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Sep 23, 2010

Viral Infection Rash

Viruses are the cause of many ailments to the human body.  In fact, one of the symptoms that are common with a wide range of viruses is a viral infection rash.  A rash caused by a virus can do minimal damage to the skin or if a body’s immune system is weak can wreak havoc.  Here are just some of the more common types of viral rashes and skin lesions.


Warts are quite common in humans.  Many are unaware that a wart is caused by a virus.  In fact, there are several types of viruses that cause warts, some being benign, while others being severe.  For instance, genital warts can be quite severe causing warts to grow throughout the genital region.

Viral Infection Rash rash

Pox Marks

Another type of skin lesion caused by a virus is a pox mark.  There are several types of viruses known for causing pox marks, however the most common is the Chicken Pox.  A pox is a small skin lesion that is a small open sore.  In children, this virus is usually mild to moderate, however pox marks can be serious in adults that contract this virus.

General Rash

Many common viruses such as the common cold and influenza can cause mild to moderate rashes on the skin.  The skin is not only a body’s defense against the environment, but also an organ- just like the liver and kidneys.  Viruses can affect this organ causing an infection of the skin cells that can be exhibited on the exterior of one’s skin.

Generally speaking, most rashes appear when the host body is infected with the virus and disappear once the body has rid itself of the virus and has been able to repair the skin.  However, some viruses may lye dormant in the body and re-infect the host (cold sores, herpes, etc).

Sep 23, 2010

Viral Infection Vs Bacterial Infection

While many think of having a viral infection or an infection from bacteria as being closely associated, they are in many ways very different.  In fact, by understanding that these two categories of infections are different, doctors and health personal are able to educate the population at large to deal with each type of infection correctly, but avoiding types of health treatment that can actually do harm to the public at large.

What is Bacteria?

Bacteria are small, microscopic organisms that are able to live off a host organism.  Humans are ideal hosts for many types of bacteria.  In fact, while there are many types of bacteria that are capable of doing us harm, we also have a symbiotic relationship with several types of bacteria that are actually helpful to our day to day functioning.  For instance, in our stomachs and intestines, there are several types of bacteria that help us break down food so that we can be well nourished.  However, when focusing on a bacteria infection, it should be noted that bacteria which infect a human body are those types of organisms that colonize within or on the surface of our body’s (skin) and cause detriment to our bodies functioning.  For instance, those with a bad scrape can find that bacteria are easily able to colonize this open soar and infect this scraped area.

Viral Infection Vs Bacterial Infection virus bacteria

What is a Virus?

Viruses are different from bacteria.  They are not organisms, in fact most are simply genetic material that requires a host cell to reproduce.  For the many viruses that infect our bodies, a virus uses our own cells, hijacking these cells to reproduce itself.

Bacteria Usually Infect a Localized Area

Infections that are caused by bacteria are usually localized.  For instance, when you scrape yourself, bacteria usually colonize the skin that has been damaged.  A virus is different.  A virus is systemic; it usually infects the entire body.  Viruses are very small, usually 100 times or smaller than a standard bacterium, they can be breathed in by the thousands or more into a body and once in the body circulate easily throughout.  This is why those infected with a viral infection usually have symptoms not in one area, but throughout the entire body.

Antibiotics Only Work on Bacterial Infections

One of the most important things to remember regarding the differences between a viral infection and a bacterial infection is that antibiotics only work on bacteria.  If you have a common cold or influenza, antibiotics will not assist in killing the virus or shortening its length of infection.  In fact, prescribing antibiotics to the mass public for fighting the flu can actually due harm to the human population, because it strengthens current bacteria strains making them more resistant to antibacterial drugs.  This why, antibiotic drugs that were prescribed 30 or even 20 years ago are no longer effective against today’s strains of bacteria.

Sep 23, 2010

Types of Viral Infections

Viruses are sometimes considered to be closely related to bacteria in how they affect a person’s body, however viruses are actually quite different in structure and how they infect a person.  Here are some of the common types of viral infections.

