In 2020, a new disease, Covid-19, entered our lives, and all public attention is focused on its symptoms, treatments, and vaccine development. But winter is a traditional time for increased incidence of influenza and other respiratory viral infections. Knowledge about the causes, characteristics of symptoms, treatment principles and prevention of SARS will help to avoid panic and correctly assess the situation. In some cases you should use:

General information
Acute respiratory viral infections (ARI) are a large group of diseases that have similar symptoms, but are caused by different types of respiratory viruses. These viruses are transmitted mainly by airborne droplets and affect the mucous membranes of the respiratory organs. Currently, medicine has described about 200 kinds of respiratory viral diseases, which have signs of toxic damage to the body: fever, weakness, runny nose, cough and other similar clinical manifestations.

Different types of viruses have different effects on the body, the strength of their impact depends on the age of the patient and many other factors. Nevertheless, respiratory viruses remain the most common pathogens in all age groups. All influenza virus mutations that have appeared in recent decades, such as avian and swine flu, also belong to ARI.

Acute acute respiratory infections usually occur, but within a fairly short period of time.

Acute respiratory infections are classified by:

Origins: Influenza, rhinovirus and others,
Type: typical or asymptomatic,
severity: mild, moderate and severe, with influenza there is also a hypertoxic degree of severity.
Attention to the problem of acute respiratory viral infections is due to their high prevalence and quite severe course, due to which a significant number of able-bodied people, once they fall ill, have to take a sick leave. According to Rospotrebnadzor, about 30 million cases of acute respiratory viral infections are recorded in Russia every year. Taking into consideration the fact that a big number of people don’t go to a doctor and take self-treatment, this number can be 1.2-2 times higher. Thus, ARI is not only a medical problem, but also a social and economic one.

The peak incidence of acute respiratory viral infections occurs in the fall and winter, at which time about 30% of the population in all countries suffer from a cold. Children at the age of 3 to 14 years are most susceptible to the infection.

Among the reasons for the wide spread of acute respiratory viral infections:

A large number of diverse pathogens and their strains;
Lack of long-term and cross immunity (immunity to one virus does not protect against another);
Lack of effective vaccines against many viruses;
The airborne route of infection, due to which the virus spreads quickly among people.
Important: At home, acute respiratory infections are often called colds and people think that the cause of the disease is refrigeration or a draft. But this is not true: only an infectious agent can cause the disease. The diagnosis of acute respiratory illness (ARI) is often made when the causative agent – virus or bacteria – cannot be identified.

Causes of acute respiratory infections
The main cause of acute respiratory infections is infection by a virus from a sick person through close contact: in transport, office premises, stores, home environment, etc. People are especially contagious in the first week of the manifestation of pronounced symptoms of the disease.

Viruses that cause respiratory diseases are very diverse. What they have in common is their ability to affect the same target organs: nasopharynx, oral cavity, larynx, bronchi and lungs. Once in contact with an infected person, the virus deposits itself on the mucous membranes and begins to release toxins that are carried through the bloodstream throughout the body.

Respiratory viruses belong to different groups and families. The main etiological agents of acute respiratory viruses include viruses:

Influenza affects mainly the epithelium of the upper respiratory tract;
Parainfluenza – affects the larynx, trachea and forms false croup in children;
Adenoviruses are characterized by conjunctivitis, rhinopharyngitis, and other respiratory tract and lymphoid diseases;
enteroviruses – RNA-containing viruses that affect the skin, nervous system, muscles and mucous membranes;
respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – affects the lower respiratory tract, causes bronchitis and inflammation of the alveoli;
coronaviruses – affect the upper respiratory tract, stomach and intestines.
Almost all viruses that cause ARI (except adenoviruses) die quickly in the environment and under the influence of ultraviolet light and disinfectants. The diversity of virus species and strains (genetic variants or subtypes) increases the likelihood of multiple ARI infections during the season.

Important: Among all acute respiratory viral infections, influenza is one of the most dangerous diseases. It is very hard to get over and causes a large number of complications, up to and including death. There are over 2 thousand types of influenza virus in the world, all of which are divided into three types: A, B and C. Flu type B occurs only in humans, while influenza A can also affect animals and birds. Influenza is similar to Covid-19, but it has a shorter incubation period and spreads faster.

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