Friday, September 29, 2023

What Is The Difference Between Viral And Bacterial Pneumonia

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care For Bacterial Pneumonia

Mayo Clinic Minute: Is pneumonia bacterial or viral?

When to call the doctor

  • If you have a fever and cough up yellow, green, or brown sputum, make an appointment with your doctor.
  • If you have shortness of breath, chest pain, or confusion, you should seek emergency care.
  • If you are healthy, you can safely make an appointment to see your doctor. It is best to contact your physician if you have concerns about possible pneumonia.

When to go to the hospital

  • If you have shortness of breath, you should always seek emergency care. Shortness of breath is not simply the feeling that you cant take a full breath shortness of breath means that you cannot take in enough air to meet your bodys needs. It is a potentially serious symptom and always requires a visit to an emergency department, no matter how healthy you are.
  • If you have chest pain or confusion, you should seek emergency care.
  • You are at higher risk of developing pneumonia if you have the following:
  • a chronic health problem, such as diabetes
  • a poor immune system because of HIV, AIDS, steroid use, or immune-suppressant medications
  • diseased or damaged lungs, such as with asthma or emphysema
  • are very young or very old
  • or you have had your spleen removed.

Can Pneumonia Be Prevented

Check with your healthcare provider about getting immunizations. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia. Because of that, getting a flu shot every year can help prevent both the flu and pneumonia.

There is also a pneumococcal vaccine. It will protect you from a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Children younger than age 5 and adults ages 65 and older should get this shot.

The pneumococcal shot is also recommended for all children and adults who are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease due to other health conditions.

What Are The Treatment Options

Viral pneumonia usually goes away on its own. Therefore, treatment focuses on easing some of the symptoms. A person with viral pneumonia should get sufficient rest and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.

A doctor may prescribe cough-relieving medication to help ease coughing. People should only take cough suppressant medicine if and when a doctor instructs them to because coughing helps clear the infection from the lungs. For those with thick lung mucus, a doctor may prescribe a cough expectorant.

In some cases of viral pneumonia, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medication to reduce viral activity. This treatment tends to be most effective when the virus is in the early stage of infection.

In rare instances, a doctor may hospitalize a person with viral pneumonia. People over the age of 65 or with chronic health conditions are more likely to need hospital care. The very young are also at higher risk for serious viral pneumonia.

The viruses that cause viral pneumonia are contagious. During the cold and flu season, a person can take steps to stay healthy. These steps may protect against viral pneumonia and other viral illnesses.

Some techniques that people can use to try to prevent getting sick include:

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How Is Pneumonia Treated

Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Most of the time, pneumonia is treated at home, but severe cases may be treated in the hospital. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. Antibiotics may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have specific treatment. They usually get better on their own.

Other treatment may include eating well, increasing fluid intake, getting rest, oxygen therapy, pain medicine, fever control, and maybe cough-relief medicine if cough is severe.

What Is The Difference Between Viral Pneumonia And Bacterial Pneumonia


Viral pneumonia is a type of more prevalent pneumonia caused by viruses, while bacterial pneumonia is a type of less prevalent pneumonia caused by bacteria. This is the key difference between viral pneumonia and bacterial pneumonia. Furthermore, viral pneumonia accounts for between 13 % and 50 % of cases of pneumonia, while bacterial pneumonia accounts for between 8 % to 13 % of cases of pneumonia.

The following table summarizes the difference between viral pneumonia and bacterial pneumonia.

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How Long Does Viral Pneumonia Last

Your recovery time depends on how healthy you were before you were diagnosed with viral pneumonia. A young, healthy adult will usually recover faster than other age groups. Most people recover in a week or two. Adults or seniors may take several weeks before they fully recover.

The best way to prevent pneumonia is to practice good hygiene, get the seasonal flu shot every year, and try to avoid those around you who are sick with a cold or the flu.