While there are numerous viruses, only a select few have the capability to do minimal, moderate and serious damage to our bodies.  Viruses can range from totally benign viruses that affect flora or other species of mammals to viruses that cause minimal discomfort such as the common wart, to those viruses that can affect one’s health such as the common cold and influenza.  Other viruses can be extremely serious to one’s health including the contraction of HIV, Hepatitis C and Ebola.

Viral Infections that Affect the Skin

Many people have been infected by a virus and might not even know it.  Warts are actually caused by a virus.  While most warts are extremely small and may be even unnoticeable, there are other types of warts that are more noticeable and severe in their infection- specifically genital warts.

Types of Viral Infections Blood Blisters

Other types of viral infections that have an affect on the skin are pox-type viruses including the famous Chicken Pox virus.  Many parents are quite aware of Chicken Pox as they usually infect infants and toddlers.  While these viruses obviously affect the human body replicating within the body causing symptoms such as a high fever, other symptoms of infection include pox marks or very small open sores that are similar to pimples caused by this virus.

Cold and Influenza Type Infections

For viruses that are spread through the air including the common cold and influenza, symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fever, aches, pains, reduced energy and other symptoms are common.  The reason being is that viruses are not a fully functional organism; they require a host cell to usually reproduce.  In the case of the common cold and influenza, the virus is contagious and easily spread through breathing it into the lungs or through other orifices such as the nose, eyes, etc.  As the virus starts to reproduce within the human body, the body’s natural defenses takes note and starts to counter this invasion.  The body has a highly efficient immune system which counters the virus- which are made with complex proteins using white blood cells that can be described as soldiers.  They fight the virus destroying them.  The human body then removes this dead virus material along with dead white blood cells from the body in the form of mucus.  So when you sneeze, blow your nose or cough up phlegm, you are ridding yourself of viral material.

There are other types of viral infections such as HIV, Hepatitis C, etc that usually are not eradicated completely in the body.  In fact, these types of viral infections are usually extremely damaging to the body as they destroy the body’s ability to defend itself naturally.  This is why when a person contracts HIV or Hepatitis C, doctors usually prescribe anti viral drugs to help bolster the human body’s natural defense mechanisms.  While today’s drugs can usually help protect a human, over time, a weakened immune system can cause important organs such as kidneys, liver, etc to fail or work at a reduced capacity.  In addition, these types of viral infections are usually not in themselves killers, but can reduce a body’s immune system to the point where bacteria or other viruses can gain an upper hand and eventually cause a host’s demise such as pneumonia which is a common killer of those that have HIV.

Aug 24, 2009

Common Viral Infections

Humans are constantly coming into contact with all types of viruses. In fact, today, you will find that there are plenty of viruses that can affect humans. And while most of these viruses usually do minimal to moderate damage, others can stricken us severely.

Here are just a few of the common viral infections we may come into contact on a regular basis:

The Common Cold

The common cold is a virus. Each year, practically everyone catches a cold, whether it is a cough, sneezing, runny nose, it is a good chance that it is due to the virus that causes Acute viral rhinopharyngitis.

Common Viral Infections Women Cold


Each year hundreds of millions of people catch the flu. The flu is usually a different strain each year and can evolve from the previous year’s strain or be a new strain that has jumped from an animal that we closely associate with such as chickens or pigs.

Chicken Pox

For a majority of children, one of the viruses that is extremely common is Chicken Pox. The virus is called varicella zoster virus. This virus normally affects children and can cause a skin rash with small open sores called pox marks. While pretty benign in children, for adults that contract the Chicken Pox, this virus can be severe.


Most people do not know that warts are a virus that affects the skin. Many times people with immuno deficiencies are apt to warts, however, healthy people will usually get a wart or two in their lifetime. In addition to the common skin wart, genital warts is a sexually transmitted virus affecting the sexual organs of a man or woman.

