8. Swollen lymph nodes
  9. Swollen tonsils
  10. Unexplained weight loss

WHAT CAUSES VIRAL DISEASES?

Viral infections occur when a virus enters the body and invades the inside of the body’s cells in order to reproduce. If the body’s immune system is unable to fight off the virus, it multiplies and spreads to other cells, repeating the process and leading to a widespread infection.

 

TYPES OF VIRUSES:

There are many types of viruses that cause a wide variety of viral infections or viral diseases. In fact, there are more than 200different viruses that can cause a cold or an upper respiratory infection. Other common viruses include the following:

  1. Epstein-Barr virus causes infectious mononucleosis (cytomegalovirus causes a very similar disease in some people)
  2. Human papillomaviruses (HPV) cause HPV infection, cervical dysplasia, genital warts, and cervical cancer.
  3. Influenza viruses,such as H1N1, cause influenza (flu).
  4. Respiratory syncytical virus (RSV) causes lower respiratory tract infections in young children.
  5. Rhinoviruses cause the common cold
  6. Rotavirus, enteroviruses and noroviruses cause viral gastroenteritis.
  7. Varicella zoster virus causes shingles and chickenpox
  8. West Nile virus causes west nile fever.

TREATMENT:

Viral diseases can be very difficult to treat because viruses live inside the body’s cells where they are protected from medicines in the blood stream.

  1. No vaccine or specific antiviral treatments for West Nile virus infection are available.
  2. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to reduce fever and relieve some symptoms
  3. In severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care.

The first step in treating viral infection is preventing its occurrence and spread. Vaccines are available to prevent some common viral infections, such as chickenpox, shingles, influenza, HPV,hepatitis B, hepatitis A, measles and mumps.

 

Prevention of the spread of harmful viruses that cause viral infection also includes frequent hand washing and covering the mouth and nose with a tissue during sneezing or coughing. It is also important to avoid contact with a person who has a viral disease. Prevention of sexually transmitted viral infections, such as HIV/AIDS includes abstaining from sexual contact. The proper and consistent use of male and/or female condoms also provides some protection.

 

Treatment of viral infections varies depending on the specific virus and other factors. However, treatment of viral infections generally includes rest, increased fluids, good nutrition, and may require hospitalization and intensive care, especially if complications occur.

Antibiotics treat bacterial infections and are ineffective for the treatment of viral infections.

 

Researchers developed the first antiviral drug in the late 20th century. The drug, acyclovir, was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat herpes simplex virus infections. Only a few other antiviral medicines are available to prevent and treat viral infections and diseases.

Common Diseases during Cold Weather

Some health problems, such as asthma, sore throat and cold sores, are triggered or worsened by cold weather.

cold
COMMON COLDS:

  1. It is caused by more than 200 types of viruses, with coronavirus, adenovirus, and rhinovirus as the most well-known.
  2. The reason why colds are more common during cold days is because people tend to stay inside when it gets chilly out.
  3. Indoor air is trapped, so when people sneeze, others catch the viruses that come along with it.
  4. You can help prevent colds by washing your hands regularly.
  5. This destroys bugs that you may have picked up from touching surfaces used by other people.
  6. It’s also important to keep the house and any household items such as cups, glasses and towels clean, especially if someone in your house is ill.

SORE THROAT:

  1. Sore throats are common in winter and are almost always caused by viral infections.
  2. There’s some evidence that changes in temperature, such as going from a warm, centrally heated room to the icy outdoors, can also affect the throat.
  3. Another year-round disease that becomes more widespread when it gets cold.
  4. It’s either caused by bacterial/viral infection or throat irritation from low humidity.
  5. While not exactly a serious illness, it is nevertheless painful and annoying.
  6. If it becomes too unbearable to wait for the condition to self-terminate, one can take warm, clear, and neutral beverages as an alleviatory means or consult a physician.

