Differences between viral infection and bacterial
Acute respiratory infections always appear out of place. Yesterday, the body was full of strength, and today weakness, fever, runny nose just knocked down. To find the right treatment, you need to figure out who became the culprit of the disease – viruses or bacteria. Of course, doing it yourself is not easy. Nevertheless, there are some tips on how to distinguish a viral infection from a bacterial one.
Why you need to distinguish between viruses and bacteria
In the autumn-winter period, the number of colds increases. Respiratory infections are most often caused by viruses or bacteria. Pathologies provoked by such pathogens have similar symptoms. Therefore, it is very difficult to distinguish between them. Meanwhile, it is necessary to determine the type of infection.
This is important because:
Antiviral drugs are prescribed to fight against a viral infection, and antibiotics in the case of a bacterial infection. If the treatment is chosen incorrectly, it is difficult to talk about the consequences. Antibiotics are completely useless before viruses. And antiviral drugs will not help cope with bacteria.
Lack of adequate treatment can lead to serious consequences. Some viral diseases (of course, we are not talking about the flu) can go away on their own, without any serious treatment. But suppressing a bacterial infection without antibiotics is impossible. And in this case, the patient may develop serious complications.
Different drugs are prescribed for bacterial and viral infections.
Before you figure out how to distinguish a viral infection from a bacterial infection, you need to understand what pathologies are involved.
According to statistics, viruses become the cause of acute respiratory infections of the respiratory tract in almost 92-98% of cases. Such diseases last an average of 10-14 days. During the first week, the patient complains of severe symptoms, fever. Then the acute phase is replaced by a recovery period, lasting from 3 to 7 days.
The following infections are classified as viral:
rhinovirus (the virus affects the mucous membranes of the nose and nasopharynx);
adenovirus (this is a whole group of acute respiratory viral infections, in which the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract are affected, eyes are watery, mild symptoms of intoxication are concerned);
parainfluenza (pathology causes moderate intoxication and damage to the larynx, upper respiratory tract);
infectious mononucleosis (the disease is accompanied by fever, acute sore throat and swollen lymph nodes);
MS (respiratory syncytial) – (disease affecting the lower respiratory tract);
metapneumovirus (the virus affects the respiratory system and digestive tract, which is manifested by diarrhea).
Incorrect treatment of viral pathologies can lead to the attachment of bacterial complications.
Such diseases are usually caused by bacteria that live in the human body. They are controlled by the immune system and are classified as opportunistic.
Bacterial colds occur due to hypothermia
As soon as the body’s defenses are reduced, such bacteria begin to activate. They can affect the mucous membranes of the mouth, pharynx, and nose. Bacteria are able to penetrate the bronchi, sinuses, lungs, trachea.
Severe hypothermia is likely to cause a bacterial infection, so when thinking about how to distinguish it from a viral infection, do not forget to analyze previous events.
Bacterial infection manifests itself in the form of:
sinusitis (sinusitis, frontal sinusitis);
acute tonsillitis (tonsillitis);
How to distinguish a viral infection from a bacterial cold: 4 important nuances
The easiest and easiest way to determine the type of infection is to see a doctor. Doctors regularly come across such questions, so they can recognize the pathogen with the naked eye.
But if they have doubts, then experts will suggest taking tests:
macroscopic analysis of smears from the nose, throat;
rapid tests for influenza virus and streptococcus.
In order to independently identify the type of infection, doctors advise to pay attention to the following points.
The common cold is often accompanied by a runny nose, cough. Be sure to look at the discharge from the nose and sputum, exhausting during coughing.
The following features will help to recognize pathologies:
Viral infection. Such a pathogen is characterized by liquid, transparent discharge. Most often they are serous.
Bacterial The discharge is thick. They are green or brownish. A tan mucus usually indicates the presence of pus.
Both types of infection can be accompanied by fever. Therefore, it is important to pay attention not to indicators, but to the following points:
Viral The temperature rises immediately. The moment of onset of the disease is pronounced. High temperature holds for several days. Then it goes down.
Bacterial Develops gradually. Sluggish start. The temperature rises over several days.