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What Are The 4 Infections And How Do We Treat Them?

Posts Tagged ‘bacteria’

What Are The 4 Infections And How Do We Treat Them?

Posted on: February 14th, 2016 by Mindy Ruben 1 Comment

Read my latest blog entitled “The 4 Infections You Need To Be Aware Of…(And How To Treat Them) at MD.com.

 

General Health

The 4 Infections You Need to Be Aware Of (And How to Treat Them)

Bacterial Infection

Bacterial infections are the first of 4 infections that we will discuss. Bacteria are self-sustaining, respiratory, (breathing) one-cell life forms that live on, in and throughout the human body. Hundreds of thousands of specific types live homogenously on your skin, throughout the gastrointenstinal tract and in the urogenital tract. They live within our bodies for good reason: they protect us from illness and from some diseases, rarely causing any problems.

Bacterial Infection--Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan

Bacterial Infection–Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan

Sometimes, however, too much of a good thing can be bad. For example, bacteria that are under our armpit are good because they consume our sweat secretions, but bad because they produce volatile fatty acids that turn into gas. That gas smells and is what we call “Body Odor .” [1] This is simply a negative by-product of this bacteria, however what becomes a serious, medical concern is when these bacteria, that normally live outside of an organ like your skin, enters into and throughthe body, invading the space in which it should not live.

An example here is when you suffer a cut or a wound. The bacteria sitting on the pre-wound’s skin surface now can enter into your body and potentially cause infection. Not every skin breach causes infection, as we have all experienced. But in some cases, a wound that is not kept clean or a person with a compromised and weakened immune system can get ill. The symptoms are redness, hot to the touch, pain at site, and sometimes fever, chills, muscle aches, and an overall feeling of malaise.

In order to properly treat serious bacterial infections, you first must determine the type, depth and the severity of the infection. Your doctor typically will swab any drainage from the site and send it off for laboratory culture to identify the specific bacterial type. S/he then prescribes the correct antibiotic that will eradicate the bacteria, returning your body to a state of health. In some cases, the antibiotic will be delivered orally and in more serious cases, intravenously (through an I.V.). This type of antibiotic prescribing is the most prudent because the physician has specific information and can match the most useful antibiotic to the bacteria. Penicillin, tetracycline, sulfa, and ciprofloxin are typical antibiotics prescribed for bacterial infections.

Fungal Infections

The second type of infection is a fungal infection. Living in a similar manner to bacteria, we all have fungi that live in and on the body sites. Generally, they are not a problem unless one of two conditions is present:

  1. Someone has a compromised or weakened immune system (called immunocompromised;)
  2. A blockage exists where it should not.
Example of a fungal infection, Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan

Example of a fungal infection, Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan

When kept in delicate balance, fungi do not cause illness. However, when out of balance, infection can occur. Someone who has AIDS, for example, might develop pneumonia because the fungi that live homeostatically inside

the lungs can overgrow, impair air exchange in the lung, and cause florid pneumonia. Because this person’s system is compromised, it is unable to maintain that healthy balance.

Recurrent sinus infections with bacteria or fungi are often the result of pendulous blocking polyps or allergy provoking mucosal swelling which block the normal sinus drainage into the stomach of infectious debris.

Again, treatment for these types of fungal infections must be cultured and then treated with the proper agent. Fluconizole and Nystatin are common antifungal medicines.

Parasitic Infections

The third type of infection is a parasitic infection. This is where the parasite uses your body and is a life form itself. It can live on its own and/or “rent”space in your body. A common parasite is Giardia Lambia and it is usually found in fresh water systems such as lakes and rivers. Ingestion of infected water is the primary way this parasite infects humans. Over 50% of our lakes, river streams and creeks are infected with Girardia Lambia and it is even finding its way into urban areas’ drinking water.[2] This parasite is commonly found in the gastrointestinal tracts of deer and bears and it finds its way into the water through fecal contamination.

Giaradia Lambia parasite, a parasitic infection that can be treated at Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan

Giaradia Lambia parasite, a parasitic infection that can be treated at Encompass HealthCare and Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan

Another example of a parasite is Malaria. Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite transmitted by infected mosquitoes. In 2013 an estimated 198 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 500,000 people died, mostly children in the African Region. [3]

Parasites are treated with anti-parasitics. Examples here are oral pills like Metronidazole (Flagyl), which is the most commonly used antibiotic for a giardia infection, and I.V. Quinine, which is one of several treatments available for Malaria.

Viral Infections

The fourth type of infection is a virus. Viruses are different than all the others mentioned thus far because they require a life form in order to reproduce themselves. In essence, they use your body’s machinery in order to survive. Examples here include the common cold, Chicken Pox and Herpes. What is interesting about viruses is how they work: they take your own DNA and make template of your body’s cells. They then take that DNA template and form RNA viral genes. These genes use the cellular machinery to make hundreds of thousands of protein and carbohydrate capsules before inserting the RNA back in this shell and then breaking and killing the cell to move on to the next. This is how it grows and this is why it spreads.