ASTHMA:

  1. Cold air is a major trigger of asthma symptomssuch as wheezing and shortness of breath.
  2. People with asthma should be especially careful in winter.
  3. The triggers for this congenital respiratory disease vary from one patient to another.
  4. To some who have it, cold weather is one of those – and a powerful one at that.
  5. Once triggered,asthma constricts the airways, causing difficult, short, and painful breathing.
  6. To prevent this, it’s advisable for asthmatic people to stay indoors and wear appropriate clothing during cold weather.
  7. Also, it’s best to carry doctor-prescribed inhalers in case, as an attack can happen anytime, anywhere.

NOROVIRUS:

  1. Also known as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus is an extremely infectious stomach bug.
  2. It can strike all year round, but is more common in winter and in places such as hotels and schools.
  3. The illness is unpleasant, but it’s usually over within a couple of days.

PAINFUL JOINTS:

  1. Many people with arthritis say their joints become more painful in winter, though it’s not clear why this is the case.
  2. Only joint symptoms such as pain and stiffness are affected by the weather.
  3. There’s no evidence that changes in the weather cause joint damage.

COLD SORES:

  1. Most of us recognise that cold sores are a sign that we’re run down or under stress.
  2. While there’s no cure for cold sores, you can reduce the chances of getting one by looking after yourself through winter.

HEART ATTACKS:

  1. Heart attacks are more common in winter.
  2. This may be because cold snaps increase blood pressure and put more strain on the heart.
  3. Your heart also has to work harder to maintain body heat when it’s cold.

COLD HANDS:

  1. Raynaud’s phenomenon is a common condition that makes your fingers and toes change colour and become very painful in cold weather.
  2. Fingers can go white, then blue, then red, and throb and tingle.
  3. It’s a sign of poor circulation in the small blood vessels of the hands and feet.
  4. In severe cases, medication can help, but most people live with their symptoms.

DRY SKIN:

  1. Dry skin is a common condition and is often worse during the winter, when environmental humidity is low.
  2. Because of the low humidity during cold weather, the skin easily dries up, causing it to itch and crack.
  3. As a remedy, one can apply moisturizer to stop the skin’s moisture from evaporating.
  4. Also, taking warm showers can help. Hot showers will not only worsen the condition, but also make your hair look dry and dull.

FLU (INFLUENZA):

  1. Flu is a major killer of vulnerable people. People aged 65 and over and people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease, are particularly at risk.
  2. The best way to prevent getting flu is to have the flu jab (or flu nasal spray for children aged 2 to 18).
  3. The flu vaccine gives good protection against flu and lasts for one year.
  4. This infection shares a lot of similarities with the common cold: they’re both upper respiratory tract infections, perennially present, and caused by a wide plethora of viruses.
  5. They also share a handful of symptoms: headaches, a clogged nose, and cough. Because of these likenesses, it’s easy to mistake one for the other.
  6. In order to know which is which,take note that influenza causes joint pains, body weakness, and fever that can reach up to 41°C.

RISK FACTORS OF ILL HEALTH AMONG OLDER PEOPLE

As people age, they become more susceptible to disease and disability. However, much of the burden of ill health among older people can be reduced or prevented by adequately addressing specific risk factors, including:

  • Injury
  • Poverty
  • Social isolation and exclusion, mental health disorders
  • Development of noncommunicable diseases
  • Elder maltreatment.

 

INJURY

  • Falls and the injuries to which they often lead cause a large share of the burden of disease and disability on older people.
  • Injuries from falls (such as femur fracture) usually require hospitalization and costly interventions, including rehabilitation, and cause much of the functional limitations that lead to the need for long-term care, including admissions to nursing homes.
  • The risk of falls increases steeply with age.
  • Frailty in itself can considerably increase the risk of falls, which can happen in all settings.
  • About 30–50% of people living in long-term care institutions fall each year.
  • Convincing evidence, however, shows that most falls are predictable and preventable.
  • Some injury-prevention measures (such as hip protectors) have been shown to be cost effective or even cost saving, and there are examples of successful implementations of strategies to prevent falls, supported by public policies.

