Many Children Are Misdiagnosed With Viruses
Currently, when a child visits the doctor or the emergency room with a fever, no quick method exists to determine if the child has a bacterial or viral illness.
Diagnosis relies on a blood sample or spinal fluid being taken, transferred to a lab, and waiting more than 48 hours to see if bacteria grow in the sample.
Prof. Michael Levin, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, who led the study, explains: Fever is one of the most common reasons children are brought to medical care. However, every year many children are sent away from emergency departments or doctors surgeries because the medical team thinks they have a viral infection when in fact they are suffering from life-threatening bacterial infections which are often only diagnosed too late.
Conversely, many other children are admitted to hospital and receive antibiotics because the medical team is unable to immediately exclude the possibility of a bacterial infection but in fact, they are suffering from a virus, he adds.
Levin, who works in the pediatric infectious disease division, continues to say that while the research is at an early stage, the findings show that bacterial infection can be distinguished from other causes of fever including viral infection using a pattern of genes that are switched on or off in response to the infection.
Secondary Bacterial Infections In Patients With Viral Pneumonia
- 1Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Institute, Zhejiang University, Haining, China
- 2School of Medicine, The Second Affiliated Hospital Zhejiang University , Hangzhou, China
- 3Antibiotic Resistance and Phage Therapy Laboratory, School of Bio Sciences and Technology, Vellore Institute of Technology , Vellore, India
- 4Department of Infectious Diseases, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China
- 5Key Laboratory of Microbial Technology and Bioinformatics of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, China
- 6Infection Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Edinburgh Medical School, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Antibioticsor Wait It Out
Along with a physical exam, your doctor may take a sputum culture, chest X-ray, and blood work to determine if you have a viral or bacterial form of pneumonia, Turner says.
Your diagnosis is important since it helps determine treatment. If you have viral pneumonia, I wouldnt prescribe to you an antibiotic, says Dr. Brown.
Thats for three important reasons. First, antibiotics simply dont work to treat viruses. And, they can lead to unpleasant side effects . Finally, unnecessary use of antibiotics means that they might not be effective when you do actually need them for treatment, says Dr. Brown. We always strive to give the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, she notes.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include:
Bluish color to lips and fingernails
Confused mental state or delirium, especially in older people
Cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus
Mycoplasma pneumonia has somewhat different symptoms, which include a severe cough that may produce mucus.
World Pneumonia Day: Know The Difference Between Viral And Bacterial Pneumonia
- World Pneumonia Day: While bacterial pneumonia is predominantly localized to an area of the lung, viral pneumonia is randomly distributed in all areas of both lungs.
World Pneumonia Day: Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. It is most commonly caused by virus or bacteria. Any infection causing an inflammatory response in the lung is referred to as pneumonia. Though the majority of pneumonia is caused by bacterial infections, viral infections like influenza or Covid 19 virus can also affect the lungs and can cause serious inflammatory damage to them.
In Covid times rise in atypical bacterial infections leading to pneumonia which is also called “Walking Pneumonia” caused by organisms like Mycoplasma, Leptospira, oriented , etc, is also seen which usually causes milder disease and can be effectively treated with antibiotics.
“Viral pneumonia is slightly different from bacterial pneumonia in a clinical presentation like the patient will be having rapid progression of symptoms with high-grade fever and severe breathlessness and cough dragging the patient to the hospital,” says Dr. Gopi Krishna Yedlapati, Consultant Interventional Pulmonologist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad.
Viral vs bacterial pneumonia: Difference in treatment
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What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can be very serious and even deadly.
You are more likely to have complications if you are an older adult, a very young child, have a weakened immune system, or have a serious medical problem like diabetes or cirrhosis. Complications may include:
Acute respiratory distress syndrome . This is a severe form of respiratory failure.
Lung abscesses. These are pockets of pus that form inside or around the lung. They may need to be drained with surgery
Respiratory failure. This requires the use of a breathing machine or ventilator.
This is when the infection gets into the blood. It may lead to organ failure.
The Differences Between Bacteria And Viruses
Although bacteria and viruses are both too small to be seen without a microscope, they’re as different as giraffes and goldfish.
Bacteria are relatively complex, single-celled creatures, many with a rigid wall, and a thin, rubbery membrane surrounding the fluid inside the cell. They can reproduce on their own. Fossilized records show that bacteria have existed for about 3.5 billion years, and bacteria can survive in different environments, including extreme heat and cold, radioactive waste, and the human body.
