Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Viral Infection
A viral infection is caused by a virus and is often the cause
of minor illness, such as a cold or the stomach flu. A viral infection usually
causes many different symptoms that often come on quickly (over hours to a day
or two) without prior illness.
Viral infections that cause minor
illnesses are usually not serious. And they go away without medical treatment. Home
treatment can relieve the symptoms of colds and stomach flu. And home treatment can prevent
problems, such as dehydration, too. Antibiotics are not used to treat a viral
illness and will not help cure a viral illness.
can prevent viral infections, including influenza (flu), chickenpox, and
measles. Practicing good hygiene and avoiding close contact with sick people can also help
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.