It’s never fun to see children suffering from a hacking cough, runny nose, painful earache or fever.
Parents may wonder whether the illness was caused by a virus or bacteria, an important distinction because it makes a big difference in how the illness should be treated.
Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that can live in almost any type of environment. The vast majority are harmless to humans.
Viruses, on the other hand, are parasitic so they can’t survive without a host. Much smaller and less complex than bacteria, most viruses do cause disease in humans.