An infection happens when microorganisms (tiny organisms also known as germs) which are not normally present in the body, invade the body and multiply inside.
There are different types of microorganisms called viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
A viral infection is an infection caused by the virus microorganism type. Common viral infections include the common cold, and influenza ‘flu’. More severe viral infections include HIV/AIDS, smallpox, Ebola and COVID-19.
Viruses are like hijackers because they invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. The cells which the virus has invaded and used are then damaged or killed, and this, along with the proliferation of virus cells is what makes you sick.
Different viruses have specific cells that they target, with some targeting your respiratory cells (affecting your breathing), others targeting your immune cells (affecting your ability to fight off infections), and so on.
The treatment of viral infections can include managing symptoms, stopping viral reproduction using antiviral medicines and preventing infection in the first place which is where infection control nurse comes in!
Prevention is always better than cure, and knowing where germs like viruses lurk, how they spread, and how to stop them spreading means you can dramatically reduce your risk of infection.