Pssst. Zoom in.A little closer. Closer. Whoop, too close. Meet Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacteria that can cause a painful infection in your inner ear. And Norovirus is, well, a virus that can cause a major upset stomach. So, bacteria versus viruses. What's the difference? Bacteria aresingle-celled organisms containing structures like a cell wall, cytoplasm, and ribosomes. They come in three basic shapes: spheres, rods, and spirals.

The spheres and rods sometimes form chains. Viruses also come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Unlike bacterial cells, viruses aren'tcells at all, but rather bits of genetic material: either DNA or RNA surrounded by a protective coat called a capsid. Many scientists don't consider virusesto be alive, since they can't replicate, or copythemselves, on their own. Viruses can replicate only by using a host, such as a human or animal. In contrast,bacterial cells are living and can.

Multiply even on nonliving surfaceslike faucets, keyboards, and doorknobs. No host needed. So, how do bacteria and viruses make you sick? Bacteria get between the cells in your body. Then, they multiply by copying their DNAand splitting into two cells from one cell. Viruses invade the cells of your bodywith the help of spiky peplomers. Once they are inside your cells, viruses replicate. These copies then leave the cell, findnew cells to invade, and make even more copies. When viruses replicate or bacteria multiply,.

It disrupts your bodily function. As yourimmune system attacks the infection, you may get a fever, body aches, a runny nose, and other symptoms. Not all illnesses can be treated the same way. One of these people has a stomach bug. The other has an ear infection. Can you figure out which person might be prescribed an antibiotic based on what caused their symptoms? Nope, antibiotics don't work on viruses. Yes, antibiotics can wipe out bacteria.

Now you know the basics. Be sure to talkto your doctor about the right way to treat your illness,if you get sick. Take care and stay healthy.