A virus is a very small infectious agent. They can grow only in living cells/ body. The most common viral infection is respiratory infections like sore throat / common cold. Other viral infections are gastroenteritis, hepatitis, meningitis, chickenpox, rabies, etc.
Viruses are contagious ie transmitted through close contacts by swallowing, inhaling, sexually, to baby during childbirth and during transfusion of contaminated blood.
Bacteria are also minute organisms however 90% of bacteria are harmless. They can grow on any surface. They can also cause fever, infections like urinary tract infection, throat infections and infections to any part of the body.
How to differentiate bacterial and viral infections?
The simplest difference is that bacteria responds to antibiotics.
Mild bacterial infection heals itself by body immunity powers, however, severe bacterial infections need antibiotics.
Blood tests are done to inspect bacterial infections and they can be readily grown to find out which antibiotic they respond to.
A viral infection, however, is self-limiting most of the time and needs only symptomatic control i.e. for fever doctors prescribe paracetamol, and for allergy an anti-allergic medicine.
Sometimes viral infections are superimposed by bacterial infections (coexist) and then your symptoms deteriorate. You should immediately consult a doctor if you are under the same situation.
Drugs and Vaccinations
We have both antiviral drugs and vaccinations to cure and prevent viral infections Since virus change their traits very frequently we have a new type of virus coming up very frequently and that is the reason we don’t have a permanent cure for most of the viruses.
A vaccine is made and the virus changes its trait and becomes resistant. Hence we keep struggling with new outbreaks of viral infections. The only good thing about viral infection is that they are mostly destroyed by body immunity. Viral infections exacerbate only in people with low immunity like old age, hypertension, blood pressure, infants and immunocompromised people
Prevention, as we know, is always better than cure, so we should do some prevention like frequently washing hands, maintaining hygiene in the kitchen, avoiding contact with infected people, sneezing and coughing into tissues.