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Glenwood, MN
A 36-year-old female asked:

How can i tell the difference between a viral versus a bacterial infection?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Klein
Family Medicine 22 years experience
Often timing or test: There are many different types of viral infections and bacterial infections so it depends on location. by type of infection: sore throat: bacteria can easily be identified with an office test. if negative usually viral sinusitis: after a cold is going on for 7+ days and getting better, suddenly gets worse pneumonia: doctor exam, x-ray, culture flu (viral): type of symptoms, office test
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Dr. John Munshower
Family Medicine 31 years experience
It can be tough: Doctors often have a hard time telling the same thing. Generally, viral illnesses may produce a low fever, clear colored mucus, generalized fatigue, muscle aches, joint pains and are treated with supportive care and symptomatic relief. There are anti-viral meds for some cases. Bacterial infections may be harsher with higher fever, colored mucus, worsening symptoms, etc. See Doc if concerned.
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Dr. David Lipkin
Internal Medicine 53 years experience
No simple answer: There are hundreds of known bacterial and viral diseases. Some viral illnesses are mild, others severe. The same for bacterial infections. If you have a specific condition or illness in mind let us know so we can give you some guidance.
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NY
A female asked:

How to tell the difference between a fungal and bacterial infection?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 50 years experience
Culture: Culture of the lesion, exudate, biopsy or blood will provide the definitive distinction. Superficial infections may be resolved by microscopic examination of exudate or scrapping.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 33-year-old member asked:

What is the difference between how viral infections and bacterial infections affect the body?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sewa Legha
Medical Oncology 51 years experience
Ggod question!: There are some clear differences, which one ought to know. Most virus infections cause a short illness of 3-5 days and then go away on their own. We do not have good antibiotics against the virus(this is typical scenario for upper respiratory infections(one of the common infections). Bacterial infections are more serious and definitely require antibiotics, otherwise you will get very sick , ending.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 48-year-old member asked:

What si the difference between a viral and bacterial infection?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Stuart Hickerson
Family Medicine 33 years experience
Bacteria are cells: Bacteria are cells, they are living and have a cell wall. Viruses consist of dna, or RNA usually with proteins around the nuclear material, but they do not have a cell wall. Viruses are about 1/10th the size of a bacteria. Bacteria cause infection by causing an inflammatory response while viruses get inside your cells then replicate and cause problems.From the inside out of your cells.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Singapore
A 18-year-old female asked:

What is the difference between viral infection and bacterial infection? I'm currently having viral infection according to my doctor.

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. David Barrere
Obstetrics and Gynecology 10 years experience
Virus v Bacteria: The simple answer, and not trying to sound flip, is that viruses causes viral illnesses, bacteria cause bacterial infections. Antibiotics can help with bacterial infections, but only some antiviral medications are available to help with the course of some viral illnesses. Most viral illnesses just have to run their course.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

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Last updated Dec 8, 2016
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