What is a Virus?
Viruses are tiny bundles of chemicals covered with protein. They can only start growing when they enter the cells of another living thing.
A virus can enter the body through our eyes, nose, mouth, or a break in the skin. Once in the body, the virus attacks cells one at a time. It takes over a cell and forces it to make more viruses. The cell soon bursts and all of the new viruses escape. The new viruses take over more cells and keep making new viruses. The body fights back with antibodies made by the white blood cells. When the body wins, the virus dies.
The good news is that once you have had a virus you usually don’t get it again. That’s why we get chickenpox only once. Unfortunately there are over 200 different cold viruses, so we get many colds in our lifetime.
Antibiotic medicines do not work on viruses. But now we are lucky to have vaccines (shots) that help to protect us from getting many serious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. Good handwashing habits also help to keep us from picking up viruses and bacteria.