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Viral or Bacterial?

What are some of the sure signs for distinguishing between a viral and
bacterial respiratory infection?

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posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (9)

9 Responses to “Viral or Bacterial?”

  1. admin says:

    On Sun, 28 Jan 2001 04:53:29 -0800, "              MS" <m…@nospam.com>
    wrote:

    >What are some of the sure signs for distinguishing between a viral and
    >bacterial respiratory infection?

    Sure signs? Let’s see… If there are signs of sinusitis, then you can
    perform maxillary sinus puncture using a sterile needle poked through
    the skin and bone just above your teeth, and send the fluid for
    culture. If there is a purulent middle ear effusion, then
    tympanocentesis and culture of the middle ear fluid will prove there
    is a bacterial ear infection.

    The following are NOT sure signs of a bacterial infection:

    Green snot.
    Facial pain.
    Fever.
    Plugged ears.

    As you can see, it’s not easy to distinguish. Here are some general
    rules:

    A viral infection causes nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, sore
    throat, possibly fever, red eyes, and ear pain, that gradually worsens
    over the first 3 to 4 days. The fever generally lasts no more than 5
    days, and the other symptoms gradually resolve in about 7 to 10 days.
    The cough may linger for up to two weeks.

    A bacterial sinus infection usually follows a viral infection like the
    above, except the nasal drainage and cough do not resolve as expected,
    continuing on unabated beyond 10 days, or clearly worsening by the end
    of 7 to 10 days. There may be facial pain and continued fever. The
    thickness and duration of the nasal drainage is important, not the
    color.

    A bacterial ear infection usually arises about a week after the viral
    infection starts, and manifests as severe ear pain with or without
    fever. There are other causes of ear ache, though, so physical
    examination is necessary.

    Pneumonia usually develops after a viral illness as well and causes
    more severe illness along with dry cough, fever, and possibly chest
    pain and shortness of breath.

    Strep throat typically does not accompany a viral illness, but comes
    up on its own with severe sore throat, headache, nausea, fever,
    swollen lymph nodes, and minimal nasal congestion.

    PF

  2. admin says:

    Thanks a lot for the detailed description, PF.

    The difference is hard to distinguish, even for doctors. Cultures are rarely
    done these days.

    "PF Riley" <pfri…@watt-not.com> wrote in message

    news:3a746735.49035578@news.nwlink.com…

    - Hide quoted text — Show quoted text -

    > On Sun, 28 Jan 2001 04:53:29 -0800, "              MS" <m…@nospam.com>
    > wrote:

    > >What are some of the sure signs for distinguishing between a viral and
    > >bacterial respiratory infection?

    > Sure signs? Let’s see… If there are signs of sinusitis, then you can
    > perform maxillary sinus puncture using a sterile needle poked through
    > the skin and bone just above your teeth, and send the fluid for
    > culture. If there is a purulent middle ear effusion, then
    > tympanocentesis and culture of the middle ear fluid will prove there
    > is a bacterial ear infection.

    > The following are NOT sure signs of a bacterial infection:

    > Green snot.
    > Facial pain.
    > Fever.
    > Plugged ears.

    > As you can see, it’s not easy to distinguish. Here are some general
    > rules:

    > A viral infection causes nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, sore
    > throat, possibly fever, red eyes, and ear pain, that gradually worsens
    > over the first 3 to 4 days. The fever generally lasts no more than 5
    > days, and the other symptoms gradually resolve in about 7 to 10 days.
    > The cough may linger for up to two weeks.

    > A bacterial sinus infection usually follows a viral infection like the
    > above, except the nasal drainage and cough do not resolve as expected,
    > continuing on unabated beyond 10 days, or clearly worsening by the end
    > of 7 to 10 days. There may be facial pain and continued fever. The
    > thickness and duration of the nasal drainage is important, not the
    > color.

    > A bacterial ear infection usually arises about a week after the viral
    > infection starts, and manifests as severe ear pain with or without
    > fever. There are other causes of ear ache, though, so physical
    > examination is necessary.

    > Pneumonia usually develops after a viral illness as well and causes
    > more severe illness along with dry cough, fever, and possibly chest
    > pain and shortness of breath.

