The difference between bacteria and viruses

Article Section: Are Bacteria. Viruses the same size? Are bacteria. Viruses are the same size? The size of bacteria. Viruses are clearly different. Bacteria have a diameter of up to one micrometer and are thus on average up to one hundred times larger than viruses, which can be 20 to 300 nanometers in size. Bacteria can be easily seen under a light microscope, while viruses require an electron microscope.

Viruses are tiny

Viruses are so small that they can be contained in the air that virus-infected people breathe out. Influenza viruses can be as small as 120 nanometers, coronaviruses as large as 160 nanometers. Viruses do not fly around isolated in the air, but are always enclosed in larger droplets – so-called aerosols.

When breathing, every human being emits tiny droplets the size of a micrometer. Per breath 1000 to 50.000 droplets can be contained. When coughing, the droplets are ten times larger, measuring more than ten micrometers. This means that more than 90 percent of aerosols remain trapped in filters with a mesh size of two micrometers.

The difference between bacteria and viruses

Article section: Are bacteria and viruses living organisms?? Are bacteria. Viruses living beings?Bacteria and viruses differ fundamentally in their anatomy. Bacteria have both a cell wall and an internal structure. Ribosomes, cytoplasm and genetic material complete bacteria as living beings. They have their own metabolism. Are therefore the simplest form of life on our planet.

Viruses cannot produce offspring without help

Whether viruses, on the other hand, are living organisms is debatable, since they need hosts to reproduce. By definition, "living things" can survive and produce offspring without help from others. This would not apply to viruses. However, there are also studies that use protein comparisons to classify viruses in the family tree of life, because their ancestors can be traced back to real cells.

Viruses are very adaptable

Viruses have no metabolism of their own and usually consist only of their genetic material, which is enclosed in a protein shell. The genetic material can, however, continue to change through mutations. That is why viruses are very adaptable and can change their surface in such a way that our body's defense system can no longer recognize them. New vaccines are therefore regularly developed for the annual flu wave.

Article Section: How Bacteria and Viruses Reproduce?

How bacteria and viruses reproduce?

Viruses need cells from other living organisms in order to reproduce. They smuggle their genetic material into the host cells and cause them to produce only virus particles. If they destroy cells in our body during their reproduction process or ensure that the body's own defense cells eliminate the cell infected by the virus, they make us ill. Diseases caused by viruses include influenza, AIDS, herpes and hepatitis.

In bacteria, the metabolic products make us sick

Bacteria, on the other hand, multiply in our organism without destroying its cells. As with human cells, cell division also takes place in bacteria. It is the metabolic products of bacteria that can make us sick. Diseases caused by bacteria include tuberculosis, cholera, and whooping cough. But not all bacteria make us sick. Intestinal bacteria, for example, help us with digestion and thus also ensure that our bodies remain healthy.

Article section: What drugs help against bacteria and viruses?

What medicines help against bacteria and viruses? Triggers for colds. Flu is usually viruses. A cold is caused by so-called rhinoviruses, a flu by influenza viruses. But antibiotics only help against bacteria – a difference worth remembering. Antibiotics either attack the cell wall of bacteria, which can kill them, or they prevent bacteria from reproducing further. Bacteria can, however, also develop resistance to antibiotics when they have adapted to these new living conditions.

Antibiotics do not help against viruses

However, antibiotics are powerless against viruses. Antiviral drugs – so-called antivirals – are needed to fight viruses. These can inhibit viral replication by preventing the viruses from docking with or invading the host cell. There are also agents that destroy the viral envelope or attack the genetic material. However, antivirals can also damage cells in the human body. Vaccinations can exist against both bacteria and viruses.

Article section: How can I tell if the infection is bacterial or viral??

How to tell if the infection is bacterial or viral?

It is difficult to find out for yourself whether you are suffering from a bacterial or viral infection. It is often said: yellow or greenish mucus means that it is a bacterial infection. But it is not so clear. "The color of the mucus is not a sure sign of an infection caused by bacteria," explains Gerd Fatkenheuer, head of infectiology at the University Hospital of Cologne. What actually causes the color of the mucus is not known for certain. Experts believe that dead immune cells play a role in this process. That is why the mucus can also become discolored during a viral infection.

Superinfection can also occur

A viral infection can also lead to a simultaneous infection with bacteria – a superinfection. The reason: Our immune system is already so weakened by the viruses that bacteria have an easy time of it. To prevent it, the main things that help are bed rest and plenty of sleep.

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