Is My Infection Bacterial or Viral?

January 1, 2023

Is My Infection Bacterial or Viral?

Getting sick is never fun. It can be especially a nuisance when it is cold outside and leaving your home to seek medication sounds even more miserable. In order to make the most of your trip, you should understand what kind of illness you are suffering from!

Viral infections and bacterial infections are two different kinds of illnesses that require different treatment options. Read on as our AFC Urgent Care Hickory team breaks down the difference between the two infection types below.

What Is an Infection?

An infection occurs when your body is exposed to a microbe or germ that multiplies and causes a reaction. When your body responds to the illness, it usually becomes irritated or inflamed at the site of infection and causes all of those classic illness symptoms like a sore throat, runny nose and cough.

When you have a bacterial infection, you have been infected with a strain of bacteria. Some of the most common bacterial infections are strep throat and urinary tract infections. Viral infections are caused by viruses and require a body in order to survive. Common viral infections include chickenpox and the common cold. It can be hard to tell the difference between the two types, so you can always come in to see us for an evaluation.

How Infections Spread

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Contact with contaminated surfaces
  • Long-term contact with infected people

How Do I Treat My Infection?

The treatment for the two types of infection varies greatly! If you have a bacterial infection, good news: A round of antibiotics can usually help you feel better relatively quickly. Just be sure to take your entire prescription and be responsible with your antibiotic use.

If you have a viral infection, your treatment will look a lot different. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics, so treatment usually revolves around symptom management like rest, fluids and some OTC medication to reduce your symptom severity. In any case, come see us! We have a variety of rapid tests that we can perform to help diagnose your illness to get you back on track.

Avoid Infections

  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay up to date on the recommended vaccination schedule.

Are you feeling ill? Come see us at AFC Urgent Care Hickory for a diagnosis and treatment plan today.

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