Viral diseases are caused by coming in contact with certain types of viruses, microscopic organisms that attach to the body’s cells. Depending on the type of virus, it can be spread through coughs and sneezes, contact with infected people, or touching contaminated surfaces.
Overview and SymptomsViral diseases can range from mild to severe. They can cause many kinds of symptoms, but common symptoms can include cough, body aches and fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. Common examples of viral infections include mild diseases like cold and influenza to severe diseases like HIV/AIDS and Ebola. Often, your doctor can identify the likely cause of an infection by listening to your medical history. A blood or urine test can help confirm a diagnosis. In some cases, a biopsy of affected tissue may be required.
Antiviral medications are used to treat some kinds of viral infections. Rest, hydration and over-the-counter medications can help reduce the effects of some symptoms. Many viruses can be prevented with vaccines.