Most bacteria are harmless, and some actually help by digesting food, destroying disease-causing microbes, fighting cancer cells, and providing essential nutrients. Fewer than 1% of bacteria cause diseases in people.
Viruses are tinier: the largest of them are smaller than the smallest bacteria. All they have is a protein coat and a core of genetic material, either RNA or DNA. Unlike bacteria, viruses can’t survive without a host. They can only reproduce by attaching themselves to cells. In most cases, they reprogram the cells to make new viruses until the cells burst and die. In other cases, they turn normal cells into malignant or cancerous cells.
Also unlike bacteria, most viruses do cause disease, and they’re quite specific about the cells they attack. For example, certain viruses attack cells in the liver, respiratory system, or blood. In some cases, viruses target bacteria.
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How To Avoid Any Type Of Pneumonia
Good hygiene and health practices will help you from contracting most infections, Turner says.
You probably already know the drill here: Wash your hands frequently, avoid sneezers and their trail of tissues, and clean frequently touched surfaceselevator buttons, handles, doorknobswhere germs can linger.
And keep your immune system strong with a nutritious diet, lots of water, and adequate sleep, Turner adds.
Vaccines are also a powerful preventive measure. Get the flu vaccine annuallyinfluenza on its own is unpleasant, but it can also lead to pneumonia. Get the pneumococcal vaccine if you are 65 years or older, Turner advises the vaccine, which protects against bacterial pneumonia, is also recommended for cigarette smokers and younger people with certain medical conditions.
What Causes Bacterial Pneumonia
Bacteria pneumonia is caused by bacteria that works its way into the lungs and then multiplies. It can occur on its own or develop after another illness, like a cold or the flu. People who have a higher risk for pneumonia may:
- have weakened immune systems
- have respiratory diseases
- be recovering from surgery
Doctors classify bacterial pneumonia based on whether it developed inside or outside a hospital.
Community-acquired pneumonia : This is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia. CAP occurs when you get an infection after exposure to bacterial agents outside of a healthcare setting. You can get CAP by breathing in respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes, or by skin-to-skin contact.
Hospital-acquired pneumonia : HAP occurs within two to three days of exposure to germs in a medical setting, such as a hospital or doctors office. This is also called a nosocomial infection. This type of pneumonia is often more resistant to antibiotics and more is difficult to treat than CAP.
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What Are The Main Differences Between Bacterial And Viral Pneumonia
Common symptoms of pneumonia include3
- difficulty breathing
- increased breathing rate
When a patient presents with these symptoms, the next step is to examine the lungs with a stethoscope. With pneumonia, decreased breath sounds, wheezing, or crackles on listening to the lungs, are all indications that can help point towards a diagnosis. The next step is to order a radiograph or X-ray if pneumonia is suspected.
The radiograph still remains the reference standard for a medical diagnosis of pneumonia, and also helps to differentiate between bacterial and viral pneumonia. However, a combination of clinical symptoms, exam findings, and imaging is the best way to uncover the most likely culprit.3,4
The Difference Between Viral Pneumonia And Bacterial Pneumonia
Treatment is the biggest difference between bacterial and viral pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotic therapy, while viral pneumonia will usually get better on its own. In some cases, viral pneumonia can lead to a secondary bacterial pneumonia. At that point, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic therapy. Your doctor will be able to tell if it has become bacterial pneumonia by a change in your symptoms or signs.
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Key Points About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.
Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.
Test That Differentiates Between Bacterial Viral Infections In Development
An international team of scientists led by researchers at Imperial College London has discovered two genes that are switched on when a child has a bacterial infection. This revelation could allow the team to develop a rapid test for doctors surgeries and hospitals to identify infections such as meningitis, and assist with the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
The study, published in JAMA, found that the two genes, called IFI44L and FAM89A, only shifted to an on state when a bacterial infection was present. This knowledge could enable doctors to distinguish between bacterial and viral infections, and identify early cases of severe infections that could be deadly.
While viral infections are more common than bacterial infections, bacterial infections are often more serious.
Meningitis, septicemia, and pneumonia all occur as a result of a bacterial infection. Differentiating between these potentially life-threatening conditions and viruses can allow health providers to provide quicker, more accurate treatments.
Also, making a distinction between whether an individual has a viral or bacterial infection can prevent antibiotics being prescribed for viruses. Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria and do not fight infections caused by viruses like colds, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections.
