Bacterium or virus? Why you should know the difference

Examples of diseases caused by viruses[5]

  • Covid-19 (caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus)
  • Influenza (“real” flu, caused by various influenza viruses of type A and B)
  • flu-like infection (caused by various viruses (> 200), including, for example, rhino, adeno, parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial viruses)
  • Shingles (caused by the varicella zoster virus)
  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
  • measles

Bacteria and viruses are transmitted in direct contact via a droplet infection when we emit aerosols while talking, laughing, singing, sneezing or coughing.[6] Also a smear infection when we touch surfaces such as doorknobs or drinking glasses can transmit viruses or bacteria.[7]

Why should I know the difference between viruses and bacteria?

Antibiotics only help with diseases caused by bacteria. Colds or flu-like infections, however, are viral. Antibiotics do not work here, but an increase in antibiotic prescriptions can be seen in the winter.[8]

“If it doesn’t help, it doesn’t hurt” is the wrong motto here. Because the increasing use of antibiotics in humans and also in animal husbandry as well as the incorrect intake lead to bacteria adapting better and better to their environment. Previously effective antibiotics can then no longer be used for treatment.[9]

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