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Bacteria And Viruses, What’s The Difference?

Bacteria And Viruses are organisms that are much smaller than those that can be seen with the naked eye. Both are around us and both can cause infectious diseases.

Even though they look the same, they have many differences. In order not to misunderstand the two, here we will discuss some of the differences between bacterial and viral infections.

Bacteria And Viruses
Bacteria And Viruses

Understanding Bacteria And Viruses


Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that thrive in a variety of environments, including extreme ones. Some bacteria can cause health problems, but most do no harm to humans. For example, the bacteria that live in the intestines help digest food.


Viruses are smaller than bacteria and require a host to live and reproduce, such as humans, plants or animals. Without it, they cannot survive. When the virus enters the body, it attacks some cells, takes over the machinery of the cells, and redirects them to produce viruses.

Spread Bacteria And Viruses

Bacteria and viruses are both contagious, which means they can be passed from person to person. Following are several ways of transmitting bacteria and viruses according to the Healthline page:


  • Close contact with infected individuals, such as touching and kissing.
  • Contact with body fluids of an infected individual, such as during sexual contact or when the person coughs or sneezes.
  • Transmission from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Coming into contact with a surface that has been contaminated with bacteria, such as a doorknob or faucet handle and then touching your face, nose or mouth.
  • Infected insect bites.
  • Eating contaminated food or water.


  • Close contact with someone infected with the virus.
  • Contact with body fluids of a person infected with the virus.
  • Transmission from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Contact with contaminated surfaces.
  • Infected insect bites.
  • Consuming contaminated food or water.


You need to consult a doctor if you suspect you have a bacterial or viral infection. In some cases, it can be difficult to determine whether a disease is viral or bacterial because many diseases can be caused by both, according to the WebMD page. However, the doctor may be able to determine the cause by taking a medical history and performing a physical examination.

If deemed necessary, the doctor will order a blood or urine test to help confirm the diagnosis, or a tissue culture test to identify bacteria or viruses. Sometimes, the diagnosis requires a biopsy of the affected tissue.



Most viral infections do not require special treatment. Treatment usually focuses on relieving symptoms while the body works on its own to clear the infection. The treatment needed can include things like:

  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Plenty of rest.
  • Using over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve aches, pains, and fever.
  • Take a decongestant to help with a stuffy or runny nose.
  • Suck on a throat lozenge to help soothe a sore throat.


Bacteria are usually treated with antibiotics. There are many types of antibiotics and they all work to prevent bacteria from growing and dividing effectively.

Antibiotics cannot be used to fight viral infections or taken carelessly. The reason is, excessive administration of antibiotics can cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. As a result, more and more bacterial infections are more difficult to treat.

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