What is the virus life cycle? How do these organisms live, cause damage to the host they are living in and replicate themselves? This article will talk about the life cycle of a virus.
What is a virus?
Viruses are very tiny organisms that infiltrate a person’s body and cause them to become sick. Viruses aren’t just small, they’re extremely small. Imagine a bacterium. We would only be able to see those with the help of a powerful microscope. Take that bacterium, and make it a hundred times smaller. That is how big a virus is.
There are only a few other characteristics that viruses have. Aside from being tiny, they are made up of nucleic acid. This acid is found in all living organisms and is considered to be the “blueprint” for an organism. Some viruses have a protein coat and others have an extra outer coating to protect them, called an envelope.
How are viruses classified?
You may already be familiar with some viruses. maybe because they have made you sick before. However, how are these viruses classified? They are grouped based on several factors. These factors include if they have DNA or RNA, who they can infect, their size, how their life cycle works if they have an envelope and other factors.
The virus life cycle
There are two kinds of life cycle of viruses. The lytic and lysogenic cycles are the two ways by which viruses replicate themselves inside a host.
The lytic cycle
Once the virus gets into the host’s body, it docks itself into a host cell. This virus then inserts its viral nucleic acid into the cell, which forces it to make new virus cells.
After this, the infected cell will burst, releasing the virus into the person’s system. These newly created viruses will go on to infect more and more cells.
The lysogenic cycle
This life cycle is very similar to the lytic cycle because it also uses a host cell to create more of the virus before destroying it. However, the only difference is that this life cycle takes a little more time because the virus will take its time before infecting the host cell.
These life cycles usually repeat themselves and the viral infection can last anywhere from several days to several weeks, to even a lifetime. These viral infections can be much more serious in the older population, because their immune system is usually not as strong as it used to be, and it cannot fight off the viral infection as quickly.
How are viruses transmitted?
The main goal of viruses is to gain entry to a host body and to infect it. There are many ways by which a virus can enter the human body system. Insects could be carriers of the virus and can provide a means of entry when they bite a person to drink their blood. Viruses can also travel through the air when a person infected with the virus talks or has close contact with another person, the second person stands to catch the virus themselves. It can also be transmitted through small droplets in the air. These droplets can land on a person’s hands. If they do not wash their hands, and they touch their face and other mucous membranes, the virus can gain entry into their system.
Even if we cannot see viruses with the naked eye, it is still possible to prevent viral infections. Here is a list of things you can do to ensure that you can protect yourself and your family against different kinds of viruses.
If there is an outbreak of viral infections in your place, it is good to take the necessary precautions to make sure you don’t catch the virus. Do not go to places with large crowds, you may never know if one of the people you may come into contact with is a carrier of the virus.
Wash your hands
Frequent handwashing is essential to making sure that any germs, microbes or other forms of infections will be removed from your hands.
Cover your mouth when you cough
This should be done to keep other people safe from contracting the virus. If you are aware that you have a viral infection, covering your mouth will ensure that the virus cannot travel through the air and infect other people around you. You can also use a tissue, your hand or arm to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
Don’t go out when you don’t feel well
When you feel under the weather, stay home. This will allow you to get well and give your body a fighting chance against the viral infection. It will also ensure that the people you deal with at work or school will not come into contact with the virus as you recover.
If you feel concerned about your symptoms and need a doctor to evaluate your health, you can always call or visit your nearby medical facility.