Now that we know the differences between allergies and the common cold, let’s discuss another topic that is often misinterpreted as the common cold: bacterial infections. Bacterial infections present themselves in surprisingly similar ways to the common cold. One of the biggest misconceptions about the common cold is that you need antibiotics. This is NOT TRUE!
If you feel bad enough to head to your doctor’s office to see what they can do for you don’t be surprised if they send you home with a list of things to buy at your local pharmacy over the counter (OTC). These items they tell you to get are usually things like NyQuil or Robitussin. These things do not actually fight your viral infection (i.e. the common cold) but instead just make you feel a little better.
So why, then, are bacterial infections confused with the common cold? Well for a few reasons, actually. First, they have very similar symptoms such as:
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Sore throat
That’s how they are similar, so how are they different? Excellent question! Here are some main differences:
- Bacterial infections usually last longer than viral infections (longer than 14 days).
- Fever is higher than expected from a viral infection.
- The fever can get worse with a bacterial infection whereas a viral infection the fever usually gets better.
Secondary infections occur when you are infected with a virus first, then as your body is weakened the bacterial move in. This is why many people are put on antibiotics after suffering from cold symptoms for weeks.
Just like one of my other posts, I am spending quite a bit of time ruling out other things that may act like the common cold. I just want my readers to be informed and know the differences between the two (three now: allergies, common cold, and bacterial infection). Knowing the differences will help you identify the real cause which will lead to quicker recovery with the right products.
Similar to treating allergy symptoms, there are a lot of things you can do to aid in avoiding a bacterial infection. I want to talk about ways to avoid bacterial infections.
- Practice good hand-washing techniques. The proper way to wash your hands involves soap, hot water, a disposable paper dry. Also, washing your hands the right way takes a lot longer than what most people do on a daily basis. But if you’ve come in contact with someone who has a suspected bacterial infection you need to take hand-washing seriously. Google some videos on “proper hand washing” and you’ll probably come up with dozens.
- Sanitize objects that are frequently used by other people. This includes door handles, counter-tops, phones, and even arm chairs. The cleaner you keep these objects the less likely if getting any type of infection whether that’s bacterial or viral. That’s just good sense!
- Your pets can carry bacteria in multiple ways: saliva, paws, and fleas/ticks. This means getting those really wet kisses from your favorite canine can lead to an infection. Also, the ground is a dirty place and that stuff gets introduced into your home frequently. Just like how longmontcarpetcare.com points out, keeping your carpets cleaner will help ensure the ground in your home stays bacterial and viral free. Professional cleaning will help eliminate tiny pests that can live in fibers such as carpet or fabrics thus limiting you to exposure to bacterial infection.
- Lastly, the most obvious: steer clear of physical contact with persons that have a bacterial infection. You won’t get it if you’re not around them, right? It may seem insensitive but trust me, they’ll understand.
Now we have discussed bacterial vs. viral vs. allergies (see previous post) you are well on your way for proper identification to help you get on the fast track to feeling better!