Infection is a pathological event caused by the penetration of parasitic microorganisms into the organism, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc.
Many living beings live inside and outside our bodies.
Normally, these organisms are harmless or even beneficial, but under certain conditions they can cause disease.
Some infectious diseases can be transmitted from one person to another.
Other infections are transmitted through insect bites or animals.
The development of infectious diseases is possible due to the ingestion of contaminated food, contaminated water or other environmental influences.
A mild infection can be cured with home remedies, but others can be fatal and must be treated in a hospital.
Causes of infection
Infectious diseases can be caused by:
Bacteria. These organisms, which consist of one cell, are responsible for diseases such as sore throat, urinary tract infection and tuberculosis.
Viruses. Even though they are smaller than bacteria, viral infections include many diseases such as herpes and AIDS.
Fungi. Many skin diseases such as tinea and athlete’s foot are caused by fungi.
Other types of fungi can infect the lungs or nervous system.
Parasites. Malaria is caused by a very small parasite and transmitted through the bite of a mosquito.
Intestinal parasites can be transmitted to humans via animal faeces.
Types of infections
Urinary tract infection
Urinary tract infection can occur in any section of the urinary system: kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra.
Women have a greater risk than men of developing a urinary tract infection. An infection limited to the bladder can be painful and uncomfortable. In addition, severe consequences can arise if it spreads to the kidneys.
Patients who wear a urinary catheter, undergo urological surgery or men with an enlarged prostate have a particularly high risk of urinary tract infection.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection vary depending on gender, age, and the area affected; some symptoms arise according to the underlying trigger.
Symptoms of urinary tract infection include: vaginal or rectal pain, burning, constant urge to urinate, blood in the urine and fever.
Candida is a fungus that usually infects the skin. It is relatively common and can affect almost any area of the body’s skin. They are usually seen in warm and humid environments such as under the armpit and in the groin area.
Candida infection or candidiasis most often affects people with:
- weakened immune system due to some drugs and diseases such as AIDS,
Symptoms of candida infection or candidiasis of the skin include: intense itching, rash in the folds of the skin, on genitals, in the buttocks area, under the breast and in other skin areas.
Hygiene and general health are very important to cure Candida infections.
You have to keep the skin dry and expose it to air.
One can use antifungal agents (antifungals) such as creams, ointments or powders to treat Candida infection on the skin, mouth, vagina and intestines.
Oral antifungal drugs may be necessary for severe Candida infections involving the mouth, throat and vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that develops when some types of bacteria found in the vagina grow too much.
It is the most common cause of vaginal discharge in women of childbearing age. As a rule, the vaginal discharge is thin, has a gray-whitish to yellowish color and smells of fish.
Possible triggering factors of bacterial vaginosis are:
- Perfumed soaps or sprays for female hygiene
- Intrauterine Contraceptive System (IUS)
Possible symptoms include:
- Foul “fishy” smell from the vagina
- Greater discharge (fluid) from the vagina than usual
- Gray or white and “milky” discharge
- Itching in the vaginal area
An intestinal infection is a disease caused by pathogenic germs that affect the digestive tract.
The large intestine is the lower part of the human digestive tract. It is the seat of many bacterial species that do not cause infection.
Nevertheless, some harmful bacteria may be present in sufficiently large numbers to trigger a disease. In the same way, viruses and other pathogens can cause infection.
If a person has an intestinal infection, he may develop unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhea. In some cases, intestinal movements are abnormal, the further transport of food is difficult. The chair can take on an unusual shape and color.
In addition to the symptoms that affect the appearance of the stool, an intestinal infection can lead to bloating and meteorism (gas formation).
The abdomen may appear bloated and a general feeling of discomfort may be noticeable.
In some cases, an intestinal infection is accompanied by fever or bleeding from the rectum.
Once the doctor has determined the cause of the intestinal infection, he can treat it accordingly. Therapy may consist of antibiotics or bed rest and fluid intake, depending on the severity of the infection and the cause. In some cases, laxatives (laxatives) are also prescribed.
Infection of the blood or sepsis
Sepsis (blood poisoning) or septicemia is a condition in which the body fights a serious infection that has spread through blood circulation. If a patient has sepsis, they are likely to suffer from low blood pressure, which leads to poor circulation and nutrient deficiencies in organs and vital tissues.
