Viral Infections

A viral infection can be caused by different types of viruses. Most viral infections are not serious and resolve on their own. However, some infections may cause severe symptoms and may lead to further complications.


Viruses can frequently cause:

  • Minor sore throat.

  • Aches and pains.

  • Headaches.

  • Runny nose.

  • Different types of rashes.

  • Watery eyes.

  • Tiredness.

  • Cough.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Gastrointestinal infections, resulting in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

These symptoms do not respond to antibiotics because the infection is not caused by bacteria. However, you might catch a bacterial infection following the viral infection. This is sometimes called a "superinfection." Symptoms of such a bacterial infection may include:

  • Worsening sore throat with pus and difficulty swallowing.

  • Swollen neck glands.

  • Chills and a high or persistent fever.

  • Severe headache.

  • Tenderness over the sinuses.

  • Persistent overall ill feeling (malaise), muscle aches, and tiredness (fatigue).

  • Persistent cough.

  • Yellow, green, or brown mucus production with coughing.


  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, diarrhea, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Drink enough water and fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow. Sports drinks can provide valuable electrolytes, sugars, and hydration.

  • Get plenty of rest and maintain proper nutrition. Soups and broths with crackers or rice are fine.


  • You have severe headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain, neck pain, or an unusual rash.

  • You have uncontrolled vomiting, diarrhea, or you are unable to keep down fluids.

  • You or your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.