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What is a Viral Infection?

Germs are microorganisms that can be a disease producing (pathogenic) agent, and we know they are part of our surrounding environment. They are living organisms (aka biologic agents) that are able to invade and multiply in body tissues that can cause local cellular injury.

Germs have a cellular structure similar to all living things. These infectious germs include bacteria, protozoa, rickettsia, and fungi next to Virus’s. Today, we will explore just what is a Viral infection?


Traits of a Virus

A virus is an infectious agent that has the following traits;

  • able to easily ‘filter‘ through ‘bacteria retaining filters‘ due to their small size
  • contain molecules of nucleic acids, either DNA or RNA (like all living things!)
  • a protein coating, or made of carbohydrates, and fatty materials
  • an inability to grow and replicate outside a living cell

Ok, anyone else thinking about that movie ‘Alien‘ ?

A virus can be particularly dangerous to humans with these traits. They can easily ‘camouflage‘ themselves, and lie ‘dormant‘ in the body’s cells without calling attention to themselves.

Initial Response to a Virus

The virus will invade and affect host cells to act in four ways as follows;

  • may allow the virus to ‘live‘ in it’s cytoplasm where the virus lies dormant
  • may die without reproducing itself
  • may divide and then die
  • is transformed to divide and begins abnormal growth patterns
covid 19 enters various cells in human body

The human body’s immune response system gets triggered once cellular damage begins, and can lead to harm of the body’s cells, or damage to cells in other ways.

A virus can change our cell’s membranes so they’re not recognized by our body causing our immune system to attack our body’s own cells, and get injured or destroyed by our own immune system.

Infectious Process

The process for an infectious virus to spread from person-to-person must be in place. Picture a chain, and the links needed to create it’s length. So must a virus have specific links readied in proper sequence to be passed on.

Covid 19 seeks New Hosts continuously

The infectious disease occurs if their needed links are present and set in proper sequence, as follows;

  • Link I, the germ must be the ‘causative organism‘. Removal of this link can only occur if the causitive organism is destroyed, or changed to be harmless, while in the host cell environment. Otherwise, it will grow into sufficient numbers, and virulence to destroy normal surrounding tissue.
  • Link II, infectious organisms thrive and reproduce in ‘reservoirs‘ in the human body such as body tissues, and wastes of human, (animals and insects) or in food and water that’s contaminated by the virus.
  • Link III, a ‘portal of exit‘ such as the respiratory tract, reproductive tract, and the intestinal tract. Injury to the skin, or mucous membranes also provide portals of entry and exit (Link V) through cuts, tears, infections, or damaged that organisms can enter or leave. Remember the virus is tiny.
  • Link IV, ‘mode of transfer‘ from the host via the hands, air currents, fomites (inanimate objects, cups, books, cupboards, etc.), vectors (insects can harbor germs, and transfer with a bite and sting), droplets from coughing and sneezing, and any means the pathogens can move from place or host to another.
  • Link V, a ‘portal of entry‘ which the pathogens can ENTER the body of a new host
  • Link VI, a ‘susceptible host‘, one who has no, or poor immunity, or lack protective resistance to overcome the invasion of pathogens for infection. Many are susceptible due to age, poor diet, immuno – compromised health, poor living conditions, poor health, exposure to weather elements, stress to the body.

Human Body Response

The human body responds with protective measures to invasive infections with the formation of ‘antibodies‘ and a series of responses from our immune systems starting with symptoms of localized ‘inflammation‘. A covid -19 infection is known to cause a ‘cytokine storm’.

definition – cytokine storm

Classic signs of the ‘inflammatory response‘ are heat, redness, swelling, pain, and/or loss of function. These are physical responses of the physiological changes occurring during the inflammatory response stage.

The location and severity of the inflammation can help identify the source of the response and monitor it’s progression or regression. A viral infection will induce a systemic (whole body) inflammatory response such as headaches, chills, muscle aches, sweating, loss of appetite, and depression.

body organs are ‘reservoirs’ for Covid virus to thrive – one organ goes down, rest will follow

The symptoms alone cannot tell us the difference between flu or Covid-19 since both share similar symptoms. It’s important to get tested for both flu and Covid-19. Check to see if family or close friend can pick up, and drop off a PCR test. Symptoms will begin anywhere 2 – 14 days after exposed to Covid-19, and can range from mild to severe.

