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Treatments for Viral diseases

Treatments for Viral diseases:

The first step in treating viral infection is preventing its occurrence and spread. Vaccines are available to prevent some common viral infections, such as chickenpox, shingles, influenza, HPV, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, measles and mumps.

Prevention of the spread of harmful viruses that cause viral infection also includes frequent hand washing and covering the mouth and nose with a tissue during sneezing or coughing. It is also important to avoid contact with a person who has a viral disease. Prevention of sexually transmitted viral infections, such as HIV/AIDS includes abstaining from sexual contact. The proper and consistent use of male and/or female condoms also provides some protection.

Treatment of viral infections varies depending on the specific virus and other factors. However, treatment of viral infections generally includes rest, increased fluids, good nutrition, and may require hospitalization and intensive care, especially if complications occur.

Antibiotics treat bacterial infections and are ineffective for the treatment of viral infections. Sometimes drugs called antiviral drugs may be used to help treat certain types of viral infections. Antiviral drugs help to minimize the severity of a viral infection.

Depending on the type of viral infection and the presence of complications, a wide variety of other treatments may be needed. For example, a HPV infection that has lead to cervical dysplasia can be treated by surgical removal of the abnormal cells on a woman's cervix.

People who have had close contact with a person with a serious viral disease, such as meningitis, may also need to monitored for the disease, even in the absence of symptoms.

Treatment List for Viral diseases

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Viral diseases includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • Symptomatic treatment - many viruses require only treatment of their symptoms and self-resolve.
  • Treatment depends greatly on the type of virus
  • Antivirals
  • Acyclovir
  • Interferon
  • Most children with viral infections get better without treatment but some of the measures taken include:
  • Antiviral drugs
  • Palliative treatment
  • Treatment of viral illnesses varies greatly depending upon the infecting virus and the underlying health status of the patient. Treatment includes:
    • Symptomatic management - Many viruses require only treatment of their symptoms and will self-resolve
    • Supportive care - Some patients may require hospitalisation and care such as IV fluids and Oxygen, especially the very young and the elderly
    • Antiviral therapy - indicated in some viral illness such as herpes zoster and HIV

Alternative Treatments for Viral diseases

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Viral diseases may include:

Medical news summaries about treatments for Viral diseases:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Viral diseases:

Discussion of treatments for Viral diseases:

Viral diseases can be very difficult to treat because viruses live inside the body's cells where they are protected from medicines in the blood stream. Researchers developed the first antiviral drug in the late 20th century. The drug, acyclovir, was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat herpes simplex virus infections. Only a few other antiviral medicines are available to prevent and treat viral infections and diseases.

Health care professionals treat HIV infection with a group of powerful medicines which can keep the virus in check. Known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, the new treatment has improved the lives of many suffering from this deadly infection.

Viral diseases should never be treated with antibiotics. Sometimes a person with a viral disease will develop a bacterial disease as a complication of the initial viral disease. For example, children with chickenpox often scratch the skin sores caused by the viral infection. Bacteria such as staph can enter those lesions and cause a bacterial infection. The doctor may then prescribe an antibiotic to destroy the bacteria. The antibiotic, however, will not work on the chickenpox virus. It will work only against staph.

Unfortunately, safe and effective treatments and cures for most viral diseases have eluded researchers, but there are safe vaccines to protect you from viral infections and diseases. (Source: excerpt from Microbes in Sickness and in Health -- Publications, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: NIAID)

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