 

POVERTY

  • The risk of poverty grows with older age and is much higher among women than men.
  • Moreover, many older people cannot afford to pay health costs, including prescription drugs, from their own pockets.
  • WHO/Europe works closely with Member States to support them in developing policies that reduce this financial risk and ensure a more equitable distribution of the burden of health system funding.

 

SOCIAL ISOLATION AND EXCLUSION, MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS

  • Loneliness, social isolation and social exclusion are important social determinants and risk factors of ill health among older people.
  • Depression among older people is frequently undiagnosed.
  • They affect all aspects of health and well-being, including mental health, the risk of maltreatment and the risk of emergency admission to hospital for avoidable conditions, such as severe dehydration or malnutrition.
  • In all countries, older women have a higher risk of social isolation than older men.
  • Mental health support, including preventive action, is a vital, often neglected, aspect of medical and social attention to older people.

 

 

RISK FACTORS OF NONCOMMUNICABLE DISEASES

  • Healthy ageing is a lifelong process. Patterns of harmful behaviour, often established early in life, can reduce the quality of life and even result in premature death.
  • Poor nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol contribute to the development of chronic conditions: 5 of these (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and mental disorders) account for an estimated 77% of the disease burden and 86% of the deaths in the European Region. The most disadvantaged groups carry the greatest part of this burden.
  • Although smoking or lack of exercise, for example, can have long-term effects, changing course is beneficial at any age.
  • The risk of premature death actually decreases by 50% when people stop smoking at age 60–75 years.
  • Also, according to WHO’s “Global recommendations for physical activity and health”: “the overall evidence for adults aged 65 years and above demonstrates that, compared to less active individuals, men and women who are more active have lower rates of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, healthier body mass and composition, and a biomarker profile that is more favourable for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and the enhancement of bone health.
  • These benefits are observed in adults in the older age range, with or without existing noncommunicable diseases.”
  • In addition, a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

 

ELDER MALTREATMENT

  • Elder maltreatment is defined as physical, sexual, mental and/or financial abuse and/or neglect of people aged 60 years and older.
  • Maltreatment affects both the mental and physical well-being of older people and, if unchecked, reduces the quality of life and survival.
  • Until recently, elder maltreatment was considered a private matter. Only in the last two decades has the scope of the problem been recognized and systematically studied and addressed in various settings where older people live. WHO/Europe’s “European report on preventing elder maltreatment” reviews the findings of recent surveys and programmes to address the problem in the Region.

How Does a Broken Heart Physically Affect the Body ?

Broken heart syndrome, also known as stress cardiomyopathy, is a sudden weakness in the heart muscle due to a severely stressful situation. It has the same symptoms as heart attack difficulty breathing, chest pain and a drop in blood pressure but while a heart attack permanently damages the heart, broken heart syndrome‘s effects are temporary.

Chemical Changes

  • When a person falls in love, the “happy” chemical dopamine and the “trust” chemical oxytocin increase to very high levels.
  • Critical thinking shuts down, caution is thrown to the wind and one becomes blind to her lover’s faults.
  • At times, it seems as if the lover is the only thing that matters.
  • People become “addicted” to these chemical rushes much the same as one can become addicted to drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, morphine and oxycontin.
  • When a relationship ends, the body is in withdrawal from these chemicals.
  • The circuits in the brain that are involved in love and loss are really a motivational system.
  • A person who has been dumped is experiencing the same irrational and involuntary brain state as a person deprived of food, water or a drug.
  • Mania and an obsession with regaining what has been lost may set in. The circuits of fear and anxiety are also at full throttle, as oxytocin levels decrease.

Physiological Changes

  • Being dumped also has effects on the autonomic nervous system.
  • The chemical changes cause physiological variations in heart rate, blood flow, blood pressure and digestion.
  • The stress hormone cortisol runs high, weakening the immune system and bringing fatigue and sickness.
  • Loss of romantic love ignites the same brain circuits as physical pain.
  • Thus, the notion of a heart breaking is not simply a metaphor. Loss can create very real pain in the body.