The Differences Between Bacteria And Viruses

Although bacteria and viruses are both too small to be seen without a microscope, theyâre 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 canât 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 theyâre 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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Besides Vaccination What Else Can I Do To Prevent Bacterial And Viral Pneumonia

Receiving all recommended vaccinations is one of the best ways to prevent pneumonia. Additionally, there are several other ways to prevent pneumonia, including:

  • Quitting smoking, and avoiding secondhand smoke. Smoking damages your lungs.
  • Washing your hands before eating, before handling food, after using the restroom, and after being outside. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoiding being around people who are sick. Ask them to visit when they are feeling better.
  • Not touching or sharing objects that are shared with others. Germs can be transferred from object to you if you touch your nose or mouth without washing or sanitizing your hands first.
  • Eating a healthy diet, exercise, and get enough rest. Healthy habits keep your immune system strong.
  • Getting treated for any other infections or health conditions you may have. These conditions could weaken your immune system, which could increase your chance of infections.
  • Avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol.

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Many Children Are Misdiagnosed With Viruses

Difference Between Viral Pneumonia And Bacterial Pneumonia #Bacterial_Pneumonia #Viral_Pneumonia

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.

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What Is Bacterial Pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria. Bacterial pneumonia accounts for between 8 % to 13 % of all pneumonia cases. The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Strreptococcus pneumoniae. But other bacteria can cause it as well. People have a higher risk of getting bacterial pneumonia if they are older than 65, have conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart diseases, are recovering from surgery, dont eat vitamins and minerals, have a weakened immune system, smoke, drink too much alcohol, and have viral pneumonia. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include high fever, coughing out greenish, yellow, or bloody mucus, chills, inability to breathe when moving around, feeling tired, low appetite, sharp stabby chest pain while taking a deep breath, sweating a lot, fast breathing and heartbeat, lips and fingernails turning blue, and confusion especially when older.

Figure 02: Bacterial Pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia can be diagnosed through physical examination, pulse oximetry, blood tests, sputum test, X-ray, and CT-scan. Furthermore, treatments for bacterial pneumonia include taking vaccination shots , taking antibiotics, getting lots of rest, drinking plenty of fluids, using a humidifier or taking a warm bath, stopping smoking, staying at home until the fever goes down, oxygen treatment, IV fluids, and medications and treatment to help loosen up the gunk.

Summary Viral Pneumonia Vs Bacterial Pneumonia

Viral pneumonia and bacterial pneumonia are two types of pneumonia caused by two different organisms. Viral pneumonia is caused by viruses, and they are more prevalent, while bacterial pneumonia is caused by bacteria and they are less prevalent. This summarizes the difference between viral pneumonia and bacterial pneumonia.


2. Chase, Cynthia. Bacterial Pneumonia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. Healthline, Healthline Media, 29 Sept. 2018.

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Nanoparticle Sensor Can Distinguish Between Viral And Bacterial Pneumonia

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Many different types of bacteria and viruses can cause pneumonia, but there is no easy way to determine which microbe is causing a particular patients illness. This uncertainty makes it harder for doctors to choose effective treatments because the antibiotics commonly used to treat bacterial pneumonia wont help patients with viral pneumonia. In addition, limiting the use of antibiotics is an important step toward curbing antibiotic resistance.

MIT researchers have now designed a sensor that can distinguish between viral and bacterial pneumonia infections, which they hope will help doctors to choose the appropriate treatment.

In a study of mice, the researchers showed that their sensors could accurately distinguish bacterial and viral pneumonia within two hours, using a simple urine test to read the results.

Bhatia is the senior author of the study, which appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Melodi Anahtar 16, PhD 22 is the lead author of the paper.

Signatures of infection

Patterns of response

Which Infections Are Treated With Antibiotics

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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

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Differentiating Viral From Bacterial Pneumonia

Carl Heneghan, Annette Pluddemann and Kamal R. Mahtani

On behalf of the Oxford COVID-19 Evidence Service TeamCentre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health SciencesUniversity of Oxford

Correspondence to

VERDICTA severe complication of COVID-19 is viral pneumonia. Distinguishing viral pneumonia from bacterial pneumonia is difficult in the community. In some cases, they could co-exist, increasing the chance of a more unfortunate outcome. However, there may be important clues in the history and the examination that can help differentiate the two. Recent guidance from NICE will support clinicians in this process.

