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Bacteria and Viruses

Both viruses and bacteria cause infections, but antibiotics only work against bacteria.

 Viral Infections

  • Include colds, flu, croup, laryngitis, chest colds (bronchitis) and most sore throats.
  • Are more contagious than bacterial infections.  (If more than one person in the family has the same illness, odds are it is a viral infection.)
  • Can make you just as sick as bacterial infections.
  • Usually get better in 4-5 days but it might take as long as three weeks to fully recover.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses

 Bacterial Infections

  • Are less common than viral infections.
  • Do not spread as easily from one person to another as viral infections.
  • Cause infections such as pneumonia and strep throat.

Antibiotics do work against most bacteria