Bacterial Versus Viral: Knowing the Differences

Bacterial Versus Viral: Knowing the Differences

November 15, 2014

It’s something that’s confused often enough; is it a viral infection or a bacterial infection? It may seem like a small thing to distinguish, however, that small distinction can have a huge impact on not only how the infection will be treated, but also on how the infection affects your body. Here are just a few facts to make it easier to know the difference when it comes down to bacterial infections and viral infections:

Bacteria are single celled organisms that are complex and generally harmless, while most viruses cause infections and diseases. In fact, most bacteria is helpful and necessary for our bodies as they aid in things like digestion and providing essential nutrients. Fewer than one percent of bacteria cause diseases or infections in people. Viruses, on the other hand, are tiny when compared to bacteria and cannot live on their own as an organism; viruses need hosts. Most viruses cause diseases in humans and even have specific cells that they attack or focus on.

Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics while viral infections require different methods. As bacterial infections are incredibly adaptable, antibiotics are not always successful. It’s important for any family medical provider in White Salmon, WA to only prescribe antibiotics when there is sustainable evidence of a bacterial infection. Antibiotics will do nothing to alleviate a viral infection. Many vaccines have been developed to address viruses; this includes vaccines for diseases such as polio and measles. However, viral infections are typically much more difficult to treat than bacterial ones, due to viruses extremely small size and tendency to reproduce inside cells.

Bacterial and viral infections tend to have similar symptoms and are spread in similar ways. Due to the fact that both bacteria and viruses are microbes, they are often spread in the same fashion. This includes through contact with contaminated people, animals and surfaces. They can both cause acute, chronic and latent infections. They each can also cause diseases. For these reasons, it’s incredibly important to contact your family medical provider in White Salmon, WA if you believe you are suffering from either a bacterial or viral infection, as both could potentially be serious and life-threatening.

As stated earlier, determining whether or not an infection is viral or bacterial is of utmost importance to any family medical provider in White Salmon, WA. This is essential information that can then be used to help any medical professional better treat and care for any patient.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach for medical care, especially when it comes down to viral and bacterial infections. At White Salmon Family Practice, our nurse practitioner and the rest of our medical staff have the expertise and training to care for you and your family members, whether you are suffering from a bacterial infection or a viral infection. We have the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure that you and your family receive only the best care. Call us today at 509-493-1470 to schedule an appointment and begin your journey back to health!

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