Know about what causes ‘viral infections’ and how to prevent them

While we all love to get drenched in the first rains of the season and enjoy the lovely weather, we must also take due care to remain healthy and keep ourselves safe from the increased prevalence of viral infections these days

Pune: Temperature fluctuations behind rise in viral infections

The number of viruses and the infections they cause is truly increasing. They cause diseases ranging from the common cold, sore throat, skin infections, allergies, diarrhoea to dengue fever and meningitis.

What does ‘viral fever’ mean?

  • Diseases caused by viruses ranging from the common cold, flu spread quickly and widely among people when there is a seasonal change
  • When you get viral you may not fall sick, your immune system fights with it.
  • In lay terms ‘viral’ means disease-causing virus such as common cold, influenza. The virus kills and damages to cells in the body
  • They are contagious depending upon the incubation period and infectivity of the virus.
  • Antibiotics are not effective in treating them. Prevention is key.
  • The best way to ward off germs is by handwashing, maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness around your home

Viral fevers cause non-specific symptoms like low-grade fever along with chills, headache, severe body ache and eye pain, exhaustion with loss of appetite.

There are various ways for the spread of viruses which if given an extra thought can act as modes of prevention of these infections.

Inhalation: If the infected person coughs and sneezes near you without maintaining good hygiene, the droplets act as a source of contamination.

Ingestion of infected foods and drinks

Arthropod bites such as mosquitoes being a source of dengue fever

Body fluids such as blood for the spread of deadly viruses such as HBV or HIV

There are no specific drugs for the most dangerous human viruses. This is basically because viruses are fast-growing with ever-changing drug targets and another challenge is that the virus uses the human cells for replication, thus the drugs launch an immune attack on the body’s cells only.

In most cases, viral infections don’t have a specific treatment, just some precautions like antipyretic drugs and maintaining your hydration as they resolve on their own within a few days

A virus replicates only when inside the cell of a living being and spreads most efficiently when there is contact between two individuals.

India’s population is increasing with 33.6% of the population being urban. From the virus’s perspective, potential incubators are increasing along with people living in closer proximity which is conducive to the spread of virus.

As it’s rightly said “prevention is better than cure”, the best way to keep these infections at bay is to prevent them from gaining entry in the human population.

  • One must drink boiled or purified water.
  • Avoid eating at unhygienic places, have nutritious and fresh food.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief, preferably disposable tissues while coughing or sneezing.
  • Hand washing practices should be encouraged especially after coughing or sneezing and voiding.
  • In cases where handwashing can’t be practised e.g. while travelling, encourage the use of hand sanitizers.

Parents should take extra care of their kids as they are a vulnerable group. The kid’s hygiene must be maintained along with extra care of not sending the kids to school or play activities if they should symptoms.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to avoid self-medication and report to the nearest medical facility as early as possible.

Hope you all have a happy and healthy monsoon!

The author is an MBBS and MD DNB General Medicine