In general, there is no cure for most common viruses, but vaccinations such as the flu jab contain a weakened form of the virus which will stimulate the body to produce antibodies. This will fight off that particular virus in the event of future exposure, and can help prevent them spreading. When the body's immune system detects a virus, it will usually trigger a response to produce antibodies that bind to the virus and kill the infected cell.

Common viruses

The common cold

Causes:

Commonly caused by an adenovirus, coronavirus or rhinovirus.

Influenza (flu)

Causes:

Influenza is the virus which causes seasonal flu.
 

Gastroenteritis (stomach bug)

Causes:

Caused by viruses such as rotavirus and norovirus.

Chicken Pox

Causes:

Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, mostly affecting children.

How are viruses spread?

There are a number of ways that a virus can be spread from person to person:

- Direct contact (touch)
- Exchange of saliva (coughing, sneezing)
- Contaminated food/water
- Insects that carry them between people
- Sexual contact

Once they leave the body, viruses can live on a surface for varying amounts of time depending on the specific virus. They can then be picked up by coming into contact with that same surface or object.

The time a virus can live outside of the body depends on a number of factors such as the type of virus, surface, moisture and temperature. Viruses tend to survive for longer on non-porous surfaces (such as worktops, tiles and plastic items) than on porous surfaces such as fabric and tissues. The ability to cause infection decreases the longer a virus is outside of the body.

There are a number of key battlegrounds in our homes where enemy germs, including bacteria and viruses, like to hide. You can keep these areas disinfected by having a spray bottle of Zoflora home disinfectant, diluted 1 in 40, on hand. Don’t forget: Door handles, light switches and tv remotes are all germ hot-spots. They are regularly touched throughout the day and often forgotten about when it comes to cleaning, despite some viruses being able to survive on the surface for up to 24 hours.