Bacterial InfectionsLeave a Comment
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.