All kinds of different viruses can cause a viral infection. One of the most common viral infections is the flu, otherwise known as influenza-virus. People hear the word infection and their mind automatically goes to a dark place. They think that infection means a scary disease that can lead to all kinds of crazy things, even death. Rest-assured, contracting a viral infection is not the end of the world. You may be wondering, is a viral infection contagious? Well the answer is not so simple. Depending on the type of infection, the length someone has had the infection and other contributing factors, viral infections can be contagious. Living cells become the main home for viruses because they require DNA or RNA material to reproduce. Depending on the type of virus, it will only affect certain parts of the body or cells. So, before your anxiety gets the best of you, read on to find out more about viral infections and the risk of them being contagious.
Symptoms Of Viral Infections
Most symptoms of viral infections will appear similar to one another because a viral infection is the main issue, not the body part or area of the infection. Some of the symptoms associated with most viral infections include:
- Sore throat
- General pain
If symptoms of any type of viral infection worsens or increase, do not hesitate to seek medical attention immediately.
Types of Viral Infections
The world is exposed with thousands of different viruses that it would almost impossible to know if each viral infection is contagious or not. Two of the most common type of viral infection that people have contracted at least once in their lifetime is the common cold and influenza. The cold virus is responsible for attacking healthy cells of the upper respiratory tract. Other well-known viral infections can attack the gastrointestinal system. The stomach flu or virus is always competing with the common flu to see which can cause more infections. A stomach virus happens when the intestine and stomach become inflamed. Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and fevers are symptoms commonly associated with this form of virus. Other viral infections include: Simple Herpes, Genital Herpes, HIV, AIDS, Meningitis, Pneumonia and Conjunctivitis.
Is A Viral Infection Contagious?
As previously mentioned, knowing if a viral infection is contagious or not can be difficult to determine. Each infection can spread differently than another. Contributing factors such as the reproduction of a virus, the ability to live outside the body and the method of transmission have an effect on whether a viral infection is contagious. There is no coincidence that most classrooms are empty after one child becomes infected with the chickenpox. The chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection that attacks the skin. The chickenpox virus is usually a one-time shot and does not appear again after a person has contracted and developed the pox.
The common cold and influenza can easily become contagious because of the ability to live outside of the body for an extended period of time. This viral infection becomes contagious once it is airborne via coughing, sneezing and mucus. The stomach “flu”, as it is often referred to, does not come from the influenza family, but is a virus. The stomach virus is highly contagious because it can easily be spread from person to person. Not washing your hands after holding a soiled diaper or wiping after a bowel movement (even if it wasn’t yours) can cause the stomach virus to linger on your hands and spread to others.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Blood tests, MRI’s, X-rays, and Cultures are among the top tests that doctors will do to find the cause and diagnosis a viral infection. Treating viral infections is easy, as long as the cause is known. For some cases, rest is the key ingredient for a speedy recovery, while others may require lotions or creams. Always check with a medical professional before you self-diagnosis yourself.
There are plenty of ways that you can reduce the risk of contracting a viral infection. Some of these prevention tips are:
- Eat properly balanced meals
- Do not share cutlery, bottles or cups with others
- Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Rest properly
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Seek medical attention as soon as you feel “off-balance”