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What is it?
- Simply put, it is an illness caused by a virus.
- A virus is a very small organism that invades and takes over the cells in a suitable environment such as the respiratory system.
- As our cell dies from the take over, it spills new viruses into our system that then invade other cells. Each virus usually infects 1 specific type of cell.
Difference between a virus and bacteria
|Once they are in your body, they invade the cells and reproduce. This provides more viruses to invade more cells.||Once they are in your body they produce toxins that can damage the cells they have invaded|
|Not all viruses are contagious.||Not all bacteria are contagious.|
|Antibiotics don’t work. Some can be treated with antiviral medication. But this is specific for each virus and most do not have medicines that will work.||Can be treated with antibiotics.|
Signs and Symptoms
- Symptoms can vary depending on what that particular virus is attracted to. Generally,
symptoms of “viral illness” refer to
- Fever, can be up to 101°
- Body aches
- Not all symptoms are always present.
- There may be other symptoms.
- Some viruses may have more severe symptoms than others.
- Most common viral illnesses are diagnosed by symptoms.
- Diagnosis is sometimes based on what is being seen in the community such as “flu” during flu season.
- There is no “cure”. Treatment is aimed at alleviating symptoms.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink extra fluids. You can get dehydrated quickly if you have a fever and don’t drink enough fluids.
- Since symptoms may vary, the treatment may vary between episodes and between people.
- Most of the time, over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol or Advil, cough syrup, and decongestants, etc. are appropriate.
When to seek medical care
- If you have an underlying medical problem such as asthma, diabetes or other conditions that weaken your immune system.
- If you are not improving in 2 – 3 days.
- If you are not able to get fluids down.
- If your fever goes above 102°