We are flooded with micro-organisms in our environment and even inside our body, some useful and some harmful. Both bacterial and viral infections can give rise to similar, vague symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, fatigue, and cramping. These symptoms occur as the immune system tries to get rid of the infectious organisms.
However, bacterial and viral diseases differ in certain aspects such as the structure of the microorganisms and their response to different medications. Thus, it is important to distinguish between the two kinds of infection, to ensure that the correct treatment is initiated.
Bacteria are commonly single-celled microorganisms which can thrive in various environments, like in extremes of cold or heat. Although the term ‘bacteria’ is usually associated with disease, most bacteria are harmless to humans. In fact, some bacteria are normally found in our gut, helping in digestion of food and producing certain vitamins.
When bacterial infections do occur, one of the commonest symptoms is high fever. Other symptoms depend on the system or organ being affected.
Common bacterial infections in women include those of the female reproductive system. One of them is bacterial vaginosis.
A bacterial infection of the vagina, bacterial vaginosis is more common in women with multiple sex partners, women who douche or smoke.
The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis includes:
It is observed that no symptoms are noticed by about half of women who are suffering from bacterial vaginosis. For diagnosis, a pelvic examination is carried out by your gynecologist and a sample of the vaginal discharge tested.
Treatment of bacterial vaginosis:
Bacteremia is a bacterial infection of the blood, and can be serious as any part of the body can be infected due to circulation of infected blood. This condition occurs in coordination with other serious infections like those affecting the heart valves, lungs, gallbladder, kidneys or bowel. A weak immune system can lead to blood infection, commonly affecting infants or older adults. A blood culture is done to diagnose bacteremia.
Most common bacterial blood infection is sepsis, which can present as rapid breathing and confusion. Other common warning signs include:
Bacterial infection treatment includes:
Usually, the treatment for bacterial infections includes antibiotics, which will either kill the bacteria or prevent them from multiplying. However, due to the growing incidence of antibiotic resistance, it is now considered wise to prescribe antibiotics only for serious bacterial infections.
Viruses are very small microorganisms, made up of genetic material inside a protein coating.Viruses are like hijackers invading living, normal cells. They use these cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves (replication). This results in sickness due to killing, damaging, or modifying the healthy cells. Different viruses attack different body organs and systems.
Some of the symptoms caused by the viral infections include:
Viral infections may not always lead to disease as the body’s immune system may be able to fight it off. If needed, the treatment for viral infections includes:
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.