How Long Do Viral Infections Last?

Viral infection is caused by viruses. Viruses are active microscopic protein molecules. Protein molecules are known as nucleic acid. There are several thousand viruses identified in lab that causes infection in human and animals. Long term viral infections are observed in immunocompromised individual. Viral infection can cause serious systemic effects or death if ignored.

How Long Do Viral Infections Last?

  • Most viral infection last for 3 to 7 days.
  • Viral infection rarely lasts over 7 days.

The number of days the viral infection stays in human body depends on following factors-

  1. Rapid Multiplication of Viruses- Viruses triggers formation of duplicate nucleic acid in number of several thousands. Viruses triggers conversion of host protein molecules into duplicate nucleic acid like viral nucleic acid. Such procedure is known as replicate. These additional nucleic acid or viruses are formed by using the host protein. Such multiplication creates several thousands of viruses. The spread of infection within the body depends on number of active viruses. The infection prolongs if multiplication of virus continues for several days.
  2. Active White Blood Cells- Viruses are engulfed by white blood cells and makes it inactive protein molecule. The spread of infection within the body also depends on number of active white blood cells. Viral infection last less than a week when white blood cells are active and healthy.
  3. Human Body Resistance-
  • T-Cells- The resistance is created by T Cells. T cells are part of immune system. T cells kills the infected human cells and makes viruses inactive. T cells also prevents multiplication of virus. Individual having better immune system can prevent spread of viral infection and infection may last for 5 to 7 days or less.
  • Interferon- Interferon are microscopic protein molecules that prevents rapid multiplication of viruses within cells. Interferon are produced by infected cells. Presence of interferon helps to activate T cells and prevent rapid multiplication of viruses. Higher concentration of interferon helps to prevent systemic spread of infection. Presence of higher concentration of interferon helps to restrict viral infection for 3 to 5 days.
  • Antibodies- Most human blood contains antibodies. Antibodies are microscopic protein molecules. Antibodies are secreted following previous viral infection. Antibodies can instantly neutralize viruses in blood and at tissue level. Most individual with abundant antibodies may not show any signs of infection. Viral infection may last for 2 to 3 days when individual has adequate antibodies in the blood.

Most Common Viral Infections & How Long Do They Last?

How Long Does Influenza Viral Infection Last?

  • Influenza viral infection is also known as flu. There are four subtypes of influenza virus known as Influenza viruses A, B, C and D. The flue is active viral infection observed every winter season in the United States. Infection rapidly spreads in groups, school and during travelling in groups.
  • Symptoms- High fever, running nose, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, cough and sneezing.
  • Influenza Viral infection lasts for 3 to 5 days.

How Long Does Adenovirus Viral Infection Last?

Adenovirus spreads in mucosal lining of eyes, airways, intestines and urinary tract. Viruses spreads from person to person when secretions from eyes, mouth, nose and feces are transmitted by touch, sharing towels and droplets. Infection may continue as asymptomatic infection

How Long Does Norovirus Viral Infection Last?

Norovirus infection causes rapid onset of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Viral infection spreads through contaminated food and drinks. Most of the food borne diseases are caused by norovirus infection. Thus, norovirus infection is also known as food poisoning.

  • Symptoms- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Systemic effects- Gastroenteritis
  • Norovirus Viral infection lasts for 3 days to 2 weeks

How Long Does Rotavirus Viral Infection Last?

Most of the viral infection causing diarrhea in infants and children are caused by rotavirus. Infection is rapidly transmitted from children to children with contacts and sharing objects like spoon, toys and cloth. Rotavirus infection if ignored can cause life threatening dehydration.

  • Symptoms- nausea, fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Also known as stomach flu
  • Rotavirus Viral infection lasts for 3 to 7 days once the symptoms are observed.

How Long Does Measles Infection Last?

Measles is also known as rubeola viral infection. Measles is highly contagious disease. Infection spreads with contact, cough droplets, sharing towels and toys. Virus can live on dry or wet surface for several hours. Measles can cause death if ignored.

  • Symptoms- Fever, cough, runny nose, red eye and rashes.
  • Infection cause by measles virus
  • Viral infection like Measles will lasts for 7 to 10 days.

How Long Does Mumps Infection Last?

  • Mumps viruses affect salivary gland. Salivary glands are located around mouth. The mumps viral infection is highly contagious. Infection is transmitted by saliva, mouth secretion, sharing toys, sharing towels and contact. The infection can cause serious effect threatening life if ignored.
  • Symptoms- Fever, headache, muscle ache, body ache, generalized weakness, pain over mandible while chewing and swelling over side of mandible
  • Mumps Viral infection lasts for 5 to 10 days once symptoms appear.

How Long Does Rubella Infection Last?

  • Rubella viral infection is also known as German Measles. The infection is rarely causes serious life threatening complication. The symptoms are observed 2 weeks after individual is infected. Nearly 1/4th of infected children and adult are asymptomatic.
  • Symptoms- Fever, Headache, body ache, stuffy nose, red eye, enlarged lymph node, joint pain and pink skin rash
  • Rubella Viral infection lasts for 3 to 7 days

How Long Does Rabies Infection Last?

  • Rabies is a serious viral infection that often causes death. Infection is spread from domestic or wild infected animal following scratch and bite of an animal. The viral infection is predominantly observed in rural and poor hygiene area. Rabies vaccine can prevent serious life threatening side effects. Rabies viruses are transmitted in human following contact or bite by dog or bats.
  • Symptoms- Fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, confusion, excessive salivation, difficulties in swallowing, hallucination, insomnia and partial paralysis.
  • Rabies Viral infection lasts for 7 days to 2 years

How Long Does Papillomavirus Infection Last?

  • The papillomavirus infection is transmitted by skin to skin contact as well as sexual contact. There are over 100 varieties of viruses identified. The virus growth is observed over the skin, genitals, mouth and throat mucosal membrane.
  • Symptoms- Genital warts, cluster bumps over skin of groin, penis, scrotum, vulva and vagina.
  • Papillomavirus kind of viral infection lasts for one to two years or several years.

How Long Does Hepatitis A Viral Infection Last?

  • Hepatitis A virus affects predominantly liver. The viral infection causes mild to severe illness. The hepatitis A virus spreads through contaminated water, food and sewer system. Infection also spreads through direct contact. The viral infection is causes generalized weaknesses that often lasts for several days and rarely causes life threatening effects.
  • Symptoms- Nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, fever, yellow urine, joint pain and pain on right side of upper abdomen.
  • Hepatitis A Viral infection lasts for up to 10 years.

How Long Does Hepatitis B Viral Infection Last?

  • The acute viral infection spreads in liver. The hepatitis B virus causes chronic dormant infections. The viral infection is transmitted by contact, touch and through infected water. Rarely healthy individual may receive a blood of a person who is asymptomatic and has a chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
  • Symptoms- Fever, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, yellow urine and jaundice
  • Hepatitis B Viral infection lasts for up to several years. Virus stays dormant in liver for life of individual in chronic hepatitis B condition.

Every country has made an attempt and failed to eradicate or eliminate most contaminating virus infection. But individuals, parents and society can restrict the spread of viral infection by restricting close contact for the period when symptoms are active. Sharing of cloth, toys and contact should be restricted during 3 to 7 days period of symptoms. Viral infection is rarely life threatening if symptoms are appropriately treated.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 3, 2024

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