Aug 24, 2009
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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.

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