4

Treatments here are self-limiting, usually requiring nothing but fluids and rest in order to get better. Viruses do cause serious diseases, however, in humans such as AIDS, Influenza pneumonia, and Hepatitis. For these and others, antiviral agents are the remedy. Acyclovir and Oseltamivir are two common, antiviral medicines.

In short, infections of all kinds typically present in the same fashion with similar symptoms: fever, chills, muscle aches, and general malaise. It is only through thorough medical evaluation that one can determine the underlying problem and thus, its treatment. It is important that you have a good doctor who you trust and who has extensive experience. It is in this way that he or she can get rid of what’s bugging you.

 Sources

[1] Cheryl Power, senior lecturer in microbiology at the University of Melbourne, Body and Soul.

[2] Content copyright 2016. HUMAWORM

[3] CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People.

 

Healthcare-Acquired Infections

Posted on: May 2nd, 2014 by Access Computer No Comments

According to the American Hospital Association, over 36 million patients are admitted to hospitals every year with healthcare-acquired infections. Presumably, these patients go to hospitals to get well, but one in 20 end up getting something else: an infection. Worse, one in nine of those infections result in death. (more…)

New to the world of fermented foods?

Posted on: March 25th, 2014 by Mindy Ruben No Comments

What are fermented foods? Are they good for you?
See on Scoop.itNutrition

New to the world of fermented foods? Learn about the benefits of these foods in your diet, how they effective they are at supporting digestion and immunity, and overall wellness and disease-resistance.  (more…)

4 Myths About Germs and Bacteria

Posted on: September 23rd, 2013 by Mindy Ruben No Comments

We have all heard wives tales regarding germs and bacteria.  How do you know what’s truth and what’s fiction?

At Encompass Healthcare, we can clear that up.  Let’s look at these 4 common myths:

Myth #1:  MRSA (Methacyllin Resistance Staph Aureous) On The Skin Makes People Sick.

The truth is that 50% of us have MRSA bacteria already colonizing on our skin.  That’s because our skin is our body’s first natural defense against the outside world and it’s normally teeming with bacteria. These germs are usually safe because your skin is your protection. It acts as a barrier to bacteria from entering the body. The only time this becomes a problem is when the skin is compromised by a cut or a wound, allowing the bacteria to enter into the bloodstream. Most of the germs living on our skin are, interestingly enough, staph and strep. And it’s okay for them to be there as long as you don’t suffer a cut, scrape or non-healing wound.

Myth #2:  Wearing Your Coat When Outdoors Prevents A Cold.

We’ve all heard our mothers say, “Don’t go outside without a coat or you’ll catch a cold!”  But the truth is you should wear a coat because you may get cold, not necessarily catch a cold. When studied by the New England Journal of Medicine, kids without coats did not catch colds, viruses, or any other bacteria-related illness by not wearing a coat outside in cold weather.  Viruses are contracted by contact or close contact with another person who has a virus or bacterial infection.

To prevent colds and other viruses from spreading, make hand-washing a priority.  This will help drastically reduce the incidences of colds and viruses. This is especially important when you’re among those known to have a cold, virus, or bacterial infection.

Myth #3:  Most Reported Deadly Bacteria Are Deadly.

When the news reports that an area has been hit by a deadly bacteria, it may or may not be true. The truth is that many deadly bacteria can be harmless and many harmless bacteria can be deadly. It all depends on your immune system. In fact, reports show that when a new virus hits, only 10% are really at risk, usually people aged two years and younger, or aged 65 years and older.  Most people can tolerate severe bacteria as long as their immune systems are reasonably healthy.

Myth #4 Every Respiratory Track Infection Requires Antibiotics

In reality, 95% of all respiratory infections are caused by viruses and the only “cure” is to allow our bodies to heal naturally. This is because viruses do NOT respond to antibiotics, which are used only to treat bacterial infections. Viral infections are controlled by our immune systems and simply need to “run their course.”  Most people who are in good health are able to fend off viruses with no problem at all. The only time antibiotics are used to treat respiratory infections is when the infection is caused by a bacteria. In those cases, a culture is taken to determine which bacteria to treat.

We hope that clears up some common misconceptions about germs and bacteria. Remember, don’t go outside in the cold without a jacket or you’ll get cold. And that doesn’t mean you’ll catch a cold.

 

Winning the Wound Care War

Posted on: February 10th, 2012 by Mindy Ruben No Comments

WOUND CARE WAR

Winning the wound care war care leads us into the wonderful world of healing. Here, you’ll learn how utterly amazing your body functions to repair itself, how it’s always ready to initiate the healing process and how we can intervene when that process goes awry. (more…)

 

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