How Do Viruses Reproduce?

Viral diseases and infections have plagued the lives of humans. You can find viruses everywhere, and once they enter your body, it is very hard to get rid of them. You may wonder why viruses can reproduce so fast in human body. To understand it better, you need to know the way by which viruses reproduce.

How Do Viruses Reproduce?

Viruses can reproduce only when they have found a host cell. Some viruses are airborne, like the flu and cold viruses – they can infect the host through the nose and mouth. Some viruses can only be ingested or injected into the host through hypodermic injection, sexual intercourse, or simply things like kissing. Here are the ways by which viruses can reproduce.

1. Lytic Cycle

In this cycle, the virus reproduces after infusing the human host cell with the help of its nucleic acid. It uses the host cell's protein coat for reproduction. Those reproduced virus cells continue to multiply until they cause the host cell to burst. Then, they move on to another fresh host cell and the cycle continues.

2. Lysogenic Cycle

Viruses that take more time to multiply use this cycle for reproduction – this is the case for viruses like the herpes virus and the HIV virus. During this cycle, the nucleic acid of the virus takes time to develop complete hold on the host cell. That happens because the nucleic acid in such viruses is not active, but it eventually begins the multiplication process and destroys the host cell.

How to Protect Yourself from Viruses

How do viruses reproduce? You already know the answer, and you may have understood why it is difficult to deal with viruses. It is therefore better to take precautionary measures and avoid becoming infected in the first place. Here is how you can protect yourself from viruses.

1. Wash Your Hands Often

You should practice proper hygiene to avoid developing a viral infection. Viruses can transfer from contaminated surfaces to your hands and then enter your body through mouth or eyes. Therefore, it is of immense importance to wash your hands often to lower the risk of becoming infected. Ideally, you should wash your hands before and after preparing food, after blowing your nose, and after handling bodily fluids. Be sure to wash your hands using warm water and soap – it is better to wash your hands for 20 seconds and go up to your wrists.

2. Do Not Touch Your Eyes, Face, and Nose

As mentioned already, viruses can enter your body through your eyes and nose. Therefore, you need to make a conscious effort to keep your hands away from your eyes, face and nose. When you touch your face, there may be a cut or even a scratch that would allow a virus to enter your body. Be sure to use a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and do not touch your face without washing your hands.

3. Get Vaccinated

You should get vaccinated and keep all immunizations up-to-date to ensure you do not end up dealing with viral infections. Vaccines work by strengthening your immune system against a specific virus or pathogenic agent. Keep in mind that some vaccines may cause minor symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, or muscle aches for a couple of days. That is normal and happens because they activate your immune system. Be sure to get booster shots to help maintain immunity.

4. Be Careful When Preparing and Storing Food

How do viruses reproduce and how can they enter your body? Some viruses can contaminate your food and then enter your body to reproduce. It is therefore important to practice special care when preparing and storing food. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Take steps to limit cross contamination. You should never prepare raw food on the same surface as prepared food.
  • Be sure to clean work surfaces thoroughly. Keep them dry all the time because pathogens require wet environments to survive.
  • Wash your hands properly before and after preparing food. It is also important to wash your hands properly when changing ingredients.
  • Be very careful when storing your food. You should store at safe temperatures only and never consume anything that does not seem fresh. Avoid anything that looks discolored or has strange odors.

5. Practice Safe Sex

To avoid sexually transmitted infections, you need to practice safe sex and always use a condom when engaging in any sexual activity. Viruses can transfer through bodily secretions, so you should be careful while having sex. It is better to avoid having an intercourse if your partner has genital warts or cold sores. This increases your risk of developing incurable herpes.

6. Practice Care When Traveling

How do viruses reproduce and what should you do to avoid virus infections? You need to be very careful about infections when traveling to different parts of the world. Certain infections may be a lot more common in places where you are going as compared to where you live. It means that you may not require vaccinations in your area but may need it when traveling to a certain part of the world.

Ask your doctor about important vaccinations and be sure to practice good personal hygiene when in another country. You should also take precautions if you are in an area where mosquitoes are known for spreading infections. Use bug sprays, sleep in mosquito netting, and wear long-sleeved clothing to stay safe.

7. Take Medications

Just like vaccinations, there are certain medicines available to help protect you from certain germs for a short time. For instance, you can take an anti-parasitic medication to protect yourself from contracting malaria when traveling to a high-risk area. 

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