Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Viral vs Bacterial Infections

It is the season for cold, flu, respiratory bugs and other ailments that may end up resulting in a trip to the doctor's office or emergency room. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are widely prescribed for a variety of infections. With that in mind, Quinolone Vigilance Foundation would like to take a few minutes to discuss the difference between viral and bacterial infections.

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are meant to treat anthrax and the plague. Because of its potency, they cause severe adverse reactions such as tendinitis, tendon rupture, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, muscle wasting, peripheral neuropathy, tremors, insomnia, anxiety, memory loss, brain fog, visual and auditory impairment, persistent gastric problems, food and chemical sensitivities, tinnitus, arrhythmia, and dysautonomia. They also cause psychiatric issues, and Mitochondrial Toxicity which can lead to neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's, ALS, and Alzhemiers.

Viruses cause infections such as a cold, the flu, and also the Enterovirus which has been making headlines in recent weeks. In those cases, a prescription for an antibiotic would be inappropriate. It is not unheard of though. As a “just in case” treatment, doctors may prescribe a fluoroquinolone like Cipro, Levaquin, or Avelox because it's a broad spectrum antibiotic, and they don't realize that they are causing more harm by prescribing them.

Bacteria cause infections such as bronchitis, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and strep throat. Antibiotics are an effective treatment for bacterial infections so always ask for your infection to be cultured before accepting an antibiotic. If one becomes necessary, ask for something safer as an alternative to a fluoroquinolone.

Viruses and bacterial infections can carry the same symptoms so it is important to know the difference between a viral and bacterial infection. Both are caused by microbes. Microbes can cause three kinds of infections:
  • Acute infections which are short-lived.
  • Chronic infections which can last days, weeks, months, or indefinitely.
  • Latent infections which may not cause symptoms in the beginning, but may reactivate later on.

Symptoms they have in common are coughing, sneezing, vomiting, fatigue; it's your body's way of trying to get rid of infectious organisms.

Where viruses and bacterial infections vary is in its structure and its response to medications.

Some illnesses can be caused by a virus or bacteria such as pneumonia and meningitis. Seek medical attention in either case, but insist on blood and urine cultures which will dictate proper and safe treatment. Non life-threatening viruses generally need to run its course without medication intervention. The overuse of antibiotics for infections that don't need it have been linked to antibiotic-resistant microbe strains, a real and dangerous problem world-wide.

Measures can be taken to keep from getting sick, but if you do, it's best to be vigilant about the course of treatment and keep yourself safe.

Rachel Brummert
President/Executive Director
Quinolone Vigilance Foundation

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