What is a Chronic Virus?
Published Aug 30, 2021
Every person must have experienced having viral infections once in their life. It can happen to anyone here and there since it’s normal for people to easily catch infections, especially if their immune system is weak. However, the chronic virus is quite different from having the flu or a common virus.
The chronic virus is a constantly recurring virus that has developed and has lived in your body for quite some time. This type of virus remains alive and develops in a patient’s body without being aware of it. Many cases of chronic infections are caught when their conditions got worse because the symptoms are subtle. These infections are caused by germs with slow growth rates that stimulate an infection to be persistent and exist for long-term periods.
Symptoms of Chronic Infections
The symptoms of chronic viruses are mostly vague and may even appear normal. Most doctors and physicians have a hard time diagnosing this kind of virus since the symptoms are unnoticeable, and the patient may not recognize it right away. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Recurrent fevers
- Mucus production
- Skin rashes
- Frequent sore throat
- Postnasal drip or nasal discharge
- Bad breath
- Chronic sinus or lung infections
- Chronic yeast infection
Common Chronic Viruses and Infections
- Herpes Simplex I (HSV-I) – Oral Herpes; causes cold sore and fever blister around mouth and face
- Herpes Simplex II (HSV-II) – Genital Herpes
- Herpes Virus 3 – Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) – Infectious Mononucleosis
- Herpes Virus 4 – Cytomegalovirus (CMV) – this type of virus is dangerous as it can damage many organs like the brain, retinas, sinuses, stomach, esophagus, intestines, liver, and skin.
- Herpes Virus 5 – Varicella Virus or Chicken Pox
- Herpes Virus 6 – (HHV6) – Immune system virus
- Hepatitis B Virus – Liver Infection
- Parvo Virus B19 – This infects humans only; causes immunity, skin problems, and 5th disease.
- Coxsackie A & B – Hand, foot, and mouth disease; may be seen often in children.
Effects of Chronic Virus
Chronic virus infections weaken a person’s immune system. A weakened immune system can lead to the patient being more vulnerable to other serious diseases. Having chronic virus infections increases the risk of deadly diseases — like cancer. Some chronic viruses like Herpes Virus 3 or Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) can lead to stomach cancer. Moreover, hepatitis C infection is the leading cause of liver cancer.
Vulnerable People for this Viral Infection
Chronic viruses or illnesses can infect any age group — young or old. However, the people who are often infected with this kind of disease are workers who care for children or the elderly. Most of them are women since they are known to be good at taking care of people.
Examples of these people are:
- Kids and Older people
Treatment for Chronic Infections
If your doctor is thorough enough, the patient should be diagnosed and treated correctly before the symptoms get worse. The treatment for chronic virus infections varies on what kind of virus the patient has. Some chronic viruses are manageable but not treatable, so patients have to take medications, supplements, and antiviral prescriptions for their whole life.
They need to boost their immune system greatly so their complications would not get worse. Some chronic viruses, like Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), have a cure. Epstein-Barr Virus patients can be cured with stem-cell transplants. Hepatitis C virus can now be cured as well using pangenotypic direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) for patients over the age of 12 years.
Now that we know chronic virus infections weaken a person’s immune system constantly, and that can make them vulnerable to severe infections, it is important to consult a doctor right away. Unfortunately, most patients who got chronic viruses are women since most women work with children and elderlies. But, on the bright side, these chronic viral infections can be managed with long-term treatments using medication.