Common Sexual Viruses

Besides genital warts, other types of viruses that are transmitted sexually (through exchange of body fluids when two people are having sex) are Herpes and HIV.


More commonly referred to as mono, this virus may be transmitted from one individual to another. However, many are born with this virus present in their system and when a person has low immunity, this virus may flare up.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are another type of common virus called Penciclovir. While it is not associated with side effects common with the flu, it can cause sores around the mouth that are unattractive.

Aug 24, 2009

Viral Infection Treatment

There are many types of viruses that can infect a human, and while each virus affects a human differently, there are a variety of effective treatments available. This article will focus on common viruses that are known to be highly contagious including the common cold and influenza. It should be noted that while there are many viral infection treatments available for these viruses, generally speaking, even without treatment, these viruses may pose a minimal to moderate risk for average healthy adults.

Our Body’s Natural Defense Against Viruses

Before we talk about pharmaceutical viral infection treatments, we should note that viruses are made from complex proteins and our bodies have evolved natural defenses of these proteins throughout our evolution.

Viral Infection Treatment viral infections rubella

 In fact, when we are a fetus, our mother passes down this information to us- so we are born usually with a strong enough immune system to counter a large variety of common viruses. It should also be noted that breast milk also includes important anti bodies to fight both bacteria and viruses. While our bodies have natural defenses for many viruses, if we don’t have them, we can get them in to ways. The first way is through vaccination, receiving dead virus material which will help our body come up with a natural defense against it. The second way is that when we become infected with a live virus, our body has the ability to create defenses to kill it, while it may take a few days, usually our bodies are efficient enough to create a defense before a virus can do real harm to us.

General Treatment for a Viral Infection

If you have been infected with a common virus such as the common cold or influenza, generally treatment consists of:

Influenza Vaccination – One of the best preventive measures one can take to protect against being affected by influenza is to be vaccinated. A vaccination shot is actually dead material of the current influenza strain. This alerts your immune system and while the dead virus doesn’t have a way to infect your body, your body’s immune system will work hard to come up with ways to destroy this strain of virus, so if you come into contact with a live strain, your body is prepared.

Plenty of Rest – As your body fights the virus, it needs to conserve energy. Most people will already feel low in energy- your body’s way of conserving energy as it fights the virus.

Viral Infection Treatment discovery tubes

Drink Plenty of Liquids - Your body may have risen its temperature- as a defense against viruses and bacteria in your body and may be fighting hard to kill the virus, two tasks that take up the body’s energy and fluids. In order to help your body fight the virus, drink plenty of fluids, such as hot tea, water, a decent amount of juice (which has vitamin C and other vitamins), etc.

Take Over the Counter Medications to Lower Fever – If you are experiencing a fever, you may want to consult with a doctor and ask if it could be helpful to use over the counter medications to lower your fever. Generally speaking, a high fever should be treated even if you are fighting a virus.

Lozenges - If you are experiencing a sore throat or cough, a lozenge or sucking candy can be helpful in coating the throat so that your throat no longer feels abrasive or burns when you cough or swallow.

An Important Note About Antibiotics

Viruses do not respond to antibiotics. It is very important to note that if you have the flu, antibiotics will not be helpful in killing a virus, antibiotics only work on bacteria. The reason this aspect of treating a virus is important is that as more and more people take antibiotics, it actually causes the bacteria it normally fights to become resistant and stronger. This is why the antibiotics of decades ago are no longer effective against today’s bacteria. Slowing down usage of antibiotics can have the affect of slowing down a bacteria’s resistance to it.

Antiviral Drugs – There are new antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu which can be helpful in lessening the severity of a virus. These types of drugs are usually prescribed to those with weakened immune systems- the sick, elderly and children.

Aug 24, 2009

Viral Infection Symptoms

Viruses are quite common and affect practically every living human. While there are numerous viruses, only a select few can do real damage to a human being. Not only is each virus different, but the way that each virus affect each human is different as well. Here is some general information on viruses and the symptoms they may show when they infect a person.

