(From Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary) in·fec·tion noun \in-ˈfek-shən\
The state of being infected : a disease caused by germs that enter the body. Invasion of the body by various agents—including bacteria, fungi, protozoans, viruses, and worms—and its reaction to them or their toxins. Infections are called subclinical until they perceptibly affect health, when they become infectious diseases.
Infection can be local (e.g., an abscess), confined to one body system (e.g., pneumonia in the lungs), or generalized (e.g., septicemia). Infectious agents can enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, sexual transmission, and the passage to a fetus during pregnancy or birth, wound contamination, or animal or insect bites.
The body responds with an attack on the invader by leukocytes, production of antibodies or antitoxins, and often a rise in temperature. The antibodies may result in short-term or lifelong immunity. Despite significant progress in preventing and treating infectious diseases, they remain a major cause of illness and death, particularly in regions of poor sanitation, poor nutrition, and crowding.
FEVER: An internal body temperature over 98.6° is often the first indication of an infection somewhere in the body. However, the degree of elevation doesn’t necessarily indicate the seriousness of the infection. Higher temperatures can result from a relatively minor infection and vice versa.
WARM, RED, PAINFUL, BODY SITE: Infections progressively get more painful, red and swollen. They may also have red streaks going away from the infected area indicating the infection is spreading.
BLOOD OR PUS COMING FROM THE WOUND: The oozing of yellowish or green pus is another telltale sign of infection. The discharge may also have a foul odor and you should seek medical attention immediately.
DELAYED HEALING: Infections sometimes prevent underlying wounds from healing. Most superficial wounds heal on their own in four weeks or less. When they don’t, infection is a good possibility.
Types of Infections
Classifying infectious disease can be complicated, but it really boils down to this: there are four main types of infections: bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic. What type of infection you have will direct the medical course of action that Dr. Ruben prescribes for you. For details on each type of infection, click on the links above and read more on our site pages specific to each type of infection.
Of course, infectious diseases and infections can also be categorized by body site: where on the body the infection appears. This could be an organ like the kidney, a structure like the bone, or soft tissue like the nasal passages. We can successfully eradicate infections here in our outpatient office, even if you need I.V. antibiotics! Our warm, homey I.V. room is inviting, friendly, and staffed by the most caring people who are happy to get you a cup of coffee, make you a protein smoothie or rub your feet, just to ensure your comfort.
Infections fall into 4 broad types: bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic.
Infections fall into 4 categories, the first of which is bacteria. These are single-celled organisms that reproduce themselves, by themselves. This includes the following: staph, tetanus, strep, salmonella, meningitis, and bacteria that can be categorized as gram negative or gram positive bacteria. Not all bacteria cause problems. For example, staph normally existson skin and unless a cut is suffered where the bacteria enters the bloodstream and creates a problem, most people remain healthy. On the other hand, gram negative bacteria Burkholderia Cepacia Complex (BCC) can present as pneumonia in immunocompromised individuals with underlying lung disease such as cystic fibrosis and has been implicated in vertebral osteomyelitis in intravenous drug users as well.
Infections also include viral infections. Viruses are microorganisms that cannot reproduce themselves; they take over the cells they infect in order to reproduce and spread. Examples of these are: the common “cold” gastroenteritis, measles, rabies, mono (Epstein-Barr,) and more.
Fungi is the third category. Fungi look like plants, but live off of animals, people and plants (examples are mushrooms and yeast). Types of problems that fall into this category are: candidiasis which presents as “thrush,” yeast infections, and such.
Finally, parasitic infections make up the fourth category. Protozoa are small parasites that live in the water and live off of other organisms, such as humans. Drinking water contaminated with raw sewage (in areas with poor sanitation,) eating raw shellfish (such as oysters and clams) that have been cultivated in contaminated water, or swallowing water in swimming pools that have not been adequately disinfected that are contaminated with sewage could cause these illnesses. Examples are tapeworms and malaria.
People can become ill with any of these infections and they can all be treated in our outpatient I.V. therapy wing at Encompass HealthCare. Encompass Healthcare is a free-standing, outpatient infection and wound facility with hospital-level equipment and treatments without the hospital experience. No red tape, no hassles. Just an easy, disability-friendly office where we make our patients well.
REASONS TO CHOOSE ENCOMPASS HEALTHCARE FOR THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF INFECTIONS:
• Your physician, Dr. Bruce Ruben, is a Board-Certified Doctor of Infectious Diseases with 28 years of clinical experience.
• Encompass HealthCare has an in-house pharmacy that supplies our infusion room with fresh antibiotics daily.
• We’re located in a comfortable and convenient outpatient setting.
• Our IV infusion therapy room features a TV with complimentary coffee bar, fresh fruit, protein shakes and snacks.
• We’re not inside a hospital. Due to the pervasiveness of hospital-borne infections, you should always insist on getting your infections treated outside of the hospital – preferably in an outpatient setting like Encompass Healthcare.
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