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How To Prevent Viral Infections?

How To Prevent Viral Infections?

Table of Contents

A viral infection is the multiplication of a harmful virus inside your body. Viruses cannot reproduce without the help of a host. Viruses infect the host by inserting their genetic material into cells and hijacking the cell’s internal machinery to produce more virus particles. 

With an active viral infection, a virus copies itself and ruptures (kills) the host cell to release the newly formed virus particles. In other cases, virus particles germinate from the host cell over time before killing the host cell. Either way, new virus particles are released to infect other cells. Symptoms of the viral disease occur due to cell damage, tissue destruction, and the associated immune response.

Some viruses—such as those that cause chickenpox and herpes—may remain inactive or “latent” after the initial infection. For example, you may have a cold sore that erupts and then heals. 

The herpes virus remains dormant in your cells. Later, a stimulus, such as stress, sunlight, or something else, may reactivate the virus and lead to new symptoms. The virus makes more copies of itself, releasing new virus particles and killing more host cells.

viral replication

What is a virus?

Viruses are tiny particles of genetic material (DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat. Some viruses also have a lipid coating. They cannot reproduce on their own. Viruses depend on the organisms they infect (the host) for survival. 

Viruses get a bad rap but perform many essential functions for humans, plants, animals, and the environment. For example, some viruses protect the host against other infections. Viruses also participate in the evolution process by transferring genes among different species. In biomedical research, scientists use viruses to introduce new genes into cells.

When most people hear the word “virus,” they think of pathogenic (disease-causing) viruses such as the common cold, influenza, chicken pox, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), SARS-CoV-2, etc. Viruses can affect many body areas, including the reproductive, respiratory, and digestive systems. They can also affect the liver, brain, and skin. Research shows that viruses also play a role in many cancers.

parts of viruses

Are viruses alive?

Microbiologists still disagree. Those who say viruses are alive offer these reasons:

  1. They copy themselves to regenerate.
  2. They get energy (from their host).

Reasons why some say viruses are not alive:

  1. They do not have any cells (just protein coats around the genetic material).
  2. They do not reproduce alone. They require host cells.

How long are viral infections contagious?

Contagiousness refers to the ability of a virus to spread from one person (or host) to another. Viral infections are contagious for different periods, depending on the virus.

 The incubation period refers to the time between exposure to the virus (or other pathogen) and the onset of symptoms. The contagious period of a virus is not necessarily the same as the standard period.

How To Prevent Viral Infections?

Is it a bacterial or viral infection?

Viruses and bacteria are two types of potentially pathogenic (disease-causing) particles. Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and cannot reproduce without the help of a host. 

Bacteria can reproduce on their own. Symptoms of viral and bacterial diseases are sometimes similar. A doctor can determine the root cause of a disease based on the patient’s symptoms and other factors. Laboratory tests help clarify whether an illness is due to a virus, bacteria, or other infectious agent or disease process.

Virus transmission

Viruses can be transmitted in different ways. Some viruses can spread through touch, saliva, or even air. Other viruses can be transmitted through sexual contact or shared contaminated needles. 

Insects, including ticks and mosquitoes, can act as “carriers” and transmit the virus from one host to another. Contaminated food and water are other potential sources of viral infection.

bacterial or viral causes of diseases

Respiratory viral infections

Respiratory viral infections affect the lungs, nose, and throat. These viruses are primarily spread through inhalation of droplets containing virus particles. Examples are:

  • Rhinovirus is the virus that most commonly causes the common cold, but over 200 different viruses can cause the common cold. Cold symptoms such as cough, sneezing, mild headache, and sore throat usually last up to 2 weeks.
  • Seasonal influenza is a disease that affects about 5 to 20 percent of the US population each year. Each year, more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized due to complications from the flu. Flu symptoms are more severe than cold and often include body aches and extreme fatigue. Flu also appears more suddenly than a cold.
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an infection that can cause both upper respiratory infections (such as the common cold) and lower respiratory infections (such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis). It can be very severe in infants, young children, and adults.
Bronchitis Contagious Spreads Faster Than Coronavirus!
  • SARS-COV-2 is a respiratory coronavirus that causes the infection of COVID-19. In 2020, COVID-19 caused a global pandemic, shutting down schools, businesses, and public life worldwide, infecting millions of people, and killing more than 1 million people worldwide and 210,000 in the United States. The first reports of this virus came from Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Its symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, and pneumonia.

