Virus needs no introduction today. We are very well aware that there exist thousands of virus strains that can affect a person’s health. Some may not cause serious damages to human body but some may even cause life threatening conditions. Let’s take a look at some diseases caused by viruses. Here are some dangerous virus we need to be aware of to safe guard our health:
- Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Human T-Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV)
- Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCV)
The Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) causes a disease called “mononucleosis”, also popularly known as “the kissing disease”. As the name suggests, this virus is commonly contracted through kissing, I.e., exchange of saliva. The exchange of saliva need not necessarily be via kissing, but can also occur through exchange of used and unwashed utensils, sneezing and coughing. The EBV can also spread from one person to another from intimacy like sexual intercourse or oral sex.
Infections caused by EBV are often asymptomatic. In certain cases, where symptoms do show up, it is after an incubation period of about 4 to 6 weeks.
The virus, once contracted, remains dormant in the body for the rest of the lives. Mutations that occur in the EBV can lead to the onset of cancers like:
- Stomach Cancer
- Nasopharyngeal Cancer
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a very notorious and greatly feared virus that cause Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Cancers are not directly attributed to HIV or AIDS, but contraction of HIV tremendously increase a person’s susceptibility to various types of cancer.
HIV commonly spready via sexual interaction with an HIV-infected individual, sharing injections, breastfeeding by mother infected with HIV, blood transfusion and organ transplants.
The cancers that generally mature in HIV-infected individuals are:
- Kaposi Sarcoma (a rare cancer – also caused by Human Herpes Virus 8 (HHV-8), a.k.a. Kaposi Sarcoma-associated Virus (KSHV))
- Cervical Cancer
- Anal Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Throat Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Skin Cancer
There are no telltale signs to identify a person with Hepatitis. Even though infected, some people look to be in perfect health. If you notice that your new partner has yellowing skin, eyes (a condition called Jaundice), then that may be good sign that he/she is infected with Hepatitis Virus. The only perfect way to know if any person is infected is to get tested.
The Human T-Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) is more commonly found in Japan, the Caribbean, the Middle-East, South America and central Africa.
HTLV is usually transmitted from one person to another through the exchange of saliva, body fluids, air, cough, sexual activity, blood transfusion and even from mother to fetus.
The HTLV is a “retrovirus”. These viruses use RNA, rather than DNA, for their genetic code. Once the virus finds a host, it inserts a copy of its genome into the DNA of a host cell that it invades. This can change how the cells undergo division and can eventually lead to cancer.
The cancers commonly caused by HTLV are:
- Blood Cancer
The Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCV) is a relatively recent discovery. It was first described in January of 2008 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The information on this virus is comparatively very less. However, it is known that most people are infected with MCV at some point in their lives, often childhood, and usually show no symptoms. Many experts think that this virus spreads from skin-to-skin contact. MCV is known to cause skin cancer.
That’s very much possible. The virus can live on the surface of the used sex toys for many days. When used by other healthy person without proper washing and sterilizing it, there are chances that the healthy person also gets infected.
There is no golden method of avoiding all cancers or not contracting any virus. However, there are some steps one can incorporate to substantially lower the risk of developing cancers.
- The first and the most important thing is to strengthen the immune system. There is no cure for viral infections. The modern medicine can only assist the body into fighting the virus but, ultimately, it is the body’s immune system that does all the hard work.
- Get vaccinated.
- Maintaining appropriate pH level of the blood. Cancer-causing-cells often thrive in a more acidic environment. By maintaining a proper pH level, ideally 7, in the body, one can reduce risks of cancer.
- Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet – preferably plant-based.
- Limiting consumption of red meat.
- Avoid processed food, especially processed meat.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Leading an active lifestyle.
- Avoiding tobacco products.
- Avoid excessive use of cosmetic products.
- Avoid long-term direct exposure to UV light.
- Get periodical check-ups from a doctor.