Sep 23, 2010
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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.

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