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Bacterial and viral infections are infectious diseases. Bacteria are germs that live and reproduce on their own. Viruses need a living host — such as an animal, plant, or human — to multiply and survive.
No one knows when an emergency is going to happen. That’s why Dignity Health Central California emergency services are standing by 24/7 to care for our community. We are ready to handle all types of emergencies from minor issues to severe trauma. If you’re heading to the ER for a bacterial or viral infection in Central California, use InQuicker, our ER waiting service to wait at home, not the hospital.
Types of Viral & Bacterial Infections
Examples of viral infections include:
Common bacterial infections include:
- Lyme disease
- Cat scratch disease
- Bacterial meningitis
- Whooping cough (pertussis)
- Strep throat
- Urinary tract infections, but other germs can also cause these infections
What Causes Infections?
Bacterial and viral infections are spread by:
- Contaminated food or water
- Direct contact with an infected person through sneezing, coughing, touching, kissing, or sexual contact
- Indirect contact with a contaminated surface if you don’t wash your hands before touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
- Bites from infected insects, such as a tick or mosquito
Signs of Infection
Symptoms depend on what is causing the infection. Often, bacterial and viral infections cause many of the same symptoms so it’s hard to tell which is responsible for the infection. Tests such as a throat swab can confirm the presence of bacteria or viruses.
Common symptoms include:
Seek care as soon as possible for:
- Stiff neck, vomiting, and severe headache, which are symptoms of meningitis
- Nausea and vomiting with stomach pain, which could be food poisoning (bacterial gastroenteritis) or appendicitis
Bacterial & Viral Infection Treatment at Dignity Health Central California
Your treatment options depend on what is causing the infection.
Viruses are treated with antiviral medicines or supportive measures, including over-the-counter medicines to treat symptoms, rest, and fluids. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections.
Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics. If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, be sure to finish the entire course — even if you are feeling better. This practice helps prevent bacteria from becoming resistant to the medication. Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are very hard to treat and can be fatal.
The most effective thing you can do to prevent either type of infection is to wash your hands regularly. Find a Doctor at Dignity Health Central California for regular wellness exams to maintain your overall health and well-being.
Dignity Health provides high-quality, effective treatment for bacterial and viral infections in Central California, including Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.