Infection and Inflammation

What is the Difference Between Infection and Inflammation?

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:57 am

Difference Between Infection and Inflammation! Infection can cause inflammation, where inflammation results from an infection. An infection is the invasion of the agent that comes from outside of the body to injure tissues. While inflammation is an inward reaction from the body, its purpose is an immediate response following an injury to repair and regenerate the living tissue.

What is Infection?

Infection is a contagion of the body tissues with disease-causing agents. These agents multiply in the body and cause the specific response of the host’s immune system. The response is provoked by the infectious agents and the toxins produced by them. Infections are most commonly caused by microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses, but fungi (causing different mycoses) and macroparasites (ticks, worms) can also induce an infection.

The symptoms of infection differ depending on the type of the pathogen. Some of these symptoms affect the entire body, others only certain parts of the body.

Symptoms of infection, affecting the entire body
Symptoms of infection affecting certain body parts
  • Rashes affect the skin
  • Cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, affect the respiratory organs
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain affect the digestive tract

The most common are viral and bacterial infections. For their treatment and recovery, it is important to identify the causative agent in order to prescribe the treatment. However, this differentiation is often complicated because some symptoms of bacterial and viral infections overlap.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is part of the response of the body tissues to harmful stimuli. The stimuli can be irritants, damaged cells, or pathogens.

The stimuli, causing inflammations
  • Microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.
  • Toxins
  • Chemicals
  • Allergens
  • Impaired cell integrity (injury)
  • Burning, frost
  • Foreign body
  • Radiation (including ultraviolet rays)

Inflammation is a protective response of the body by which it attempts to discard the irritant, stop its spread, and begin healing of the affected tissues. It involves molecular mediators, immune cells, and blood vessels.

The symptoms of inflammation

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warming at the affected place and/or fever
  • Pain
  • Disturbed function

Inflammation is often caused by infection. But unlike infections, which are caused by external organisms, the accompanying inflammation is the “internal” response of the organism to the causative agent. This response is stereotyped and is called a non-specific immune defense. It opens the way for the specific immune response that attacks the recognized microorganisms with specialized immune cells and methods.

2 Types of Inflammation

Depending on the time of the reaction and the duration, the inflammation can be:

  • Acute Inflammation: Begins within hours or 1-2 days of injury or contamination and lasts for several days;
  • Chronic Inflammation: Its onset is delayed over time and can last for months and even years if the microorganisms are not destroyed or the foreign body is not removed.

If the treatment of an acute inflammation fails, it may become chronic.

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Comparison Table For Infection and Inflammation

InfectionInflammation
Infection is a contagion of the body tissues with disease-causing agents, their multiplication in the body and the specific response of the host’s immune system to the infectious agents and the toxins produced by them.Inflammation is a protective response of the body to harmful stimuli, aiming to discard the irritant, stop its spread, and begin healing of the affected tissues.
Infections are most commonly caused by microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria, but larger organisms such as fungi and macroparasites can also be a source of infection.Inflammation is caused by irritants, damaged cells, or pathogens, like viruses, bacteria, fungi, toxins, chemicals, allergens, injury, burning, frost, foreign body, radiation, etc.
The symptoms of infection differ depending on the type of the pathogen. Symptoms affecting the entire body are fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever and chills, night sweats, pain. Symptoms affecting certain body parts are rash, cough, stuffy nose, runny nose, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc.The symptoms of inflammation are swelling, redness, warming at the affected place and/or fever, pain, disturbed function, etc.
Summary Of Infection and Inflammation
  • Infection is a contagion of the body tissues with disease-causing agents. These agents multiply in the body and cause the specific response of the host’s immune system. The response is provoked by the infectious agents and the toxins produced by them.
  • Inflammation is a protective response of the body to harmful stimuli, aiming to discard the irritant, stop its spread, and begin healing of the affected tissues.
  • Infections are caused by microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria, but larger organisms such as fungi and macroparasites can also be a source of infection. Inflammation is caused by irritants, damaged cells, viruses, bacteria, fungi, toxins, chemicals, allergens, injury, burning, frost, foreign body, radiation, etc.
  • The symptoms of infection affecting the entire body are fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever and chills, night sweats, pain. The symptoms of infection, affecting certain body parts, are rash, cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. The symptoms of inflammation are swelling, redness, warming at the affected place and/or fever, pain, disturbed function.

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