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What does virus and what does germ mean?

What does virus and what does germ mean?

How should a virus be treated and how a microbial infection? Learn everything that will help you identify the symptoms and diseases they cause, so that you can take the right precautions for you and your children.


What viruses are

These are microorganisms that need living cells to multiply. So they use the human cells that they infect. How; By forcing them to create new viruses. The infected cells are then destroyed and the viruses spread rapidly to the rest of the body. There are over 100 different viruses for the common cold alone. However, viruses outside of human cells can only survive for a short time. There are also many protective mechanisms in the blood and tissues of the body that prevent and treat viral infections.

How do I know if my child has a virus infection?

Usually these infections, which are none other than the known rhinitis, bronchitis, laryngitis, cause fever, sore throat, appetite loss, bad breath, and a little fever, but they subside relatively quickly. In other words, they have a cycle of 4-5 days and leave. However, it is recommended to monitor the child even if he has been diagnosed with a virus. This is because it is possible that at some point in the process a germ will stick on top. So if you experience any new symptoms or are worried about something, you should contact your pediatrician.

Caution! Influenza, colds and various diseases caused by viral infections do not need antibiotics to cure. The viruses that cause them are not affected by antibiotics. Only specific viral infections are treated with antiviral therapy.


What germs are

These are microorganisms larger than viruses, which can survive anywhere on their own. In the human body, in the air, in the water, in the ground.  We all have germs in our body, but not all of them are harmful, as they coexist in balance and constitute the normal flora (in fact, there are “good” germs). Digestion of food, for example, is due to bacteria in the digestive system. Usually, when the body senses that a germ has caused an infection, it immediately fights it with the immune system.

Unfortunately, sometimes the immune system does not work and then infections such as pneumonia, tonsillitis, etc are caused,. When germs manage to trick the immune system and infect the central nervous system, after crossing the blood-brain barrier, they cause microbial or bacterial meningitis.

How do I know if my child has a germ infection?

Usually the child with a microbial infection looks more seriously ill, is anorexic or lethargic, the fever is higher and is often accompanied by chills. Many times it gradually gets worse. The pediatrician may need to see it again to make a correct diagnosis. It is also possible for a child to initially have a virus and eventually become infected. If the fever does not go away and the condition generally gets worse, the pediatrician may recommend tests. In doubtful or suspicious cases he may ask you to take the child to the hospital.

Caution: Antibiotics are essential in serious microbial infections, those that can become dangerous to the health or even life of patients. This is because they prevent the germs from multiplying, thus allowing the body to have time to organize its defenses (that is, to make antibodies and defense cells to destroy all the germs that threaten it). The type of antibiotic will of course be decided by the doctor, depending on the case.

What they can cause

Viruses cause, among others: colds, acute bronchitis, influenza, most forms of otitis ,measles (pharyngitis), measles, rubella, mumps, chickenpox, herpes, diarrheal syndromes, hepatitis.The germs cause, among others: pneumonia, urinary tract infection, meningitis, wound infection, some forms of otitis and sinusitis, perforation of surgical wounds, abscesses, peritonitis, cholecystitis, etc.

Coronavirus or flu?

Scientists’ knowledge of the new coronavirus is constantly increasing and they now know that “it is not SARS, nor MERS, nor the flu.” Coronavirus COVID-19 is “a unique virus with unique characteristics”. These remarks were made a few days ago by Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, explaining the main differences between influenza and coronavirus COVID-19. “We know that people are scared and do not feel safe.

Fear is a normal human reaction to any threat. “Especially when it comes to a threat that people do not fully understand,” he said. “But as we gather more data, we better understand the virus and the disease it causes.” As Ghebreyesus explained, both COVID-19 coronavirus and influenza cause respiratory disease. They are also transmitted in the same way, ie with droplets of fluid from the nose and mouth of patients. However, the viruses that cause the flu and the new coronavirus have significant differences.


* Both germs and viruses can cause a variety of diseases, which often have common features, especially for respiratory infections. However, virus and germ are two different life forms.

* By “germ” we usually mean a simple single-celled organism (that is, consisting of a cell). The main feature of the virus is that it can not live independently. To live it needs to be integrated into the cells of another single-celled or multicellular organism. It works, we would say, like a parasite.

* Europe today is facing a new generation of “super germs” that are particularly resilient and strong. This is due to the misuse of antibiotics. The problem is particularly acute in our country, as Greece is in first place in the European Union in terms of their reckless use.

* It is estimated that 50% -70% of children have taken antibiotics unnecessarily due to viruses which are known to not need antibiotics to be treated, while 2 in 10 parents give their child antibiotics without a prescription.

However, the administration of the antibiotic in case of a virus is justified only if a microbial infection is detected or for the treatment of a disease caused by a microbe.

Do not forget the vaccines

* Indirect way of shielding the child’s immune system generally from infections (such as pneumonia, meningitis, acute otitis media, etc.), is the vaccination according to the National Program.* Influenza vaccination is also recommended each year in certain categories of patients who may develop serious complications: in people aged 60 years and older, adults and children over 6 months with specific diseases (diabetes, heart or lung disease, cystic fibrosis and .a.)

* Regarding the flu vaccine in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, as the experts point out: “When the patient has the flu, his defense system will be weakened and his respiratory system will be burdened, therefore, if he becomes infected (with coronavirus) “We do not know how he will behave with the presence of the new virus, as he may become seriously ill.”

We thank Mrs. Anastasia Zisouli, pediatrician – infectious disease specialist for her cooperation .

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