Frequent hand washing, covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding contact with infected people can all reduce the spread of respiratory infections. Disinfecting hard surfaces and not touching the eyes, nose, and mouth can also help reduce transmission.

Wearing a mask when going out and staying away from groups of people indoors (social distancing – staying at least 6 feet away from others) may reduce the chance of contracting viral infections such as the flu and Covid-19.

Covid-19 viral infection

Viral skin infections

Viral skin infections can range from mild to severe and often cause a rash. Examples of viral skin infections include:

  • Molluscum contagiosum often causes small, flesh-colored bumps in children aged 1 to 10 years. However, people of any age can contract this virus. The bumps usually go away without treatment in 6 to 12 months.
  • Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a common virus that causes cold sores. It is spread through saliva by kissing or sharing food or drink with an infected person. Sometimes, HSV-1 causes genital herpes. It is estimated that 85% of people in the United States have HSV-1 by age 60.
  • Varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes itching, oozing blisters, fatigue, and a high fever characteristic of chicken pox. Chicken pox vaccine is 98% effective in preventing infection. People who have had chickenpox (or, in sporadic cases, people who have received the chickenpox vaccine) are at risk of developing shingles, a disease caused by the same virus. Shingles can occur at any age but is most common in people 60 or older.

 

The best way to prevent viral skin infections is to avoid skin-to-skin contact (especially areas that have rashes or sores) with an infected person. Some viral skin infections, such as varicella-zoster virus, are also transmitted through the air. Public showers, swimming pools, and contaminated towels can also potentially contain certain viruses.

secondary infection

Viral food poisoning

Viruses are one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Symptoms of these infections vary depending on the virus involved.

  • Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver from several weeks to several months. Symptoms may include yellowing of the skin, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Up to 15% of infected people experience recurrent disease within six months after infection.
  • Norovirus has been reported responsible for outbreaks of severe gastrointestinal illness on cruise ships, but it can cause illness in many situations and locations. About 20 million people in the United States get sick yearly from these highly contagious viruses.
  • Rotavirus causes severe, watery diarrhea that can lead to dehydration. Anyone can get rotavirus, but it is more common in babies and young children.
    Rotaviruses and noroviruses are responsible for many (but not all) cases of viral gastroenteritis, which causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. People may use the terms “stomach virus” or “stomach flu” to refer to viral gastroenteritis, which causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

It is unpleasant to think about, but foodborne viral illnesses are transmitted through fecal-oral routes. This means that a person gets the virus by eating virus particles that have been shed through the feces of an infected person. 

A person with this type of virus who does not wash his hands after using the toilet can transmit the virus to others by shaking hands, preparing food, or touching hard surfaces. Contaminated water is another potential source of infection.

How To Prevent Viral Infections?

Viral infections and sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted viral infections are spread through contact with body fluids. Some sexually transmitted infections can also be transmitted through blood (blood-borne).

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. There are different types of HPV. Some cause genital warts, while others increase the risk of cervical cancer. Vaccination can protect against cancer-causing strains of HPV.
Hepatitis B is a virus that causes inflammation in the liver. It is transmitted through infected blood and body fluids. Some people with the virus have no symptoms, while others feel like they have the flu. The Hepatitis B vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing infection.

sexually transmitted diseases

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2). Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), responsible for herpes, can also sometimes cause genital herpes. 

There is no cure for genital herpes. Painful sores often recur during outbreaks. Antiviral drugs can reduce the number and length of outbreaks.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that affects certain types of T cells of the immune system. The progression of the infection reduces the body’s ability to fight disease and infection, leading to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV is transmitted through contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.

People can reduce their risk of sexually transmitted infections by abstaining from sex or only having sex in a monogamous relationship with someone who does not have a sexually transmitted infection. Condom use reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections but does not eliminate them. 

Minimizing the number of sexual partners and avoiding intravenous drug use are other ways to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted and blood-borne viral infections.

Other viral infections include Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a type of herpes virus; West Nile virus (WNV), a virus that is mainly transmitted by infected mosquitoes; and viral meningitis, an inflammation of the inner lining of the brain and spinal cord that causes headaches, fever, neck stiffness, and other viral infections. Symptoms become.

.

Related: “What Is The Difference Between Intermittent, Remittent, And Relapsing Fever?

AIDS or Viral Infection

Antiviral drugs and other treatments

Many viral infections resolve on their own without treatment. In other cases, treatment for viral infections focuses on relieving symptoms, not fighting the virus. For example, cold medicine helps relieve the pain and congestion of a cold but does not directly affect the cold virus.
Some drugs directly affect viruses. These are called antiviral drugs.
Antiviral drugs are most effective when taken early during a primary viral infection or recurrent outbreak. Antiviral drugs may treat chickenpox, shingles, herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and the flu.

