What Makes Antiviral Meds Effective?

antiviral meds

So, what do we know about antiviral medications?

They are helpful when it comes to fighting harmful viruses. Almost any viral infection can be treated with a powerful tool like this. It’s essential to learn more about these pharmaceutical goods because the pandemic is still alive. Spreading of COVID-19 proved antivirals to be highly potent.

Antivirals: Definition

Antivirals are helpful not only in fighting the virus, but as prevention measure as well. Besides, an antiviral med can help you protect the others from yourself when being infected with the virus.

What Is a Virus?

A virus is a tiny, infectious agent, growing and multiplying within the organism’s cells. It makes contact with the healthy cells of a body, attaches to them, and multiplies itself. It destroys a healthy cell, giving way for the virus to grow.

However, not all viruses work this way. It’s not always common for them to damage and replicate. Nevertheless, it does not mean that the virus is not dangerous. It can get attached to your body and stay inactive or latent for a long time. You can experience no symptoms, but the virus can still be passed on to anyone in your social environment.

How Do Viruses Spread?

Everything depends on the virus but typically, viruses spread through:

  • Saliva;
  • Blood;
  • Urine;
  • Feces;
  • Vomit;
  • Ejaculation;
  • Bug bites;
  • Skin-on-skin contact.

How Do Antivirals Work?

It all depends on the type of the virus and a specific drug. Mostly, antivirals work through:

  • Blocking the receptors, which does not let the virus get to the healthy cells;
  • Boosting the immune system, which is one of the greatest instruments in fighting almost any infection, combined with a specific medical therapy;
  • Lowering the viral load, which means decreasing the amount of virus agents within the cells of the body.

Most Common Conditions Treated by Antivirals

Most viruses vanish without the need for antiviral drugs. Antivirals are prescribed by medical professionals to treat persistent or fatal viral infections, such as:

  • Ebola;
  • Coronaviruses;
  • Genital herpes;
  • Flu;
  • Hepatitis B;
  • Hepatitis C;
  • HIV.

Can All Viral Infections Be Cured with Antiviral Meds?

Antiviral medications help reduce the length of your illness from viral illnesses including the flu and Ebola. They can eliminate these viruses from your body.

Unfortunately, not all viral infections can be fully eliminated with medications.

Chronic viral infections, including hepatitis, herpes, and HIV, cannot be fully treated with antivirals. The virus stays in your body with these conditions, despite the use of antivirals. Antiviral medications, however, can make the virus inactive for the maintenance period, resulting in little to nonexistent symptoms.

Antiviral medication-induced symptoms may be milder or disappear quicker.

Antivirals Prevent From Spreading Infections

Antiviral medications can indeed prevent you from contracting specific viral infections following a known or suspected exposure. However, it does not work in all cases. Nevertheless, specific antivirals can be very helpful in case of:

  • Pregnancy. It will protect the baby from HIV during pregnancy.
  • Daily intake. It will significantly lower the risk of passing HIV to a partner.
  • 72 hours of a possible HIV exposure. It will protect you from catching the infection.
  • 48 hours of a possible flu exposure. Evidently, it will protect you from catching a flu.

Forms of Antiviral Meds

Most antiviral meds are designed for swallowing. However, it depends on your health condition and a possibility to take the medication. Antivirals can be released as:

  • Powder for inhaling;
  • Eye drops;
  • Muscle and vein injections;
  • Topical ointments or creams.

List of Antiviral Meds

How Long Should I Take an Antiviral Drug?

Both the antiviral medication and viral infection influence on how long the treatment lasts. One dose of an antiviral or one week’s worth of oral medication may be enough.

People with HIV may need to take antivirals every day for the rest of their lives. The virus is prevented from becoming active by this drug regimen. It can stop the infection from spreading to other people.

Antibiotics vs. Antivirals

Antibiotics Antivirals
The immune system is assisted by antibiotics in preventing bacterial infections. Since bacteria frequently divide outside of cells, antibiotics can easier target them. The majority of bacterial infections may typically be treated with an antibiotic. But viruses are unaffected by the antibiotics. Only one particular virus can be combatted by each antiviral product. Antiviral medications are more difficult to produce, because viruses inside cells are more difficult to target. More viruses exist comparing to the number of antiviral medications to treat them. Antivirals are targeted “weapons.”

Antivirals: Side-Effects

The strength of the side-effects fully depends on the type of an antiviral medication and its dosage. The following side-effects are among the most common:

  • Dizziness;
  • Fatigue;
  • Headache;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Insomnia;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Cough;
  • Pain in the joints and muscles;
  • Skin rash.

IMPORTANT! Make sure you consult your doctor if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant before you start taking an antiviral medication.