Symptoms

  • The physical and chemical changes brought about by the loss of romantic love can create a cycle of symptoms.
  • If the heart does not heal quickly, symptoms can begin to build upon one another, creating more and more problems.
  • Many people nursing a broken heart withdraw from social activities and sink into depression.
  • The sleep cycle is thrown off as the person either lies in bed all day or develops insomnia.
  • Frequently, there are also disturbances in eating patterns.
  • Some people will stop eating while others may overeat or tend to overindulge in very unhealthy foods.
  • The constant nagging pain of loss may also lead to constant, uncontrollable crying, and an inability to work or concentrate on any task.
  • These debilitating symptoms can have adverse effects on all areas of life.
  • It is important for someone who has just had her heart broken to keep a social support system. It may also be helpful to look at the benefits of singlehood.
  • Many people find that after the initial shock of the breakup has passed, they have a newfound energy.
  • The freedom, independence and sense of accomplishment that come with doing it all on your own can be revitalizing.

THE EFFECT OF BROKEN HEART ON BODY:

  • IMMUNE SYSTEM
  • The stress of rejection might agitate your body’s immune system, leading to cell-damaging inflammation.
  • The parts of your immune system that fight infection and keep viruses under control start to lose steam. You may get sick or develop a cold sore.
  • BRAIN
    • The anguish experienced during a spilt activates the same part of the brain that is stimulated during addiction.
    • Brain scan of the broken hearted found similarities between romantic rejection and cocaine craving.
    • We also go through a similar bereavement process during a break up as when someone has died.
    • This is typically shock, denial, grief, anger, blame, self-blame,helplessness,fear of the future,depression and the acceptance.
  • EYES
    • Emotional tears are more watery and less salty than everyday tears. This means they cause water to move into the saltier tissues around the eyes by osmosis, making them swell up and look puffy.
  • HEART ATTACK
    • Cardiologist say it is not uncommon to see people dying of the heart attack within the first fortnight after a break-up with raised adrenaline levels the body goes into fight or flight mode and the stress can cause sudden heart attack and death.
  • CHEST PAIN
  • Intense emotional pain can activate the same networks of nerves as physical pain so being rejected or grieving over a lost love can actually really hurt and feel a bit like being punched.
  • STOMACH
    • Stress causes weight gain, especially around the middle.
    • It also causes the body to crave sugar and fat, which leads to mindless eating.
    • Your stressed-out nervous system signals your digestion to slow down.
    • You may also suffer with zero appetite.
  • SKIN
    • Stress and depression is linked with a deterioration of psoriasis, eczema, alopecia and even acne.
  • HAIR
    • Some of the hair follicles on your head could enter a state called “Telogen Effluvium”.
    • That’s medspeak for “resting phase,” in which your strands stop growing or, after a while, start falling out.
  • LEGS

People who have gone through a divorce are more likely to suffer from mobility issue such as difficulty climbing stairs or walking short distance stress from a breakup can also cause muscle spasm and tightness

HOW TO IMPROVE KIDNEY FUNCTIONS

The Water Hydration Technique

  1. The kidney keeps the fluid level balanced. This is the most important function of kidney.
  2. The kidneys need to balance out a large amount of water into the blood stream at once when you dump a large amount of water into the blood stream.
  3. By drinking slowly, a mouthful at a time, you reduce the pressure on the kidneys and increase hydration.

Continue reading

HOW HIGH CHOLESTEROL AFFECTS THE BODY

HOW HIGH CHOLESTEROL AFFECTS THE BODYHigh Blood Cholesterol:

Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) made by your body and found in some foods.
Every cell in your body contains cholesterol.
Too much cholesterol in the bloodcan be serious.
A certain type of increase cholesterol level in your blood can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Continue reading

How Does Obesity Cause Heart Disease

Heart disease has alerted more people nowadays than the way it does before. Nonetheless, this cannot be address by starting with the heart itself but on how you care for your body and your health. This way, you can reduce the risk of heart disease and minimize the hazards to your health. One of the problems that may increase your risk to heart disease is weight gain. Continue reading