It’s The Most Wonderful Time of theYear

I had an interesting question recently in the office. It sounded like this — “What is the difference between bacteria and viruses?”. One of my patients asked it. Although I spend 5 years busy studying Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium, I still had to think hard.

Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are found inside and outside our bodies. They cannot be found only in the blood and spinal fluid. Scientists recognize helpful bacteria that strengthen our immunity and the ones that cause illnesses. Viruses are smaller than bacteria and can live even outside the body’s cells. They invade health cells, multiply immediately, and thus induce sicknesses of various kinds.

We all know that viruses induce colds, flu, and sinus infections during certain seasons like autumn (October) and winter (February). Many people want to get rid of the sickness as quickly as they feel the first symptoms. The typical health issues such as cold, influenza, most coughs, sinus infections, and some ear infections are caused by viruses and should not be treated with antibiotics.

Antibiotics are special medications that either kill or inhibit bacteria. The typical classes are penicillins, cephalosporins, fluroquinolones, tetracyclines, and others. They can kill or block the activity of bacteria, but the latter learned how to resist antibiotics. They modify themselves in a smart way, which reduces or eliminates the efficacy of antibiotics. They are hard to be treated and eliminated from the body.

Even the most experienced doctors are not always sure to determine if their patients have a bacterial or viral illness. Even though you want to recover as fast as possible, you should never hurry! Perhaps antibiotics are not required to treat your illness. In case you have a viral infection, you don’t need them at all. It is better for your body because they kill the microflora in your stomach, and you need to restore it with probiotics.

In case your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, be sure to take it exactly as he/she prescribed! Never skip the common doses, do not redouble or reduce them, and do not stop treatment earlier that appointed! They should never be taken for other illnesses even if the instruction claims that they can help.

You should also remember for good that prevention is the key! Wash your hands and don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Try to use an anti-microbial sanitizer, soap, water, etc. every time you return from the street. You should also get your seasonal flu vaccine.