What's the Difference Between a Virus and a Bacteria?

November 09, 2020

In this time of uncertainty and stress from the current pandemic, keeping our homes healthy can feel overwhelming. Viruses, contagions, bacteria and other terms can seem confusing. A little knowledge can go a long way towards helping us cope and provide peace of mind that we can continue to keep our homes safe. So to help you out, we have put together this infographic comparing bacteria and viruses, and the differences between them. 

Check it out to get the science straight, and to stop your stress about sanitizing and disinfecting, read about the Sanitizing & Disinfecting services Chem-Dry provides to help make your home healthier and safer for the entire family.

What's the Difference Between Viruses and Bacteria Infographic by Chem-Dry
Not a living organism Living organisms
Submicroscopic — range from 0.02 to 0.25 micron (a micron is one millionth of a meter) Much larger than viruses — about 0.4 micron
Only grow and reproduce inside of the host cells that they infect. When outside of living cells, viruses are dormant — this is why they need a living cell in order to “live” Consist of a single living cell than can generate energy, make food, move, and reproduce — this is why they can live in places such as soil, water, plants, and the human body
Visible under electron microscope Visible under light microscope
Cause systemic infection Cause localized infections
Examples of systemic infections: AIDS, common cold, flu, chicken pox, measles, Covid-19 Examples of locaized infections: food poisoning, gastritis, ulcers, meningitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis
Antibiotics designed for bacteria have no effect on viruses Can often be treated with antibiotics
Most viruses are potentially harmful Most bacteria are not harmful

How to Prevent The Spread of Bacteria and Viruses

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
    • Wash hands regularly, after touching high-touch surfaces, and before eating.
    • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
    • Use EPA-approved disinfectants on surfaces in the house