Medical concerns with these symptoms are problems that arise such as poor fluid intake, nutrition imbalance, poor comfort, activity intolerance, loss of motion, decline in self-care, frequent urination or defecation, and increased need for rest.

Controlling Infectious Disease

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) recommended the use of ‘Universal Precautions‘ for healthcare teams in 1987. A directive for health care professionals to view all patient blood, and body fluids as potentially infectious, and to be handled as such.

medical teams use ‘barriers’ to prevent infection for patient and themselves

I think we have all seen health care staff with gloves, caps, masks and gowns, and maybe face shields. All this is similar to ‘personal protective equipment‘ (PPE) but for healthcare staff at medical facilities.This is all part of ‘Universal Precautions’ practice. Are you comfortable entering a hospital knowing, it’s been sanitized?

Major goals for healthcare teams who work with infectious diseases are as follows;

  • promote sanitary standards in communities
  • identify highly susceptible persons to infections
  • reduce the chances of getting or spread of infections
  • promote and deliver immunization programs against infectious diseases
medical team teach people to stay healthy

Unfortunately we have substandard housing, indoor and outdoor rodents, insects, dust, human waste, contaminated foods and water supplies that are all major sources of infections. Do you make efforts to sanitize your home?

Virus’s of Today

Today, we have the SARs-Covid, RSV, and the Flu virus’s going on around us aka the ‘tripledemic‘. Health professionals know that virus’s are continuously evolving, and adapting to their surrounding environment. This includes adapting to bypass the protections from vaccines for the SARS-Covid 19 virus.

prevent covid infection vaccine and tests thank Health teams

Health researchers have released near bi-monthly reports that the Covid virus gets more infectious with every adaptation (new generation), and new names are added to the list of this evolving virus. I don’t think I’m alone trying to remember the name of the latest, or the name of the last virus. 😐

Tiring of Stress Living with a Pandemic

Pandemic fatigue refers to people tiring of the safety precautions set in place by Health officers, and government officials plus worrying about keeping jobs to insure shelter, food and paying the bills. They are no longer ‘mandating‘ masks but tell us, ‘do your best’.

It will be your own responsibility whether you stay healthy or get infected. It will be your responsibility whether you wear a mask, wash your hands, and maintain a safe distance.

Covid Safety Reminder for Pandemic Prevention

I continue wearing my mask, washing my hands, and keeping my distance. I have family with immunocompromised health issues that these infections could seriously cause further damage or death.

definition of immunocompromised

I would rather do my best to Protect my family, friends, and neighbors plus You. So, if you see me with my mask, nod, and don’t mind me. We’re in this together, our scientists are working hard plus studying each new variant to find a cure or improve the vaccine. We can only do our best, to stay alive, stay healthy, have faith in our scientists, and each other.

Learning in Motion

explanation of a virus

Extra Learning Resources

What is Virology?

What is a vaccine? Types, stages for approval

What to know about antiviral drugs and products

I hope you found this article informative and gained some new insight. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your new found knowledge with others. Use the ‘Ask A Question’ form to make a request on a topic of your own interest. It is FREE to subscribe by email or RSS feed.

AIC| An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles at AIC|An Informal Cornr about business skills and development, health, science, technology, society, and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. Learn something new 🙂 Visit today!


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How to Plan a Leaf Peeping road trip

plan leaf peeping trip

Guest post, Sean Farrell

Every fall, the changing of the leaves and the ushering in of cool, brisk air brings about a fresh atmosphere. As writer F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” One of the best aspects of the changing weather? The leaves that dot the trees. Deep golds, burgundies, and oranges reach as high as the eyes can see, showcasing just how beautiful nature can be.

A great way to take in the wonders of autumn while discovering the environment around you is to embark on a fall foliage road trip. All across the country, a plethora of forests and tree-lined paths make for exciting destinations.

It’s important to plan out your trip, from how many snacks to pack to the temperature of each place you plan to visit so you can dress appropriately. Take a look at the graphic below to learn more about how to plan the best fall foliage road trip.

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How Healthy can you Get?

jump rope exercising

The days recalling our youth and childhood, brings nostalgic memories of those times when we were footloose and fancy free. Life held mysteries and dread, that beckoned us to step a little closer and dare to seek out the answers, or run as quickly as possible, back home.

Which ever choice you made, it required us to move our bodies. Those were days when our energy levels seemed to be unbearable to contain, and moving whether running, skipping, skating, sledding, was fun! So, what the hey happened that has stopped you?

