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Viral Infections

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Summary

Viruses are very tiny germs. They are made of genetic material inside of a protein coating. Viruses cause familiar infectious diseases such as the common cold, flu and warts. They also cause severe illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, smallpox, and Ebola.

Viruses are like hijackers. They invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. This can kill, damage, or change the cells and make you sick. Different viruses attack certain cells in your body such as your liver, respiratory system, or blood.

When you get a virus, you may not always get sick from it. Your immune system may be able to fight it off.

For most viral infections, treatments can only help with symptoms while you wait for your immune system to fight off the virus. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. There are antiviral medicines to treat some viral infections. Vaccines can help prevent you from getting many viral diseases.

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  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Prevention and Risk Factors

Specifics

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Croup: FreeFacebookCredits2012 Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • (American Thoracic Society) - PDF

Images

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  • (Logical Images)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

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  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Logical Images)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
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  • (Logical Images)

Patient Handouts

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