As stated above there are numerous viruses and while some spread through the air and by a person inhaling them through their lungs or a virus finding its way through an orifice, others require body fluid contact to spread (ex. HIV spreads effectively from blood to blood contact). It should also be noted that a virus is sometimes compared with bacteria, however these are two very different things. A virus is not a self sustaining living organism that feeds off a host like bacteria. A virus is basically genetic information that finds a host’s cells and hijacks these cells for the purpose of reproducing. This is why, where a bacterial infection may be localized, viruses are generally systemic- affecting an entire body.

Viral Infection Symptoms Woman Sneezing

For this article’s purposes, we will focus on viral infection symptoms of the most common types of viruses, cold and flu viruses. These viruses generally only affect a person minimally to moderately, unless the host body does not have the proper defenses to protect itself yet (a baby) or has diminished capability of protecting itself (such as the old and ill).

In general, the viral infection symptoms that a person is experiencing are not those being caused by the virus itself, instead the viral infection symptoms is your body’s response to trying to eradicate it. This is why for most humans, some of the biggest viral infection symptoms are: coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, body temperature, swollen lymph glands, loss of energy, flushed face, etc. Your body is designed to fight viruses and bacteria. For the wide variety of viruses that affect our body including the common cold and the flu, our body creates antibodies which can be descriptively described as soldiers that find foreign material in the body such as a virus and latch on to it to destroy them.

When our body is attacked by bacteria and viruses, it is able to defend itself in numerous ways. This is why for most humans, the first alert to being stricken with a virus is not the results of damage done by the virus, but by our own immune system fighting back and killing off the virus.

Fever - The body raises the temperature a few degrees from 98.6 F to 100, 101, 102 or more to kill off a virus.

Runny Nose – A person may exhibit a runny nose when he or she has a cold or the flu. The reason being is that a runny nose is made up of white blood cells, an immune system reaction to not only carrying materials that can kill a virus, but also removing dead materials of the virus and the body’s immune system outside of its body.

Cough and Sneezing – Again, the material that is coughed up or sneezed is usually the dead virus along with materials that are currently fighting the virus.

Swollen Lymph Glands – The body produces antibodies- material that helps to kill a virus in the lymph glands. When the lymph glands are working hard they are swollen. Lymph glands are found under the arm, back of the neck and below the chin.

Aches, Pains and Loss of Energy – Obviously, as your body works hard on killing a virus it diverts energy away from other activities. This is why we exhibit a loss of energy and become dehydrated quickly. The body’s loss of water can be one of the factors of aches and pains throughout the body.

It is important to remember that viruses are not only different, but affect each person differently, so if you come down with the common cold or the flu, the symptoms you will exhibit will vary.

Aug 19, 2009

Causes of Viral Infections

With the media focusing constantly on the Swine Flu epidemic, more and more people are becoming interested and concerned about contracting this and other types of viruses. Viral infections are not new to the human body. In fact, since the dawn of man, we have been susceptible to both viruses and bacterial infections. With today’s medical innovations, we are able to counter a wide variety of viruses that have decimated humans in the past, however from time to time, a new virus is introduced to humans and can have a devastating effect on the many that it infects.

What is a Virus?

Unlike bacteria which are a living organisms, a virus is something different. In fact, a virus are made up of simple genes that instead of having their own cell and other aspects of life, are usually found to have information which can help them hijack a living cell and use that cell to reproduce itself and spread. This fact is why antibiotics which are effective in killing most bacteria do not affect viruses.

Causes of Viral Infections causes of viral infections

How Does a Virus Become Introduced in the Human Population?

The origins of most viruses are unknown; however there is evidence to suggest that many viruses that have a detrimental affect on humans have been transmitted throughout millennia from animals that we closely associate with. For instance, chickens have transmitted quite a few types of viruses to humans, one of them being SARS. Another animal that is also associated with spreading viruses to humans is the pig. Recently, it has been suggested that the pig transmitted swine flu to humans, however this has not been verified as of yet.

