Tag Archive: viruses

  1. Bacterial Infections

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    LEARNING TO RECOGNIZE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BACTERIAL AND VIRAL INFECTIONS

    Viruses and bacteria are both essentially pathogens, or dangerous microscopic organisms that have the capacity to cause one or the other form of illness in human beings. Children are generally more affected by infections, either bacterial or viral, because their immune system still does not have the ability to fight diseases as effectively as an adult’s system can.

    CHARACTERISTICS OF VIRUSES VERSUS BACTERIA

    All viruses are simple parasites that cause us harm. On the other hand, most bacteria are beneficial to our health. Barely 10% are harmful.

    Viral infection – Viruses are parasitic microscopic organisms. When left to themselves in the air, they are potentially harmless. It is only when they come in contact with a host’s body that they turn active and start reproducing and multiplying at super-fast speed. In humans, the uncovered mucous membrane cells are the most prone to being attacked by viruses. This is what makes colds and the flu so common.

    Bacterial infection – Unlike multi-cell viruses, bacteria are single-cell organisms and reproduce asexually. Several bacteria are actually beneficial to humans and are not parasitic organisms. They can reproduce even outside a host’s body. The minute any harmful bacteria enter the human bod,y the defense mechanism kicks off and starts producing antibodies. Any antibiotics that are administered will help in this process.

    HOW THEY ARE TRANSMITTED

    Viral infections are highly contagious and can be transferred even without touching. These viruses get transmitted via sneezing, coughing and vomiting. A person can get infected by a virus due to an insect or animal bite or lack of personal hygiene.

    Bacterial infections can be transmitted by being in very close contact with an infected person. Contaminated water or food can be another cause. Touching objects or surfaces that have been contaminated can cause an infection and bacteria can enter the body through abrasions and cuts on the skin surface.

    DIFFERENCES IN DURATION AND SYMPTOMS

    Viral infections commonly last for a period of ten days. Dizziness, a sore throat, runny nose, watery eyes, diarrhea and a persistent joint ache are common symptoms.

    Bacterial infections can last for up to 2 weeks. Continuous high fever, persistent cough and a thick nasal discharge are the common symptoms. Sinus infection and ear infection are also very common bacterial afflictions.

    Effective vaccinations are available for both bacterial and viral infections. It is imperative to consult a doctor if any of the symptoms above persist beyond a couple of days.

  2. Viruses and Fever

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    THE COMMON COLD

    This is probably the most reported illness in children, and can be linked to viruses and fever. Even babies can catch a cold.

    The most common virus is the rhinovirus, as it is transmitted through touch and the air. Typical symptoms are congestion, coughing, a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes and a scratchy throat. If your child develops a fever, it is nothing out of the ordinary, since children are more susceptible to running a fever with a virus than adults are. However, it is still important to keep an eye on your child’s temperature during this time. Should it climb to above 102 or last for more than three days, go to the doctor’s office. Always check with your doctor before administering any medication, and ensure your child receives rest and plenty of fluids.

    THE FLU

    The flu is almost as common as the common cold, but it can be far more tricky to treat and can become dangerous for children. The spread of flu is often caused by the virus itself being so adaptive. What might have worked last year might not work this year.

    If your child has the flu, fever will be present (again, a temperature of a 102 or greater requires you to bring your child to their pediatrician). Additional symptoms include chills or feeling overly tired and achy.

    STOMACH FLU

    The stomach flu attacks the intestinal tract directly and can cause painful swelling of those sensitive organs and tissues. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain are often the first symptoms. If your child is listless, and complaining of a tummy ache, please do not hesitate to bring them in for an evaluation. The biggest threat with stomach flu is dehydration, so plenty of rest and fluids are essential for treatment.

    If you feel your child may have the common cold, the regular flu or the stomach flu, call us today.

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