Aug 24, 2009
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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.

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 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.

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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.

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