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Viral Infections

Viral infections are caused by viruses that are genetic material—ribonucleic acid (RNA) or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)—inside a microscopic protein capsule. Viruses survive by infecting hosts, like human beings, and spreading their genetic material inside the host. They do not need to take in food or produce waste. The only function of viral infections is to spread their DNA.

As viruses spread their DNA through your body, they kill your cells. Viruses cause a wide range of common and rare infections including:

Antibiotics are made to fight bacteria, so they do not work against viruses. Common conditions, such as ear infections, can be caused by either a virus or a bacterium. Your doctor may not give you an antibiotic for viral conditions in order to support responsible use of antibiotics and prevent the rise of bacterial infections that do not respond to antibiotics.

Indiana University Health infectious diseases specialists use advanced diagnostic tools and treatments to care for patients with viral infections. Our physicians provide comprehensive care in the hospital and outpatient setting to prevent and manage viral infections. We are also dedicated to the prevention of infections through proper hand washing, sanitization of surfaces and materials, and vaccinations.

Our partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine gives us access to the latest research and clinical trials to treat your condition. We understand how frightening and confusing viruses can be and we are here to answer all your questions.

We also provide a wide range of vaccinations, including shots for shingles and yellow fever that are not offered at many hospitals. Immunizations protect us against viruses. Vaccines use dead or weakened viruses to trigger our immune system into creating antibodies (proteins that fight diseases). Once your body produces an antibody for a specific virus or bacteria, you are usually immune to that virus and will not get sick if exposed to it. For the best protection against viral diseases, stay up to date on all vaccinations.

Questions about Ebola

If you call IU Health to schedule an appointment or visit an IU Health facility, we will ask if you have travelled outside of the country in the past 21 days. We are asking this question to help protect our patients and team members, given the recent cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that have emerged elsewhere in the United States. This is just one of the many steps that we are taking to protect our patients, their families, our healthcare providers and the community at large. Thank you for trusting us with your care.

For more information about Ebola, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Indiana State Department of Health

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Viral Infections Treatment Information

Our physicians offer comprehensive treatment of viral infections through the following services:

Viral Infections Locations & Physicians

Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.

Find a Specialist

Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.

Viral Infections Support Services

Find out how you can prevent viral infections at the website below.