Prevention of viral diseases

Vaccines can reduce the risk of some viral diseases. Vaccines to help protect against influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chicken pox, herpes zoster (shingles), cancer-causing strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), polio, rabies, rotavirus, and other viruses

Vaccines vary in effectiveness and the number of doses required to provide protection. Some vaccines require booster shots to maintain immunity.

Conclusion

Viral infections occur due to contamination with viruses. Millions of viruses may exist, but researchers have identified only about 5,000 types.

Some viruses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), can cause cancer by forcing cells to multiply excessively. A virus can also target specific age groups, such as infants or young children.
Antiviral medications can help relieve the symptoms of some viruses. 

They can prevent the reproduction of the virus or strengthen the host’s immune system and neutralize the effects of the virus. 

Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses and do not stop the virus, and their use increases the risk of antibiotic resistance.

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Author and specialist

Dr. Majid Zahrabi,

Neurosurgeon

  • Board Certified Neurosurgeon
  • DHA certificate holder
  • Plantation certificate holder, France
  • Certified holder of Discogol, France
  • A pioneer in the non-surgical treatment of disc herniation in the Middle East and CIS countries.
  • Under the training and coaching of Professor Jacques Theron (founder of Discogel Therapy) since 2008
  • More than 400 successful cervical and 1300 lumbar discogel injections
  • Trained and certified several neurosurgeons and spine surgeons in the Middle East and CIS countries for the treatment of Discogel
  • Strong belief in patient-centered care planning and participation
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Imam Khomeini and Amir Mazandarani Hospital, Sari, Iran, with more than 430 surgeries annually, 2000-2011
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Farmaniyeh, Nikan and Yas Sepid Hospital, Tehran, Iran, with more than 400 surgeries annually, 2011-2012
  • Neurosurgeon at Iranian Hospital, Dubai, 2022-2023
  • Since 2015, he has been working as a reference doctor for the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with Discogel and has trained many doctors of spine-related specialties in various countries of the Middle East and CIS in person/practically and online.

.

Education:

  • Individual training sessions under the direct supervision of Professor Jacques Theron in Discogel treatment, 2008-2020
  • Training sessions under the supervision of Professor Thierry Boye on spinal implants, 2007
  • Participation and presentation in several national and international medical and neuro-spinal conferences
  • Board certificate by Iran Neurosurgery Board, 2001
  • Neurosurgery assistant training course, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, 1996-2001 (In 2001, he graduated from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences with the first rank in the country.
  • His thesis the titled:The Application of human amniotic membrane in repair of dura matter in dogs.” ( It was happening for the first time in the world. )
  • General medical education, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, 1984-1993

.

Published books:

  • CT scan of the brain for doctors
  • Etiology and treatment of painful spine disorders
  • Atlas of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of spine disorders
  • The most common mistakes in the treatment of spinal disorders
  • Reading brain CT scan in simple language (3rd place in the book of the year)
  • Treatment of head and spine injuries

Publications and articles:

  • Bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects of DISCOGEL® (https://www.researchgate.net/)
  • Muscle recovery, reduction of pain, and improvement of movement strategies in patients with lumbar discopathy after injection of Discogel.
  • The article on the initial results of the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection, which won the second-best poster rank at the Pan Arab International Congress of Interventional Radiology (March 14-16, 2015) and was accepted for presentation at the Chicago Pain Congress.
  • The use of human amniotic membrane in dura mater repair in dogs, a study for the first time in the world.

.

Lectures:

  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2019
  • Chicago International Pain Congress, 2019
  • Iran International Pain Management Congress, 2018
  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2018
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Armenia for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2017
  • First Live Workshop and Seminar on Minimally Invasive Disc Therapy (DISCON), 2017
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Azerbaijan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • Seminar of Iranian official managers, 2016
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Tajikistan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • International Neurological Intervention Congress in Iran, 2014
  • Educational seminar for nurses on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Educational seminar for general practitioners on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Speech at the Retraining Seminar for General Practitioners and Specialists in Dubai (Discon) in 2017
  • Speech in the internal retraining courses of Irani Hospital, Dubai
  • Holding lecture sessions and practical workshops on the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Oman, and Armenia during the years 2015 to 2021.
  • Giving a lecture and holding a practical workshop for neurosurgeons in Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh City University in 2023

Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.