This condition is called “shock” and sometimes manifests itself in the form of septic shock when the infection is the cause of the shock state.
Septicemia can develop as an effect of the body’s defense system or due to toxic substances that are a product of the infecting germs (for example, bacteria, viruses or fungi).
Symptoms of sepsis
Since sepsis can start in different parts of the body, many different symptoms can occur. Rapid breathing and a change in mental state, such as decreased attention or confusion, can be the first signs of sepsis.
Other common symptoms include:
- Fever and restlessness, chills or alternatively a very low body temperature
- Decreased micturition (urine production)
- Fast pulse
- Accelerated breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
Treatment of sepsis
The first step for successful therapy is a rapid diagnosis of sepsis. If sepsis is suspected, the doctor will arrange for tests to identify the bacterium, white blood cell count, platelets and blood pressure.
Treatment of sepsis usually begins with:
- Broad-spectrum antibiotics that kill many types of bacteria
- Fluid to maintain normal blood pressure
- Oxygen to maintain normal oxygen saturation in the blood (oxygenation).
If the infecting agent is identified, the doctor can switch to a special drug against this agent.
One can also come into contact with these pathogenic organisms through indirect contact.
Many germs can remain on an object such as a table, door handle or faucet.
If you touch a doorknob that has been touched by an infected person, you can pick up the germs that the person has left behind. If you touch your eyes, mouth or nose before washing your hands, you can become infected.
Contamination of food. The pathogenic germs also use a different route by spreading over water and contaminated food.
This mechanism of transmission allows the germs to infect many people through a single source.
Escherichia coli, for example, is a bacterium present in certain foods, such as undercooked minced meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables.
Insect bites. Some germs use insects as carriers and move from one living being to another with the help of mosquitoes, fleas, lice or ticks.
For example, mosquitoes can transmit parasites of malaria.
Symptoms of infection
Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms.
The most common symptoms are usually:
- Loss of appetite
Complications of infection
Most infectious diseases lead to only minor complications, but some infections such as pneumonia, AIDS or meningitis can be fatal.
Some types of infections have been linked to an increased long-term risk of cancer:
- Human papillomavirus is associated with cervical cancer and neck tumors.
- Hepatitis B and C increase the risk of liver cancer.
- Helicobacter pylori is associated with stomach cancer.
Examinations and diagnosis of infection
The doctor may order laboratory tests (blood, urine, etc.) or instrumental examinations such as magnetic resonance imaging to determine the cause of symptoms.
The blood test can detect an increase in neutrophils (specialized immune cells), usually indicating a bacterial infection, or an increase in lymphocytes (white blood cells) linked to a viral infection.
Other parameters to be investigated that indicate an infection are blood cell sedimentation (BKS) and C-reactive protein (CRP).
In the urine examination, the urine color is analyzed. If it is greenish or contains blood, this may indicate an infection of the urinary tract. If the urine has an ammonia-like odor, it may be a bacterial infection.
Other tests useful for diagnosis of infection are: throat swab, lumbar puncture, X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging and biopsy.
Treatment and medication for infections
If the doctor knows the type of germ underlying the disease, this makes it easier to choose a suitable treatment.
The antibiotics are grouped into similar “families”.
Bacteria are divided into groups of similar types, such as streptococci or Escherichia coli.
Some types of bacteria are particularly sensitive to certain families of antibiotics. Thus, the treatment is more targeted and the results are better.
Antibiotics are only indicated for bacterial infections, while these types of drugs have no effect on infections caused by viruses.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine the type of germ responsible for the disease.
For example, some forms of pneumonia are caused by viruses, while others are caused by bacteria.
The overuse of antibiotics has led to bacteria that are more resistant to the antibiotics.
This makes the elimination of these pathogenic organisms much more difficult.
Antiviral drugs have been developed to treat certain viruses, such as:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
Mycoses are fungal infections that can affect the lungs or mucous membrane of the mouth and throat, often in people whose immune system is weakened. Antifungal drugs are preferred drugs in this type of infection.
Some diseases, including malaria, are caused by small parasites.
There are drugs to treat this condition, but certain types of parasites have developed resistance to the drugs.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Many infectious diseases, such as colds, pass on their own.
However, you should drink plenty of fluids and take care of yourself.
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Meningitis: viral and bacterial
- Acorn fungus or Candida balanitis