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Board-certified and expert orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgery, Dr. Erin Nance, speaks to Insider about the difference between bacteria and viruses and how to prevent the spread.

She is quoted saying:

Once you’ve come into contact with a virus, it attacks healthy cells in your body, taking them over to reproduce and spread throughout your body. However, your immune system attacks the most harmful viruses before they can make an impact.

The most important thing is to practice good hand-washing hygiene: wash with soap and water for 20 seconds and wipe dry.  Wash your hands frequently after touching communal surfaces such as computer keyboards, banisters, elevator buttons, and ATMs.

Although antibiotics are effective, it’s important to use them selectively, since bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotics are specific for each bacteria and work to interfere with one of the vital functions of that bacteria’s cell.

Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics. However, some viral illnesses can be treated with antiviral medication. These medications are designed to fight a specific virus by interrupting its ability to regenerate or invade healthy cells.

Read the original article on Insider.