Every year in the United States, more than
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What Other Problems Can Pneumonia Cause
Sometimes pneumonia can cause serious complications such as:
- Bacteremia, which happens when the bacteria move into the bloodstream. It is serious and can lead to .
- Lung abscesses, which are collections of pus in cavities of the lungs
- Pleural disorders, which are conditions that affect the pleura. The pleura is the tissue that covers the outside of the lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity.
- Respiratory failure
Viral And Bacterial Pneumonia Symptoms Are Quite Similar
If you have pneumoniaeither bacterial or viralyoull typically have a cough that brings up sputum, fever, shortness of breath, and chest pain when you cough or take a deep breath, says Kimberly Brown, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine doctor in Memphis, Tennessee.
It can be difficult to tell by symptoms alone whether you have viral or bacterial pneumonia, says Dr. Brown.
But there is one potential tip-off that its bacterial, and not viral. Generally, bacterial pneumonia causes the more severe symptoms, Turner says.
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Bacterial Vs Viral Infection
As the names suggest, bacteria cause bacterial infections, and viruses cause viral infections.
It is important to know whether bacteria or viruses cause an infection, because the treatments differ. Examples of bacterial infections include whooping cough, strep throat, ear infection and urinary tract infection .
It can be difficult to know what causes an infection, because viral and bacterial infections can cause similar symptoms. Your doctor may need a sample of your urine, stool or blood, or a swab from your nose or throat to see what sort of infection you have.
Treatment Of Bacterial And Viral Infections
The discovery of antibiotics for bacterial infections is considered one of the most important breakthroughs in medical history. Unfortunately, bacteria are very adaptable, and the overuse of antibiotics has made many of them resistant to antibiotics. This has created serious problems, especially in hospital settings.
Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, and many leading organizations now recommend against using antibiotics unless there is clear evidence of a bacterial infection.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, vaccines have been developed. Vaccines have drastically reduced the number of new cases of viral diseases such as polio, measles, and chickenpox. In addition, vaccines can prevent such infections such as the flu, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus , and others.
But the treatment of viral infections has proved more challenging, primarily because viruses are relatively tiny and reproduce inside cells. For some viral diseases, such as herpes simplex virus infections, HIV/AIDS, and influenza, antiviral medications have become available. But the use of antiviral medications has been associated with the development of drug-resistant microbes.
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Who Are At Risk Of Developing Covid
Some people are at a higher risk for developing COVID-19 pneumonia. It totally depends on the individual’s health conditions. Some of the other risk factors include:
Older adults or adults who are 65 years up are at an increased risk for serious illness due to COVID-19.
#Underlying Health Complications
An individual who is suffering from other health complications such as – asthma, diabetes, liver diseases, obesity, and kidney illnesses is at higher risk of catching COVID-19 pneumonia.
#Weak Immunity System
Another most important risk factor is a weakened immune system. Being immunocompromised can raise the risk of serious COVID-19 pneumonia disease.
Is It A Bacterial Infection Or Virus
Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria, while viral infections are caused by viruses. That’s the easy part. Differentiating between the two requires medical intervention since both may cause fever and irritability. And the treatments vary significantly. Pediatrician Betty Staples, MD, offers advice on how to tell the difference between these two types of infection.
Every day, parents bring their children to the pediatrician for help in determining whether their sick child has “just a cold” or something more.
Children’s colds result in 22 million missed school days and 20 million parental missed days of work every year. In most cases, these are the “just a cold” variety of virus. However, we also know that other, less common infections can develop in our children, and these need evaluation by the pediatrician to determine if antibiotics are required.
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Which Infections Are Treated With Antibiotics
Antibiotics are medications used to treat bacterial infections.
There are many types of antibiotics, but they all work to keep bacteria from effectively growing and dividing. Theyre not effective against viral infections.
Despite the fact that you should only take antibiotics for a bacterial infection, antibiotics are often requested for viral infections. This is dangerous because over-prescribing antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria adapt to be able to resist certain antibiotics. It can make many bacterial infections more difficult to treat.
If youre prescribed antibiotics for a bacterial infection, take your entire course of antibiotics even if you begin to feel better after a couple of days. Skipping doses can prevent killing all of the pathogenic bacteria.
Theres no specific treatment for many viral infections. Treatment is typically focused on relieving symptoms, while your body works to clear the infection. This can include things like:
- drinking fluids to prevent dehydration
- getting plenty of rest
- using OTC pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve aches, pains, and fever
- taking OTC decongestants to help with a runny or stuffy nose
- sucking on a throat lozenge to help ease a sore throat