Viral infections are caused by viruses, whereas bacterial infections are caused by bacteria. That is the simple part. Because both can induce fever and irritability, distinguishing between the two requires medical intervention. And the therapies differ greatly.
Every day, parents bring their ill children to the pediatrician for assistance in evaluating whether their sick child is suffering from "just a cold" or something more serious.
Every year, children's colds cause millions of lost school days and millions of missed workdays for Adults. The most frequent viruses are those that induce "just a cold." However, we also know that our children might get other, less common illnesses, which need to be evaluated by a pediatrician to see if medications are needed.
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A runny nose, cough, low-grade fever, sore throat, and difficulty sleeping are all symptoms of common viral illnesses such as upper respiratory infections. Antibiotics and antiviral medicines will not help you recover faster from a cold.
Children's upper respiratory infections can last up to 14 days and occur more frequently than adults' (average six to eight per year).
Influenza is a viral infection that shares many of the same symptoms as the flu, but also comes with more severe bodily pains and a higher temperature. Unlike upper respiratory infections, the flu's duration can be reduced by antiviral medication if caught within the first 48 hours of sickness.
At the start of each "flu season," a dose of flu vaccination (or two doses a month apart in the case of a small kid receiving the flu vaccine for the first time) can assist to avoid influenza infections.
We grow increasingly concerned in certain situations that the infection is caused by a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections can occur as a result of "secondary infection" (where a virus began the process but a bacteria followed) when the following conditions exist:
· Symptoms last longer than anticipated. A virus usually lasts 10-14 days.
· The fever is greater than one would expect from a virus.
· Fever worsens rather than improves after a few days of sickness.
Secondary infections include sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia, to name a few. A runny nose that lasts longer than 10-14 days, for example, might indicate a sinus infection that requires antibiotic treatment. An ear infection is likely if you have ear discomfort and a fresh onset fever following many days of a runny nose. These illnesses may or may not require antibiotics, depending on age.
Pneumonia can be identified by a persistent cough, stomach pain, or breathing difficulties. Pneumonia can be diagnosed with a physical exam or a chest x-ray.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can be difficult to identify and cause kidney damage if left untreated, are another bacterial disease that we are concerned about. If your kid develops a fever without a clear cause of sickness, your doctor will most likely want to check his or her urine. UTIs are more prevalent in uncircumcised small girls and newborn boys under the age of one year.
Bacterial diseases such as sepsis (bacteria in the blood) and bacterial meningitis are more significant problems (bacterial infection in the lining of the brain and spinal cord). In older children with a stiff neck or changes in mental status, we become concerned about meningitis. Babies are less likely to display these signs, so we're more likely to test them to be sure these infections aren't the cause of their sickness.
Remember that many of your child's vaccinations in the first few years are designed to protect him or her from dangerous bacterial illnesses.
Diagnosing Bacterial Infection
A complete blood count and cultures of the fluid in question are two tests that are commonly used to aid in the identification of a bacterial illness.
Whether the infection is caused by a virus or bacterium, you should keep an eye on your kid for any of the following symptoms and get medical help if they appear:
· Dehydration is manifested by a decrease in fluid intake, urine less than three times in a 24-hour period, or a decrease in tears when weeping.
· Fast breathing, nostril-flaring, and the activation of rib, stomach, or neck muscles to breathe are all examples of increased effort of breathing.
· Significantly reduced activity or responsiveness
• There was no improvement during a three- to five-day period.