About Bacterial Infections and Viruses

There are many similarities between bacterial and viral infections. For one thing, both are infections that are caused by microbes such bacteria and viruses. The ailments they spread could be via:

• Sneezing and coughing
• Being in close contact with people who have been infected
• Contact with water and food that has been contaminated
• Contact with infected livestock or pets
• Some insects, ticks and fleas also spread infections

In certain cases, microbes can cause short-lived but acute infections. The chronic infections may last for a few weeks or months. In several cases, they may last for a lifetime. Bacterial and viral infections may cause mild or moderate or even severe diseases. Current day viral infections are different from the ones that exist in previous centuries. Today flu and HIV / Aids infections are rampant.

Microscopic Creatures

Bacteria and viruses are miniature and can be seen only through a microscope but they both are very different from each other on numerous counts. Most bacteria are actually harmless, and many help in digestion and also destroy disease-causing microbes, provide essential nutrients and fight cancer cells. Only a minuscule 1% of bacteria cause diseases in humans.

Viruses are much tinier and can not survive without a host. The only way they can reproduce is by actually attaching themselves to some cells. In many cases, they reprogram these cells to form new viruses until cells burst and die. In some cases, they turn the normal cells into cancerous or malignant ones. Another differentiating point between bacteria and viruses is that in most cases, the latter cause disease, and they are very specific about the cells that they attack.

Diagnosis

If you feel that you have contracted any viral or bacterial infection, contact a doctor without delay. Some conditions like a common cold are not life-threatening and can generally be treated at home. Some afflictions like diarrhea, pneumonia and meningitis may be a result of a viral or a bacterial infection.

Doctors are able to determine what kind of infection it is by reviewing your medical history and by conducting a physical exam. In some cases, they may ask for a urine and blood test to confirm their diagnosis, or a culture test of a tissue might be conducted.

Treatment

Antibiotics are used in the treatment of bacterial infections. The unfortunate part is that bacteria are very tenacious and adaptable and evolve at a very fast past. This means that they became resistant to antibiotics and medication that was effective earlier might be effective even within a short period of time. This has led to numerous problems in hospital settings.

When it comes to viruses, antibiotics have no effect and most medical organizations will refuse from administressing antibiotics of there is evidence of a viral infection.