So, one of the ways that a virus is introduced to humans is through animals that have similar biology to us and that we are in close proximity with. It should also be noted that newly introduced viruses can in some cases be the ones that are most detrimental to humans due to the fact that our body does not have a defense for it.

Defending Ourselves from Viruses

When a human is a developing fetus, the mother is able to transfer information to the child’s immune system on how to defend itself from viruses. Viruses are made mostly from proteins, so our body has created a natural defense, anti bodies that are able to lock onto certain virus proteins and destroy them. The information that tells the immune system how to attack specific viruses is usually shared from the mother to child. In addition, when we are young, most children are immunized with a vaccination. A vaccination is usually slightly altered (dead) viruses that do not pose a threat to a human body. However, when this foreign “dead” virus is introduced into the human body, our bodies think they are a threat and immediately come up with defenses to kill it. Therefore, if we do come into contact with a “live” virus of the same variety such as the measles, mumps, etc, we are able to destroy it before it poses a serious threat to our health.

Causes of Viral Infections herpes

The Causes of Viral Infections

For some viruses, our bodies do not have a natural defense for. In these cases, our body must fight the virus and quickly develop a natural defense before it does serious damage to our body. The Flu is one of the viruses that most do not have a natural defense for. The reason being is the flu usually mutates slightly each and every year. However, due to our medical innovations over the last century, we are able to come up with a vaccine each and every year to fight this year’s specific virus.

Ways in Which a Virus Spreads

There are many, many viruses that can have an effect on the human body. While humans come into contact with many viruses each and everyday, most do not affect us. In fact, we may be transmitting many harmless viruses each and everyday at work, home and in the community. There are generally a few major ways in which a virus can be transmitted, through inhalation of the mouth and nose, through an orifice such as eyes, sexual organs or an open sore and through the sharing of blood or other body fluids (ex. a drug user sharing a hypodermic needle).

For instance, the common Flu is usually transmitted by the virus entering the mouth or nose of the individual. Generally, a person may come into contact with the virus, whether breathing air that is contaminated with the virus, touching an object such as a door knob with the virus and then touching their eyes or nose allowing the virus easier access, etc. Generally speaking, most viruses that are easily passed on from one to another are categorized as highly contagious. The Flu is one of the most contagious viruses around due to the ease at which it is transmitted.

Protecting Yourself from Viruses

It should be noted that for the vast majority of viruses, the body is able to easily cope and defend against itself from them. One of the best strategies for protecting yourself from viruses is to stay as healthy as possible, eat a good diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals that strengthen your immune system. In addition, some common sense approaches to protecting yourself from viruses include, washing your hands often with soap, especially after you have been outside and before you eat. You should also cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Another person with a virus can contain it by sometimes simply protecting those around them by covering their mouth and nose. Also it is wise to monitor your health. If you believe you have a virus, avoid contact with as many people as possible. For instance, stay home from school or work, which can help to slow the spread of the virus.

Finally, for those looking to protect themselves from a virus, you may want to wear protective clothing like a face mask. However, this is usually an extreme measure or a measure that is necessary when you are at high risk for acquiring or giving another person a virus- not just a moderately harmful virus such as the flu, but a dangerous virus. Generally speaking the Flu, which now includes the Swine Flu that has been introduced this year should not be that much more dangerous than the flu viruses of past years. As always, those with weakened immunity systems, children and older individuals should get vaccinated and take preventive measures, since they are the highest risk of not only acquiring these types of viruses, but suffering the worst from them.

Aug 19, 2009

Is A Viral Infection Contagious?

For those that would like to understand more about viral infections, one component of viruses is how contagious they are to humans. The aspect of being contagious is how easy it is for a virus to spread. All viruses are not the same and many viruses spread easier than others and their method of transmission is different than others. In addition, other aspects such as how easy a virus can reproduce, the time it takes to reproduce and other factors all come into play when considering if a viral infection is contagious.

