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Biology for Kids

Viruses

What are viruses?

Viruses are very small particles that can infect animals and plants and make them sick. Viruses are made up of genetic materials like DNA and are protected by a coating of protein.

Viruses hijack the cells of living organisms. They inject their genetic material right into the cell and take over. They then use the cell to make more viruses and take over more cells.

Are viruses alive?

Scientists differ on whether viruses are actually alive or not. Many people say they are non-living because they cannot reproduce without the aid of a host. Viruses also do not metabolize food into energy or have organized cells, which are usually characteristics of living things.

Characteristics of Viruses Why are viruses bad?

When viruses invade a body's cells and begin to multiply, they make the host sick. Viruses can cause all sorts of diseases.

How do viruses spread?

Viruses are very small and lightweight. They can float through the air, survive in water, or even on the surface of your skin. Viruses can be passed from one person to another by shaking hands, touching food, through water, or through the air when a person coughs or sneezes.

Viruses can also be passed on by insect bites, animals, or through bad food.

Examples of Viruses

There are many viruses that can infect people and make them sick. One of the most common is influenza which causes people to get the flu. Other diseases caused by viruses include the common cold, measles, mumps, yellow fever, and hepatitis.

How to Avoid Getting Infected

There are things you can do to help reduce your chance of getting infected by a virus. Here are a few examples: How are viruses treated?

There is little that doctors can do to treat viruses. In most cases our body's immune system fights off the virus. Scientists have developed vaccines that help our bodies to build up immunity to a specific virus. One example of a vaccine is the flu shot. The flu shot helps the body to develop its own defenses against the flu called antibodies.

Interesting Facts about Viruses Activities

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More Biology Subjects

Cell
The Cell
Cell Cycle and Division
Nucleus
Ribosomes
Mitochondria
Chloroplasts
Proteins
Enzymes

The Human Body
Human Body
Brain
Nervous System
Digestive System
Sight and the Eye
Hearing and the Ear
Smelling and Tasting
Skin
Muscles
Breathing
Blood and Heart
Bones
List of Human Bones
Immune System
Organs

Nutrition
Nutrition
Vitamins and Minerals
Carbohydrates
Lipids
Enzymes

Genetics
Genetics
Chromosomes
DNA
Mendel and Heredity
Hereditary Patterns
Proteins and Amino Acids

Plants
Photosynthesis
Plant Structure
Plant Defenses
Flowering Plants
Non-Flowering Plants
Trees
Living Organisms
Scientific Classification
Animals
Bacteria
Protists
Fungi
Viruses

Disease
Infectious Disease
Medicine and Pharmaceutical Drugs
Epidemics and Pandemics
Historical Epidemics and Pandemics
Immune System
Cancer
Concussions
Diabetes
Influenza


Science >> Biology for Kids





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