KONTAN.CO.ID – Jakarta. The corona virus pandemic is not over. Now in China there is another virus attack, namely norovirus. On the other hand, the rain started to come, allowing the emergence of bacteria that could harm health.
Bacteria and viruses are types of pathogens that can cause dangerous infections. It is difficult to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections because they have many similarities. For example, these two types of infection can be spread through coughing, sneezing, and close contact with an infected person or surface.
Either viral or bacterial infection, both can trigger acute and chronic infections or latent infections that don’t cause initial symptoms. Generally, viruses and bacteria can cause infections of the respiratory or digestive tract.
In people with flu or colds, for example, bacterial and viral infections can cause a stuffy, runny nose, sore throat, and fever. Viruses that often cause disease with these symptoms are of many types. However, the most common are rhinovirus.
In some cases, secondary bacterial infections can also occur during or after a cold. Common examples of secondary bacterial infections include: sinus infection, ear infection, pneumonia.
Symptoms of a secondary bacterial infection can last more than 10 to 14 days. Meanwhile, a bacterial or viral infection that attacks the digestive tract can also trigger nausea, diarrhea, or stomach cramps.
Infections affecting digestion generally fall into the following two categories:
- Gastroenteritis caused by contact with feces or vomit from an infected person.
- Food poisoning caused by ingestion of contaminated food or liquids.
Gastroenteritis and food poisoning can be caused by viral and bacterial infections. So, what are the specific differences between viral and bacterial infection?
Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that thrive in various types of environments. Some types of bacteria live in extreme cold or heat.
However, some live in the human digestive system and help improve digestive function. Most of the bacteria do not harm humans but some can trigger infection. Infections caused by bacteria can include: sore throat tuberculosis urinary tract infection.
Meanwhile, viruses have a body structure that is smaller than bacteria and requires a living host – such as a human, plant or animal – to reproduce. If it does not find a host, the virus cannot survive.
When the virus enters the human body, it attacks some cells and takes over the functions of the cells, directing them to produce the virus. Diseases caused by viral infections include: chicken pox AIDS colds flu.
In some cases, it may be difficult to determine whether your symptoms are due to a viral or bacterial infection. Because, there are several types of diseases that can occur due to infection with these two types of pathogens, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and diarrhea – can be caused by bacteria or viruses.
To determine the difference, we must consult a doctor because viral and bacterial infections can be dangerous and require different treatment. Usually, the doctor will determine the diagnosis through a physical examination and medical history. If needed, the doctor can also do a blood or urine test.
Treating viral and bacterial infections Infections caused by bacteria and viruses require different methods of treatment. Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics. However, antibiotics cannot be effective against viral infections.
Treating viral infections is usually only done to relieve symptoms. Meanwhile, the body will work on its own to handle it.
Relieving symptoms of a viral infection can be done in the following ways: drink more fluids to prevent dehydration, get plenty of rest, take pain medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to relieve aches, pains, and fever drinking decongestants to help treat the nose runny or stuffy.
This article has been published on Kompas.com with the title “Know the difference between viral and bacterial infections“,
Author: Ariska Puspita Anggraini
Editor: Ariska Puspita Anggraini