Viral vs. Bacterial Infections

Viral vs. Bacterial Infections

There are two types of infections: bacterial and viral. Most viral infections can be treated with symptom control measures while bacterial infections require antibiotics. Some common bacterial infections include strep throat, whooping cough, and urinary tract infections, while viral infections include the common cold, GI bugs, sore throat, and the flu. There are certain infections that can be either bacterial or viral and they include middle ear infections, conjunctivitis, bronchitis, and sinus infections. Most viral infections have nonspecific complaints and last from 5-10 days. Symptoms initially get worse but then gradually improve, more often than not the affected person has a family member or friend that is also ill or has recently been ill with similar symptoms. Both viral and bacterial infections can be contagious, but are not always so. Incubation periods vary depending on the type of infection. Both bacterial and viral infections can cause fevers, diarrhea/vomiting, headaches, cough, congestion and feelings of fatigue. It is important to schedule an appointment with your HealthSource primary care provider if you are unsure if you have a viral or bacterial infection. 

Submitted by: Sahara Dorsey, C-FNP at HealthSource West Clermont