There is nothing worse than catching an illness from those around you. You didn’t ask for it…you don’t want it, so how did this happen? Everything from the common cold to the flu to the current scourge in our country, Covid -19, these viral bastards can be transmitted from person to person all to varying degrees of severity. So how exactly do these contagions hop from person to person, but with different levels of severity? Often these are transmitted by fine particles that are sneezed or coughed into the air. We here at HPFY can give you a little insight into the science of how these viruses are transmitted.
If viruses are transmitted in the same basic manner, why do some types seem to be worse than others or more easily passed from one person to another? The level at which a virus is communicable is referred to as the infective dose. This is basically the amount of any pathogen that can cause infection in a susceptible person. In the case of influenza viruses, it can be as little as 10 particles while other viruses may require thousands in order to infect humans. Viruses insert themselves into host cell DNA in order to make more virus particles. Unfortunately, viruses such as the coronavirus are on the smaller end of the spectrum which explains the easy transmission and progression of Covid-19. The other virus characteristic that helps with spreading is the viral load. All this means is how well the virus is replicating itself in the infected person. Often the viral load can be contingent upon how much virus is in the body (in Covid-19 it’s the lungs), the immune system response, and the infected person’s overall health. This is why we hear about those with underlying health conditions being at a higher risk.
I’m sure you have heard the saying “oh it’s a virus, it has to run its course.” While most viruses do subscribe to this behavior, what do you do when the virus is more serious and medical intervention is necessary? Doctors will often prescribe an antiviral medication, such as Tamiflu, in the case of influenza if caught early enough. Depending upon your virus, some treatments can include:
As you can see, most of these treatments are for treating the symptoms. These can help keep lungs and airways open, as well as monitoring the oxygen in our red blood cells that benefit our bodies and overall health. In any case, any respiratory illness should be tackled earlier rather than later so that if medical intervention is necessary you can minimize the severity of any viral infection. Ibuprofen can help with any fevers. Helping our bodies lessen the effects of a viral dose can expedite recovery.
The viral dose can be a good indicator of how easily a virus can spread. Pair that with a viral load and you can get a pandemic much like the one we are facing now with the coronavirus. If you feel you might have been exposed to any pathogen or contagion you should contact your physician immediately and determine your best course of action. Take precautions to avoid any virus and act early for a faster recovery!!
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Hi there, my name is Kevin Cleary. I was born in Westchester County in 1966 on December 3. I lived there until 1973 when my family moved. I graduated from high school in 1984 and then attended college in New ...
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