Fungal Infection vs Bacterial Infection: How to Tell The Difference

Fungal Infection vs Bacterial Infection: How to Tell The Difference

Infections come from different sources, even when they present similar or overlapping symptoms. What are the differences between bacterial and viral infections, and how do they compare to a fungal infection? Here is a closer look at all three methods of infection and their differences.

Fungal Infection Symptoms

There are millions of species of fungi present in our daily lives. Fungi is found in everything from soil, plants, household surfaces, and even our skin. Fungal infections specifically target cellular and microscopic structures leading to irritation, skin problems and infections. The most common fungal infection symptoms are seen in nail infections, ringworm, and yeast infections.

Similar to other diseases or infections, the symptoms vary depending on the exact fungus present. Rashes and skin problems are common fungal infection symptoms, especially a rash with a fuzzy surface or unusual growth. Most fungal infections have telltale marks, such as the distinct ring-shaped rash ringworm spores leave on the skin.

Most fungal infections can be cleared up using antifungal creams or suppositories. Over-the-counter antifungal creams are available, however the more potent creams and suppository treatments require a prescription.

Bacterial Infection Symptoms

Bacterial infections are caused by single-celled microorganisms. These microorganisms thrive in many different environments. Some bacteria are benign while others cause infections. Bacterial infection symptoms manifest when bacteria grow in undesired places or in large numbers. The symptoms of bacterial infection vary based on where the bacteria is and the type of bacteria present. Some common bacterial infections are strep throat, tuberculosis, salmonella, and tetanus.

Antibiotics are required to treat bacterial infections, killing or blocking bacterial activity. Additionally, bacteria is able to mutate, often developing a resistance to antibiotic treatment. If this is the case, more aggressive antibiotic treatments and further help form a medical professional are required.

Viral Infection Symptoms

Viruses are tiny bits of genetic information, surrounded by proteins, that reproduce by infecting healthy plant or animal cells. Viral infection symptoms can vary in severity and variety depending on the virus present. Viral infections are often the most difficult infections to treat. Some common diseases caused by viruses are COVID-19, chickenpox, HIV, and the common cold.

Viral infections are treated with antiviral medications. Antivirals work by stopping the virus from copying itself and are made to target the virus, not the host’s cells. These medications require a prescription and therefore diagnosis by a medical professional.

Treatment Options

The only way to know whether you have a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection is to be tested for them by a qualified medical professional. Many common ailments such as diarrhea or pneumonia can be caused by either bacterial or viral infections. Therefore, lab tests and care from a healthcare provider is the best way to ensure you receive the right treatment.

A medical professional is needed to treat an infection once present. However, there are many ways to help prevent an infection from occuring in the first place.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water, and try to refrain from touching your face.
  • Stay away people who are ill, and avoid others when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Disinfect items and areas you frequently touch.
  • Follow all food safety rules when preparing and cooking food.
  • Be aware of the bacterial risks pets can bring into your living areas, and learn how to identify general infection signs in pets.
  • Practice safe sex to reduce the risk and spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Disinfect Your Infection at BASS Urgent Care

Identifying the type of infection you’re dealing with is the first step in treating it. Whether your infection is fungal, bacterial, or viral, BASS Urgent Care is here to help you identify and treat your illness. If you or a loved one is suffering from an infection, reach out to BASS's friendly and professional support team today.