Let’s face it—we’ve been talking a lot about viruses for the past two pandemic years. That means, by now, you probably know that a virus is invisible to the naked eye and can cause all types of health problems.
But bacteria tick those boxes too. So what’s the difference between viruses and bacteria—and why is it important to understand the difference? Here’s what to know about the two germs and the illnesses they can cause.
Viruses are tiny organisms made of genetic material called nucleic acid—either DNA or RNA—that is enclosed within a protein capsule, Charles Bailey, MD, medical director for infection prevention at Providence St. Joseph Hospital and Providence Mission Hospital in Orange County, California, tells Health.