A to Z: Viral Infection

A to Z: Viral Infection

A to Z: Viral Infection

May also be called: Virus

A viral infection is an infection or disease caused by a virus (a type of germ).

More to Know

Infections can be caused by different germs, such as bacteria or viruses. Viral infections can cause many different symptoms, like fever, congestion, sore throat, cough, ear pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

Sometimes the responsible virus is easily determined while other times this isn't possible. While both viral and bacterial infections can make someone feel sick, only infections caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics.

Antibiotics won't help a viral infection get better or keep it from being contagious, and can sometimes cause unnecessary side effects.

Keep in Mind

Viral infections can be frustrating and uncomfortable. But with rest and supportive care (like staying hydrated), most people will feel better in a few days.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.
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