Infections caused by single celled microorganisms are called bacterial infections. Bacteria may be found in all climates and can survive in air, water or soil. They can reproduce on their own. There are a lot of good bacteria that are indeed helpful to us, in terms of aiding digestion, making yogurt and cheese etc. Only a few bacteria like E.Coli, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus cause infections.
Common bacterial skin infections
The common infections caused by bacteria include
1. Boils – Boils are infections that originate in the hair follicles. They grow to the size of a small bump and are filled with pus.
2. Cellulitis – Occurring mostly on the legs, it causes painful, red infected areas.
3. Folliculitis – Infection of the hair follicles that develops small, red bumps.
General symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, headache and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may vary depending on the location of the infection or the type of bacteria. Bacteria can also enter the body through any open wounds on the skin like cuts, scrapes or burns.
Few of the more severe medical conditions caused by bacteria include strep throat, urinary tract infection, food poisoning, pneumonia, meningitis or even sepsis.
Bacterial infections cannot be left untreated. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Depending upon the type of bacteria diagnosed specific antibiotics is prescribed. In case of bacterial skin infections, application of topical creams, ointments or lotions would be prescribed. Oral medications may also be prescribed based on the severity. Antibiotics need to be taken exactly as prescribed as irregularity may worsen the bacterial infection. For extreme cases of bacterial infections, the patient is admitted and antibiotics are used intravenously.
It is important to note that bacteria may develop resistance to antibiotics due to regular use or misuse. Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections could be potentially lethal.
A few preventive measures for bacterial infections include
- Vaccinations – They prevent a lot of bacterial infections
- Use clean water for cooking and always cook food to the right temperature. Frozen, raw or undercooked food may lead to food poisoning.
- Any open wounds should be thoroughly cleaned and covered with bandages to prevent spreading it to other locations of the body or to other people.
- Practice good hygiene and avoid sharing of personal items like clothing, utensils etc.