    > Strep throat typically does not accompany a viral illness, but comes
    > up on its own with severe sore throat, headache, nausea, fever,
    > swollen lymph nodes, and minimal nasal congestion.

    > PF

  3. admin says:

    "PF Riley" <pfri…@watt-not.com> wrote in message

    news:3a746735.49035578@news.nwlink.com…
    > The following are NOT sure signs of a bacterial infection:

    > Green snot.
    > Facial pain.
    > Fever.
    > Plugged ears.

    How about sickly sweet tasting thick mucous collecting in the throat? Is
    that yukky taste a symptom of viral or bacterial infection, or could it be
    either?

  4. admin says:

    On Sun, 28 Jan 2001 22:17:31 -0800, "              MS" <m…@nospam.com>
    wrote:

    >"PF Riley" <pfri…@watt-not.com> wrote in message
    >news:3a746735.49035578@news.nwlink.com…
    >> The following are NOT sure signs of a bacterial infection:

    >> Green snot.
    >> Facial pain.
    >> Fever.
    >> Plugged ears.

    >How about sickly sweet tasting thick mucous collecting in the throat? Is
    >that yukky taste a symptom of viral or bacterial infection, or could it be
    >either?

    Either or none of the above. Allergy and fungal infections cause
    symptoms like that too.

  5. admin says:

    "PF Riley" <pfri…@watt-not.com> wrote in message

    news:3a7675a4.183834877@news.nwlink.com…

    - Hide quoted text — Show quoted text -

    > On Sun, 28 Jan 2001 22:17:31 -0800, "              MS" <m…@nospam.com>
    > wrote:

    > >"PF Riley" <pfri…@watt-not.com> wrote in message
    > >news:3a746735.49035578@news.nwlink.com…
    > >> The following are NOT sure signs of a bacterial infection:

    > >> Green snot.
    > >> Facial pain.
    > >> Fever.
    > >> Plugged ears.

    > >How about sickly sweet tasting thick mucous collecting in the throat? Is
    > >that yukky taste a symptom of viral or bacterial infection, or could it
    be
    > >either?

    > Either or none of the above. Allergy and fungal infections cause
    > symptoms like that too.

    Allergy certainly often causes PND, but the taste I refer to I think has to
    indicate some sort of infection.

  6. admin says:

    I would be interested in including this article in my web based magazine
    Longevity Report http://www.geocities.com/longevityrpt  If nothing else it
    may play a small part in abating the demands placed on GPs for antibiotics
    when people get viral respiratory infections.

    I tried to email Dr Riley but unfortunately the email address did not work.
    If he reads this and
    is willing, I would be grateful if he could email me back and grant his
    permission.


    Sincerely, John de Rivaz
    my homepage links to Longevity Report, Fractal Report, music, Inventors’
    report, an autobio and various other projects:
    http://www.geocities.com/longevityrpt
    http://www.autopsychoice.com – should you be able to chose autopsy?

    "PF Riley" <pfri…@watt-not.com> wrote in message

    news:3a746735.49035578@news.nwlink.com…

    - Hide quoted text — Show quoted text -

    > On Sun, 28 Jan 2001 04:53:29 -0800, "              MS" <m…@nospam.com>
    > wrote:

    > >What are some of the sure signs for distinguishing between a viral and
    > >bacterial respiratory infection?

    > Sure signs? Let’s see… If there are signs of sinusitis, then you can
    > perform maxillary sinus puncture using a sterile needle poked through
    > the skin and bone just above your teeth, and send the fluid for
    > culture. If there is a purulent middle ear effusion, then
    > tympanocentesis and culture of the middle ear fluid will prove there
    > is a bacterial ear infection.

    > The following are NOT sure signs of a bacterial infection:

    > Green snot.
    > Facial pain.
    > Fever.
    > Plugged ears.

    > As you can see, it’s not easy to distinguish. Here are some general
    > rules:

    > A viral infection causes nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, sore
    > throat, possibly fever, red eyes, and ear pain, that gradually worsens
    > over the first 3 to 4 days. The fever generally lasts no more than 5
    > days, and the other symptoms gradually resolve in about 7 to 10 days.
    > The cough may linger for up to two weeks.