Is A Viral Infection Contagious? Viral Replication

One of the biggest aspects of determining whether a viral infection is contagious is whether or not our bodies have the necessary resources to fight a virus effectively- so many times we never notice any detrimental affects. There are many viruses that our bodies come into contact each and everyday, many usually have no lasting effect on our body’s defenses and they are unable to reproduce or cause harm to our bodies. Other viruses are able to reproduce quickly and can have minor to slightly moderate affects on our body, such as the common cold. Some may catch a cold and have an occasional sneeze or runny nose, others might have a slight fever and aches and pains. Finally, there are other viruses that can completely decimate the body, eventually killing it- for instance AIDS.

Is A Viral Infection Contagious? Viral Infection Illustration

For the many viruses that are spread throughout the human species, the major way a human comes into contact with a virus is usually through inhalation or the many other orifices in the body such as the eyes, nose, sex organs and anus. This is why when we catch a flu virus, our body responds by fighting off the virus with antibodies that are discharged out of our nose and mouth. In addition, we raise the temperature of our body to help fight off both bacteria and viruses in the hopes that the higher temperature will slow down reproduction or kill the infecting agent.

In addition, while many viruses are contagious through air born contact, others require blood to blood transmission- AIDS is one type of virus that is not transmitted through the air, but instead through sexual contact or blood to blood transfer (a drug user sharing a hypodermic needle). So, all viruses are contagious, this is a necessary part of how a virus species survives. However, for the overwhelming majority of viruses, our bodies are able to defend against these agents and they do little if any harm to us.

Aug 19, 2009

What is a Viral Infection?

With this year’s Swine Flu epidemic, many are trying to educate themselves on what exactly is a viral infection, how a person can reduce the risk of acquiring one and how to treat a loved one or oneself that is mildly stricken by one. Viruses are not new and have affected our bodies since the very beginning of our species, however as humans evolve so do viruses. Here is some information regarding a viral infection.

What is an Infection?

An infection is usually defined as when another species or organism colonizes a host organism. For instance, the world is not only full of mammals, but of very small, microscopic organisms that feed off of humans. Generally speaking, it is not simply one organism feeding off of a species such as humans, but it could be thousands, millions or more. In effect, these small organisms or species such as a virus (which will be explained below) begin to colonize a host organism and as it feeds off this host, it could lead to the detriment of the host causing it to not function properly or die.

What is a Viral Infection? hiv virus

For instance, if a person has an open wound and comes into contact with bacteria, this bacteria may find it easy to feed off of the host due to the break in the skin and start to procreate. From maybe several hundred bacteria, over the course of a few days, the bacteria can exponentially grow into millions having an adverse affect on the host organism. Usually, when a human has an infection, it fights it with its natural defenses (specifically white blood cells), however if the bacteria are able to overpower the body’s natural defenses, the host itself can become in jeopardy. In the case of a person being unable to stop an infection, the infection can spread to body’s organs and throughout the body, can cause gangrene, where an infected area will need to be removed or completely overload the host body’s defenses causing death.

What is a Virus?

While bacteria are usually microscopic organisms, a virus is different. A virus is not a fully functional organism. You may want to think of a virus as biological material that once inside a host’s cell, can cause the cell to mutate. For instance, the common cold is a virus and requires a host body to reproduce. It should be noted that antibiotics such as penicillin do not work on killing viruses. However, there are antiviral drugs that can help lessen the effectiveness of viruses. In a human’s body, there are specific defenses that fight a long range of viruses that have exposed our species over the millennia and even if a human is infected with a new virus, there is a very good chance that our bodies can create a defense against it.

A Viral Infection

A viral infection while similar in certain ways to a bacterial infection is usually slightly different. For instance, while a bacterial infection might be more inclined to colonize an open sore or other accessible area of the body and stay specifically at that area for a length of time, viral infections are more systemic, meaning they usually propagate throughout the body. This is why when you have the flu; you not only have aches in your shoulders, but also in your legs and maybe a runny nose, cough, etc- the virus attack all areas of your body.