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Types of diseases caused by viruses

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

Viruses can be present in water, soil, and living organisms such as humans, animals, and plants. These microscopic infectious agents invade the body's normal cells and use them to make multiple copies. Generally, your body's immune system wards them off, and you may not experience any sickness. But sometimes, the viruses can make you sick and can even attack cells in your body. It is vital to know about different diseases caused by viruses so that you can take timely action. This article highlights the different viral infections, their treatments, and prevention methods.




What are viral diseases?

Viral diseases are infections caused by different viruses, which are contagious. Sometimes, such diseases can be fatal, whereas, at other times, the symptoms vanish on their own. It is imperative to note that viruses can spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, bugs, respiratory droplets, contaminated food, and water. Further, there are different types of viruses that manifest various diseases. Therefore, treatment differs according to the viral disease. 

Types of viral disorders

Here's the rundown of some of the common diseases caused by viruses.

1. Respiratory diseases

These are common viral diseases that occur in the upper or lower respiratory tract. Such diseases are highly communicable and transmitted through droplets produced by sneezing or coughing.  

Signs: Fever, runny/stuffy nose, sneeze, cough, muscle and body pain.

Examples of diseases: Common cold, flu, adenoVirus infection, SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome, human respiratory syncytial Virus infection, and human parainfluenza Virus infection.

2. Neurologic diseases

These viral diseases affect the brain and spinal cord and can cause severe mental health problems. Such neurologic diseases are transmitted through the bite of an infected bug or animal.

Signs: Seizures, confusion, coordination problems, dizziness, and fever.

Examples: Rabies, meningitis, polio, and encephalitis. 

3. Gastrointestinal diseases

These viral diseases are also known as gastroenteritis and stomach flu, and they occur inside the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. These diseases are communicable and transmitted through contaminated food or water. Also, they can spread by sharing items or utensils with the individual who has a viral infection.  

Signs: Diarrhoea, stomach ache, vomiting, and dehydration.

Examples of viruses: AdenoVirus infections, noroVirus infections, astroVirus infections, and rotaVirus infections.

4. Hemorrhagic diseases

These diseases occur as a result of a damaged cardiovascular system. Some of these fevers are mild, whereas others can be severe and can affect several organs of the body. Such diseases are transmitted through the bite of an infected insect. Also, one can catch this virus after coming in contact with an infected person's bodily fluid or blood.

Signs: Fatigue, high fever, body pain, bleeding in internal organs, bleeding from the ear, mouth, or under the skin, and headache.

Examples of illness: Dengue, Marburg hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, and yellow fever.

5. Hepatic diseases

These viral diseases, also known as viral hepatitis, cause inflammation and liver damage. Such diseases spread through bodily fluids, sexual contact, and by using objects that come in contact with blood, like razors, needles, etc. Also, viral hepatitis can spread through contaminated water or unwashed food. High intake of alcohol and some medications can also cause these diseases. 

Signs: Vomiting, fever, joint pain, fatigue, stomach ache, and jaundice.

Examples of viral hepatitis: Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.

6. Cutaneous diseases

This type of viral disease causes lesions or papules on the skin, which may not go easily or come back after disappearing for some time. These diseases are contagious and can be transmitted by coming in physical contact with the individual or touching the objects touched by the one who has this skin condition. 

Signs: Skin rash, redness or red spots on the skin, lesions, and blisters.

Examples of such viral diseases: Molluscum contagiosum or water warts, verruca vulgaris, chickenpox, oral and genital herpes, warts, and measles.  

How to treat and prevent viral infections

There’s no specific treatment for viral infections. However, the following ways can help treat diseases caused by the virus.

1. Treatment for respiratory viruses

These diseases usually resolve on their own. A doctor may recommend medications for cough, pain, and cold. Those with signs of flu may be advised to take an antiviral drug. 

Prevention tips

  • Wash your hands frequently

  • Limit your interactions with individuals who are coughing, sneezing, or otherwise exhibiting viral symptoms

  • Get vaccinated to lessen the chances of getting seasonal flu 

2. Treatment for neurologic viruses

There is no particular treatment for such viruses. However, infected individuals should take complete rest, increase water intake and consume over-the-counter medications for pain.

Prevention tips

  • Avoid close contact with the sick

  • Keep wild animals away from your pets

  • Get your pets vaccinated 

3. Treatment for gastrointestinal viruses

These diseases go away on their own within 1 to 2 days. Individuals must increase the intake of fluids to restore the loss. 

Prevention tips

  • Do not share personal items 

  • Wash your hands often 

  • Clean the contaminated areas

  • For children, it is recommended to get a vaccine for rotavirus

4. Treatment for hemorrhagic viruses

A doctor may suggest intravenous (IV) fluids to keep the right balance of electrolytes. Also, antiviral drugs may be recommended according to the individual’s case. Staying hydrated is a must for those suffering from hemorrhagic viral diseases.

Prevention tips

  • Use insect repellent or wear protective clothing 

  • Take steps to keep rodents away from your place, such as sealing all cracks, openings, and holes in your house, setting traps inside your home, etc.

5. Treatment for hepatitis 

Doctors advise individuals with hepatitis A and E to increase fluid intake, take complete bed rest and refrain from consuming alcohol. Signs of hepatitis B, C, and D can be managed with different medications. 

Prevention tips

  • Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B

  • Do not share razors 

  • Engage in safe sex

6. Treatment for cutaneous viruses

Herpes can’t be cured. However, antiviral medications can help lessen the condition. 

Warts naturally disappear. Also, a doctor can remove them with simple procedures.   

Prevention tips

  • Maintain good hygiene 

  • Do not share your personal items 

  • Avoid or limit contact with individuals who have lesions

The crux

By now, you know there is no specific cure for most viruses. However, having a strong immune system can help fight viral diseases. 

Following are some of the ways to boost your immunity.

  • Consuming a well-balanced, nutritious diet

  • Taking proper rest

  • Drinking an adequate amount of water

Apart from these, you must get vaccinated and take medications suggested by the doctor when needed.

Frequently asked questions

Listed below are some common questions and their answers related to viral diseases.

What are the common symptoms of a viral infection?

Some common signs of viral infection are fever, runny nose, body ache, cough, nasal congestion, and sore throat.

How long does it take to get over a virus?

Healthy individuals typically recover from fever and other symptoms in about five days. Some may still feel weak or have a cough or cold for more days. One must see a doctor if all signs do not subside within 1 to 2 weeks.

What is the best medicine for a viral infection?

Antiviral medicines can help ease symptoms and ward off the infection.

What are the symptoms of chronic virus infections?

Some commonly seen signs of chronic Virus infections include skin rashes, recurrent fevers, chronic lung infections, fatigue, frequent sore throat, and hives.

What is the difference between antivirals and antibiotics?

Antivirals are effective against some viral diseases. These drugs guard you against viral infections or spreading the disease to others. Antibiotics kill bacteria and are used to treat different types of bacterial infections. Such meds are not at all effective in treating viral diseases.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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