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Infections-Knowing the Differences Between Viral and Bacterial Infections

Updated on January 22, 2011

While the majority of people do not know the difference between a bacterial infection and a viral infection, knowing and understanding could be the difference in life or death. Common things that people do know about the two infections are that they both make you sick, and they share many of the same traits. So, then where are the differences, and what can you do about keeping yourself safe from becoming infected with a more serious infection?

The following article will share with you some of the common traits and characteristics of both bacterial and viral infections and what you can do to stay as healthy as you can.

Infection Facts

Average lifespan of a Viral Infection is approximately 10 days. A bacterial infection can last over two weeks. When you have cold and flu symptoms which include watery eyes, runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, aches and pains and the chills. This is all due to a viral infection and not a bacterial infection. If you are an adult that has a sore throat but not really a high fever, more than likely have a viral infetion and not a bacterial infection such as strep throat. Also most coughs do not need an antibiotic.

Bottom line is that viral infection more often than not, although pesky and annoyng, and may even leave you feeling like you want to go to sleep and not wake up for weeks; still only require over the counter medications or herbal remedies. The rest is up to your body. Your body will fight through the illness and get you back in good shape as long as you allow yourself to rest and recouperate.

A bacterial infection is usually accompanied by a severe fever that does not want to seem to break for what may seem like forever. A thck, colored discharge is consistently flowing from your nose. And you will have a chronic cough, which is a cough that can not be relieved by temporary measures such as cough medicine. It will last for a good length of the time you are laid up and will only dissipate when you are put on antibiotics by your doctor. Remember though, antibiotics should only be used when your doctor recommends them and gives you the appropriate kind for your ailment. Never try to diagnose yourself from past experience or reading up on the internet. Your doctor must be contacted so you can receive the best care possible.

In Canada, one of the requirements of our health care system is that all children get immunized for certain bacterial infections such as meninjitis and other dangerous ones that have been known to kill children. A child is not even allowed to go to school here unless they have had all of the required shots. I believe this is a good practice. Is it worth it to ignore immunizing your children knowing the possibility is there for your child to die or infect someone else who could die because they haven't been protected?

These are just a few basics elements of how bacterial and viral infections differ from one another. Making sure you stay healthy by eating right, and getting all your shots, and staying active will enable your body to withstand any serious bacterial infections that could end up putting you in the hospital, or worse yet, ending your life.


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    • HERBCYCLOPEDIA profile image


      7 years ago

      Garlic and Onion are two of the most popular anti-bacterial agents due to their content of Allicin and other anti-bacterial active constituents.


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