How To Treat Viral Infections – Bacterial infections are diseases that can affect the skin, lungs, brain, blood, and other parts of the body. You get them from single-celled organisms that multiply or release toxins into your body. Common bacterial illnesses include urinary tract infections, food poisoning, STIs, and some skin, sinus, and ear infections. They are often treated with antibiotics.

Bacterial infections can spread between people, on airborne particles, through insect bites, or through contaminated food, water, or surfaces.

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Bacterial infections are any disease or condition caused by bacterial growth or by poisons (toxins). You can get sick from having harmful bacteria on your skin, gut (GI tract), lungs, heart, brain, blood, or anywhere else in your body.

Boy Suffering From Symptoms Of Viral Infection Or Respiratory Illness Set, Rhinorrhea, Sore Throat, Temperature, Cough Stock Vector

Harmful bacteria in the environment, an infected person or animal, an insect bite, or something contaminated (such as food, water, or surfaces) can cause infections. Bacteria that aren’t normally harmful but end up somewhere in the body they shouldn’t be can also cause infections.

Bacteria are living things with only one cell that can reproduce quickly. There are millions of bacteria all around us, in the soil or water and on the surfaces of our homes and workplaces. There are even millions of bacteria living on your skin and inside your body.

Most bacteria are not harmful, and many are even helpful. They can help you digest food and kill other harmful forms of bacteria that try to invade your body. But even useful ones can hurt you if they grow where they’re not supposed to.

Bacterial infections are caused by living, single-celled organisms that can reproduce by themselves. Only some types of bacteria cause disease in people.

Table 1 From How I Treat Respiratory Viral Infections In The Setting Of Intensive Chemotherapy Or Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

An organism that is not made up of cells causes viral infections. Viruses always need to infect humans or other living things to make more copies of themselves.

Bacteria can cause many types of infections, depending on how you are exposed and what part of your body it infects. Some common types of bacterial infections include:

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There are many bacterial infections that are usually not serious or can be easily treated with antibiotics. Impetigo and boils are examples. However, any bacterial infection that goes deep into the body, such as the blood, heart, lungs, or brain, can be life-threatening.

Bacterial infections can be spread through airborne droplets or dust, direct or indirect contact, a vector (such as a tick or mosquito), or contaminated (vehicular) food or water.

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You can get bacterial infections through the air from contaminated dust or droplets of water or mucus (such as phlegm or mucus). Legionnaires’ disease, whooping cough, tuberculosis, meningococcal disease, and strep throat were spread this way.

You can get bacterial infections from direct contact with infected skin or mucous membranes, or from indirect contact with contaminated surfaces. Bacterial diseases you get from contact include skin infections and some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Infections you get from insects (such as mosquitoes, ticks, or fleas) are called vector-borne. You can get Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and shigellosis through vectors.

Although it sounds like something you get from your car, “vehicular” usually means you get sick from water or food (the “vehicle” of transmission). You can get intestinal (gastrointestinal) infections.

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Anyone can get a bacterial illness, and most of us will at some point in our lives. You are at higher risk of getting an infection if you have:

Bacteria can harm your body when they reproduce or by releasing poisons (toxins) that damage your cells. Infections that only affect the surface of the skin or mucous membranes (such as the throat or intestines) are usually not serious, but sometimes the bacteria can spread throughout the body and cause life-threatening illness. If the bacteria gets into the blood, it can cause sepsis, a reaction to infection that causes organ damage, which is sometimes fatal.

Symptoms of bacterial infections vary depending on which part of your body is infected. The main symptom is often fever, except for skin infections, which usually cause redness or pain in the skin. Common symptoms of bacterial infections include:

Burning or pain when you urinate, discharge from the penis or vagina, increased need to urinate, painful intercourse.

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Many types of bacteria cause infections. You usually get bacterial infections when bacteria enter your body through your mouth, nose, eyes, or a cut in your skin. Sometimes bacteria that normally live on your skin or body get into places they’re not supposed to (like through an injury) and reproduce.

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Yes, many bacterial infections are contagious from person to person, including whooping cough, tuberculosis, strep throat, meningococcal disease, bacterial STIs, and MRSA. Infections you get from food, mosquitoes, or ticks are usually not contagious.

A health care provider diagnoses a bacterial infection by listening to your symptoms, doing an exam (listening to your heart and lungs, feeling your abdomen, looking at your skin), and taking samples to check for bacteria.

If they think you have bacteria in your lungs, brain, or other internal organ, they may get X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, or CT scans to look for signs of infection.

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Your provider may send samples of body fluid or tissue to a lab to look for signs of an infection (antibodies or antigens). A lab technician may also try to grow bacteria from your samples. The types of samples they can take include:

Not all bacterial infections need to be treated; some disappear on their own. When you need treatment, healthcare professionals use antibiotics. Depending on where the infection is and how severe it is, antibiotics may be prescribed such as:

Sometimes certain antibiotics stop working and don’t kill or stop bacteria (antibiotic resistance). Because of this, doctors and nurse practitioners are careful when and how they prescribe antibiotics. They only prescribe them if they think they will help you. It is important that you take any medication as prescribed for the full course, even if you start to feel better.

What to expect depends on the type of bacterial infection you have. Less serious bacterial infections can be treated with medications at home. Others require hospitalization and can cause lasting damage. Bacterial infections in internal organs or in the blood can be life-threatening.

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Bacterial infections inside the body can cause serious complications. The most serious complication is sepsis, a life-threatening reaction to an infection that causes organ damage. Sepsis can be fatal.

If you are prescribed antibiotics for a bacterial infection, you will usually need to take them for a week or two, although you will probably feel better sooner. Take all your medications as prescribed, otherwise you may not get rid of all the bacteria.

Antibiotics usually cure bacterial infections. Sometimes they go away on their own or can be treated without antibiotics, but it’s always best to talk to a healthcare provider about the best way to treat them.

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Contact a health care provider if you have symptoms of a bacterial infection, especially if you’ve had them for more than a couple of days. Be sure to follow up with your provider if you’ve been treating an infection and your symptoms don’t improve or get worse.

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Go to the nearest ER or seek immediate medical attention if you have signs of a serious infection, such as:

Bacteria live all around us, even millions of them live in or on us. They help us digest nutrients, protect us from harmful invaders, and even help make delicious food. But like puppies in a shoe factory, they can cause a lot of damage if they’re somewhere they shouldn’t be. Bacterial infections can be a temporary nuisance, but they can also become a life-threatening situation. Always check with a healthcare provider to make sure you know the best way to manage a bacterial illness.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy Cold and flu season is here, it’s time to turn to your trusted medicine cabinet for those over-the-counter aids. Get out the cough drops and steam rub!

But if a few days go by and you still have persistent symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. You could have a more serious viral or bacterial infection. Let’s look at the differences between the two and the best ways to deal with them. Because trust us, there is a difference.

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This is where things can get tricky. Because your treatment will depend on which of the three categories your illness falls into: bacterial, viral, or a mixture of both.

A virus is a particle that can take over and infect a healthy cell. Bacteria is a microorganism that can be found around and inside you. Bacteria can be useful or cause disease.

Scheduling an appointment with your doctor can seem like a hassle, especially when they suggest an over-the-counter remedy. Or, in the case of a virus, you have to let it run its course until it’s cleared from your body. It’s still tempting to order an antibiotic, but it could do more harm than good.

When you overuse or misuse antibiotics, your body can become resistant. This means that the next time you really need one, your body may not be able to fight back

Figure 2 From How I Treat Respiratory Viral Infections In The Setting Of Intensive Chemotherapy Or Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

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