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What are bacterial infections?

Naturally, present within the body, bacteria do not cause any harm but there are also some other bacteria present outside the body in the environment. These bacteria cause infections on entering the body and are called pathogenic bacteria. In certain circumstances, the internal symbiotic bacteria may also lead to infections in cases of weakened immunity and their overgrowth. The organs that might get infected with bacteria include the lungs, throat, bowel, skin among others. Bacterial infections can spread from an infected individual to a healthy individual. Thus, all the necessary precautions should be taken to maintain personal and community hygiene and prevent the spread of infections.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The symptoms of bacterial infection differ depending on the affected area and severity of the infection. The common symptoms of a bacterial infection are:

What are the main causes?

The common infection-causing bacteria are:

  • Streptococcus
  • Staphylococcus
  • E. coli
  • Klebsiella
  • Pseudomonas
  • Mycobacterium

The following are the factors that may increase the risk of contracting a bacterial infection:

  • Cuts and wounds.
  • Close contact with an individual with a bacterial infection.
  • Consuming contaminated food and water.
  • Contact with faeces of an individual with the infection.
  • Breathing the droplets exhaled during coughing by an individual with a bacterial infection.
  • Indirect contact, such as touching contaminated surfaces.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The doctor makes the diagnosis in the following manner:

  • Taking information about the medical history of the individual.
  • Physical examination of the individual.
  • Radiographic findings.
  • Lab tests like blood and urine tests.

The exact treatment of the bacterial infection depends upon the type of bacteria, and the part affected. Topical, oral, or injectable antibiotic therapy is commonly recommended by the doctor to treat a bacterial infection. Sometimes the doctor has to change the antibiotic if the one previously prescribed does not eliminate the bacteria sufficiently. 

  1. Medicines for Bacterial Infections
  2. Doctors for Bacterial Infections
Dr. Neha Gupta

Dr. Neha Gupta

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Dr. Lalit Shishara

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Dr. Alok Mishra

Dr. Alok Mishra

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References

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care
  2. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Bacterial Infections
  3. Washington JA. Principles of Diagnosis. In: Baron S, editor. Medical Microbiology. 4th edition. Galveston (TX): University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; 1996.
  4. Healthdirect Australia. Bacterial infections. Australian government: Department of Health
  5. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Infections – bacterial and viral
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