Days of Yesteryear

Days of high school were spent worrying about what others were thinking of us, or learned to care not an iota, about their opinion. Some had greater worries, bad homes, unstable lives, next to the piles of homework our teachers heaped on us every night.

For some teens life was a struggle or battle, to juggle our worries with so many demands depending on our home environments. Not everybody’s life is idyllic or picture perfect as it seems especially in the suburbs.

Yet, some may have managed to be part of their school’s extracurricular activities such as being part of sports, music or hobby teams. Some teens still got to mix fun, into their daily routines.

school recess exercising
school recess exercises

Obesity moved In

Recent news stories have stated that North Americans have quite high levels of obesity. Parents really should take note to observe their family’s over all activities. There may be quite a few latch-key children that parents prefer to be home or some may allow their child(ren) to be part of their school’s extracurricular activities. Today’s society does require parents ensure the safety and security of their child(ren).

Parents can still provide activities for their children, and teach them early on how to learn and maintain their health. I would highly recommend sitting down together and having a discussion about long term health and importance of staying active.

Active Living Plan

Brainstorm idea’s together, which can be applied. It can start with taking a drive to the nearest park in winters and tobogganing, going out skating, hiking through a national park, swimming at the local public pool, biking through the neighborhood.

fun exercise planning
family exercise planning

The simplest of activities that are great can be walking and dancing. One can add investing in small dumbbells, a skipping rope, and even ankle weights. It’s said that the amount of calories you take in with eating should equal the amount of calories you burn.

A little online research will reveal just how many calories we consume with our diets, as there is a lot of information available. Note the following chart in regards to calories that can be burned with walking at a comfortable pace of 2 m/hr.

Exercise and Calorie Burn Charts

Weight Est. Calorie Burn 30 Minutes

150

105

X

200

145

X

150

180

X

2

200

115

X

350

250

X

400

285

X

 Now, let’s take a look at hiking and how many calories can be burned not to forget, it’s fun! A hilly landscape would burn more. Additional fun would include bringing along your camera, some water and dress appropriately. Good footwear is important and pay attention to your local weather report.

Weight Est. Calorie Burn 30 Minutes

150

215

X

200

285

X

250

360

X

300

430

X

350

500

X

400

575

X

Minding the Calculations of Time

I also have to add here that you can still accomplish the numbers of calorie burning with whatever method you choose. If you split the 30 minutes into two, you have 15 minutes one direction and return trip home, will give you that 30 minutes. A straight 30 minutes one way and another 30 minutes return home will double your number. Got to keep the math in mind.

The following chart reveals just how many calories is burned with my own various exercise activities. Note that they are a MIX of activities. I stand at 5’8 and my weight ranges from 145 – 155 lbs. It doesn’t include my running up and down the stairs with ankle weights and totally missed including the jumping rope exercise.

I don’t even do these exercises all at once but only in quick five minute intervals (except my canoe outings!) throughout my day, since I do work and have parental responsibilities too. A life of leisure sounds great but I get bored too easily.

acalburn

Keep Healthy Foods in your Diet

Diet plays a large part here too. I eat a lot of foods that many, including my own sons, is considered, too healthy. They run away to their extended families some days, yes but I do cook meals they love also. The following chart shows the calories of some of the foods that my own diet provides. Yes, I always have a side of veggies and fruit too. I don’t always eat healthy 24/7/364 either! shhh 😉

Food

Calories

Gram of Fat

McDonalds Salad w/ Ranch

310

23

Chicken Salad, 1 cup

360

18

Steak, 4 oz

218

7

Tuna, in water

110

Trace

Peanut Butter Jelly sandwich

330

15

Bran muffin

140

6

Eggs, boiled, poached

140

12

Vegetable soup

80

2

Regular but not Perfect

Moderation is said to be KEY to maintaining one’s weight with diet. As you can see with the above chart, I don’t totally stay away from ‘bad’ foods. I get my cravings too especially for chocolate. One just has to learn to mix the healthy foods into their diet and practice self-discipline with the ‘bad’ foods then balance it with exercise.

I do this due to a heart defect and recent diagnosis of pre-diabetes. Between my diet and exercise, I get great reports from my doctor. It can be a struggle but at least once you learn, healthy practices can become habit and your children will greatly benefit, for the rest of their lives. So, how healthy do you want to get?

Learning in Motion

Extra Resources

Calorie Calculator

Calorie Burn Calculator

Food Calorie and Nutrition Chart

An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us.

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