BACKGROUNDCommunity-acquired pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi .

Viral pneumonia is a common complication of influenza-like illnesses and is a complication of SARS-COV-2. Viral pneumonia may clear up on its own however, when severe, it can be life-threatening. Viruses are generally not as common a cause of CAP as some bacteria. However, as well as being a primary pathogen, viruses can be a co-pathogen with bacteria, particularly in those with severe illness requiring admission to ICU and in ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Coronavirus has also been shown to occur with CAP. In a 2010 case-control study conducted in Israel , coronaviruses were identified in 24 patients with CAP, compared with 17 in control subjects.

Those more at risk include:

Differentiating viral and bacterial pneumonia



Diagnosis Of Bacterial And Viral Infections

You should consult your doctor if you think you have a bacterial or viral infection. Exceptions include the common cold, which is usually not life-threatening.

In some cases, it’s difficult to determine whether an illness is viral or bacterial because many ailments — including pneumonia, meningitis, and diarrhea — can be caused by either. But your doctor may be able to determine the cause by listening to your medical history and doing a physical exam.

If necessary, they also can order a blood or urine test to help confirm a diagnosis, or a “culture test” of tissue to identify bacteria or viruses. Occasionally, a biopsy of affected tissue may be required.

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Difference Between Viral And Bacterial Pneumonia

Viral vs Bacterial Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an acute respiratory illness associated with recently developed radiological pulmonary shadowing, which may be segmental, lobar, or multilobar. It can occur both as a primary disease or, more commonly, as a complication that affects many seriously ill hospitalized patients. It can be resulted from different pathogenic organisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi etc.

Since all pneumonias share common characteristics, this article points out some of the differences between bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia with regard to their prevalence, pathogenic organisms, clinical symptoms and signs, investigations, complications and the management.

Bacterial Pneumonia

It usually causes acute air space pneumonia which results from infection by bacteria that multiply extracellularly in the alveoli. The commonest pathogen is streptococcus pneumoniae which accounts for 60% 70% of the cases while the other bacteria includes legionella pneumophilia , mycoplasma , staphylococcus aureus , etc.

The clinical symptoms and signs vary depending on the organism. For example, streptococcus pneumoniae shows rapid onset symptoms and produces rusty colour sputum while mycoplasma pneumonia has much more complications than the above. Rare complications of mycoplasma pneumoniae include haemolytic anaemia, erythema nodosum, myocarditis, pericarditis, meningoenchephalitis etc.

Viral Pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonias are more common than viral pneumonias.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children

Pneumonia vs. pneumonitis | Respiratory system diseases | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia in children vary from child to child and also depend on your childs age, cause of the infection, and severity of their illness.

Usual symptoms include:

  • Cry more than usual. Are restless or more fussy.

Adolescents have the same symptoms as adults, including:

  • Cough.
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.

Newborns are at greater risk of pneumonia caused by bacteria present in the birth canal. In young children, viruses are the main cause of pneumonia.

Pneumonia caused by bacteria tends to happen suddenly, starting with fever and fast breathing. Symptoms appear more slowly and tend to be less severe when pneumonia is caused by viruses.

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Follow Your Treatment Plan

It is important that you take all your medicines as your doctor prescribes. If you are using antibiotics, continue to take the medicine until it is all gone. You may start to feel better before you finish the medicine, but you should continue to take it. If you stop too soon, the bacterial infection and your pneumonia may come back. It may also become resistant to the antibiotic, making treatment more difficult.

Respiratory And Circulatory Failure

Pneumonia can cause respiratory failure by triggering acute respiratory distress syndrome , which results from a combination of infection and inflammatory response. The lungs quickly fill with fluid and become stiff. This stiffness, combined with severe difficulties extracting oxygen due to the alveolar fluid, may require long periods of mechanical ventilation for survival. Other causes of circulatory failure are hypoxemia, inflammation, and increased coagulability.

is a potential complication of pneumonia but usually occurs in people with poor immunity or hyposplenism. The organisms most commonly involved are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Other causes of the symptoms should be considered such as a myocardial infarction or a pulmonary embolism.

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