    > A bacterial sinus infection usually follows a viral infection like the
    > above, except the nasal drainage and cough do not resolve as expected,
    > continuing on unabated beyond 10 days, or clearly worsening by the end
    > of 7 to 10 days. There may be facial pain and continued fever. The
    > thickness and duration of the nasal drainage is important, not the
    > color.

    > A bacterial ear infection usually arises about a week after the viral
    > infection starts, and manifests as severe ear pain with or without
    > fever. There are other causes of ear ache, though, so physical
    > examination is necessary.

    > Pneumonia usually develops after a viral illness as well and causes
    > more severe illness along with dry cough, fever, and possibly chest
    > pain and shortness of breath.

    > Strep throat typically does not accompany a viral illness, but comes
    > up on its own with severe sore throat, headache, nausea, fever,
    > swollen lymph nodes, and minimal nasal congestion.

    > PF

  7. admin says:

    In article <t7864b3kplt…@corp.supernews.com>,
      "              MS" <m…@nospam.com> wrote:

    > What are some of the sure signs for distinguishing between a viral and
    > bacterial respiratory infection?

    I am going to assume that repsiratory infection means pneumonia.

    Taking a biopsy of the infected lung and looking at it under a
    microscope. You can also culture blood from the patient, and if
    bacteria grows, be quite sure (not quite 100%, but i would think pretty
    close) that the bacteria growing in the blood were the same ones that
    caused the respiratory infection. Short of this, X-rays sort of help,
    but you cannot be 100% sure from xrays. Some blood studies (blood
    counts) also indicate that a viral or bacterial infection is more
    likely, but this is not 100% either.

    It also depends on the history of the patient. For example, in a 1 year
    old with wheezing, it is most likely viral (RSV, a type of virus) and
    in a 101 year old in a nursing home, it is most likely either influenza
    (viral) or bacterial (from some of her stomach contents or food getting
    into her lungs).

    Sent via Deja.com
    http://www.deja.com/

  8. admin says:

    On Fri, 02 Feb 2001 13:20:17 GMT, Jeffrey Peter, M.D.

    <dr…@my-deja.com> wrote:
    >In article <t7864b3kplt…@corp.supernews.com>,
    >  "              MS" <m…@nospam.com> wrote:
    >> What are some of the sure signs for distinguishing between a viral and
    >> bacterial respiratory infection?

    >I am going to assume that repsiratory infection means pneumonia.

    >Taking a biopsy of the infected lung and looking at it under a
    >microscope. You can also culture blood from the patient, and if
    >bacteria grows, be quite sure (not quite 100%, but i would think pretty
    >close) that the bacteria growing in the blood were the same ones that
    >caused the respiratory infection.

    It’s pretty rare to get a positive blood culture, even in a
    septicaemia, let alone a respiratory infection.

    >Short of this, X-rays sort of help,
    >but you cannot be 100% sure from xrays. Some blood studies (blood
    >counts) also indicate that a viral or bacterial infection is more
    >likely, but this is not 100% either.

    Sputum samples can give a good count of responsible bugs.  

    >It also depends on the history of the patient. For example, in a 1 year
    >old with wheezing, it is most likely viral (RSV, a type of virus) and
    >in a 101 year old in a nursing home, it is most likely either influenza
    >(viral) or bacterial (from some of her stomach contents or food getting
    >into her lungs).

    Viral respiratory infections are the most common.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If you have an apple and I have an apple and if we
    exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple.
    But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we
    exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

    GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  9. admin says:

    <Jeffrey Peter>; "M.D." <dr…@my-deja.com> wrote in message
    news:95ec6c$r2d$1@nnrp1.deja.com…

    > In article <t7864b3kplt…@corp.supernews.com>,
    >   "              MS" <m…@nospam.com> wrote:
    > > What are some of the sure signs for distinguishing between a viral and
    > > bacterial respiratory infection?

    > I am going to assume that repsiratory infection means pneumonia.

    No, respiratory infection doesn’t only mean pneumonia. It could be common
    cold, influenza, sinusitis, etc., etc, etc. The problem is, it’s often hard
    to tell what it is. Different kinds of bugs can produce similar symptoms.