Len Rome’s Local Health: Viruses and bacterial infections

Daybreak

If you're unsure whether your child has a viral or bacterial infection, call your pediatrician

(WYTV) – Is that a virus or a bacterial infection that your child caught? How do you know and what do you do?

You can usually blame a random virus for your child’s cough, sore throat or mild fever. When a fever gets especially high, a bacterial infection may be the cause.

The symptoms may appear the same for a virus or bacteria, but the treatment is different.

“There is a big difference, though, between the two. One, for the most part, those viruses go away on their own. Your immune system is more than enough to take them out. The bacteria, a lot of times we have antibiotics that are there and bacterial infections can be more severe,” said Dr. Frank Esper from the Cleveland Clinic.

Many times, doctors will try to get on top of a bacterial infection with antibiotics before it has the chance to become severe.

However, for a virus, let the illness run its course. If you’re unsure whether your child has a viral or bacterial infection, call your pediatrician.

Anytime you have a baby under two months of age, take the child to the doctor if the baby’s temperature reaches 100.4.

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