You have a runny nose, cough, and just feel terrible. It’s likely an infection is making you sick, but which kind of germ is responsible? Bacteria and viruses are two of the most common types of infectious agents that cause our every day (and not so every day) illnesses. From the common cold to the Bubonic plague, bacteria and viruses have been apart of human life since the dawn of time.
Bacteria and viruses share many of the same characteristics but are also different in so many ways. From their structure to the treatment of the infection they cause, you’ll realize that bacteria and viruses are definitely not one and the same. Read on below to learn more about bacteria and viruses and all their differences.
All About Bacteria
Bacteria are one-celled living microorganisms. They can be shaped like a ball, rod, or spiral and are so small that if placed in a line 1,000 would fit across a pencil eraser says the National Institute for Health. Bacteria are alive, reproduce, and were “most likely the first type of life on earth,” says UrgentMED. Infections caused by bacteria can cause serious illness. These microorganisms multiple quickly and produce toxins that can destroy tissue and make you sick. Some types of infectious bacteria are E. coli, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus.
Contrary to popular opinion bacteria are not all bad. Actually less than 1-percent of bacteria cause illness says the National Institute for Health. Many types of bacteria help their hosts by aiding in digestion, getting rid of disease-causing cells, and even giving the body necessary vitamins reports the source. “Bacteria are also used in making healthy foods like yogurt and cheese” adds the National Institute for Health.