The difference between a bacterial and viral infection

Pediatrician Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP, shares advice for parents on how to differentiate between a bacterial and viral infection in your child
The Difference Between A Bacterial And Viral Infection
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The difference between a bacterial and viral infection

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Bacterial and viral infections have similarities, but they are also different. Bacteria and viruses are both microbes or germs that can make you sick. They live on surfaces, so especially kids who are touching things and in close contact with their friends, can bring these bacteria and viruses home and infect not only themselves, but everyone in your family. You can't always tell the difference between a bacterial infection and a viral infection. Thanks to vaccines our children are protected against some very serious bacterial infections, so most of what they catch at school and bring home to everyone in the family are viral infections, and those will go away on their own and don't need any treatment. In general, if your child is sick, whether it is a bacterial infection or a viral infection; if they are really acting sick, if they have a high fever for several days, if they are not drinking fluids and they don't look well, call your pediatrician and have your child evaluated. They may need treatment, whether it is a bacterial infection or a viral infection

Pediatrician Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP, shares advice for parents on how to differentiate between a bacterial and viral infection in your child

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Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP

Pediatrician

A leading medical authority for the popular press and entertainment industry, Dr. Tanya Altmann is a best-selling author, parenting expert and media spokesperson. A working mother and UCLA-trained pediatrician who practices in Southern California, Dr. Tanya is a designated spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, communicating complicated medical issues into easily understood concepts.  She is a child health expert for numerous news programs and talk shows including Today (NBC), and KTLA (CW Los Angeles). She stays on the cutting edge through her position as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, as the Chief Medical Advisor for the Newborn Channel and her private practice.

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