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Infection

Infection leads to germs, which enter the susceptible site in the body and multiply. An infection eventually results into a disease. People with cancer are usually prone to more infections. It commonly happens to them because of the:

  • Treatment’s side effect, which interferes with the normal defence system of the body against infection.
  • Lymphoma, Leukemia or similar kind of an underlying disease that affects the body’s normal defence against an infection

The organs of the body, which form a part if the immune system, play a major role in defending the body against infections. These organs include:

  • Infection Skin and mucous membranes: The skin is the most important organ as far as defending the body against infections is concerned. It is also known as the largest organ in the body. Any kind of break in the skin is a potential symptom or a potential site of infection.
  • Thymus: Thymus is just small organ, which is glandular and is situated or is present behind the top of the breastbone.  It mainly consists of the lymphatic tissue acts as a storage place for the cells of the immune system, which are known as the T cells.
  • Lymph nodes: There are several hundreds of lymph nodes throughout the entire body. The main job of these nodes is to filter the lymph fluid, remove bacteria, which are the foreign substances that get trapped in their web-like structure.
  • Infection fighting cells of the immune system: The immune system’s infection fighting cells consist mainly of the White Blood Corpuscles or the WBC’s. Neutrophil is one of the most important types of WBC’s.  The risk of infection increases every time your white blood cell count becomes low. One-way to measure the risk of infection is to take an absolute count of neutrophil (ANC). As the ANC keeps going below 1000, the risk of infection increases and is the maximum when the count is below 100

Even though the defences of the body against infections get decreased because of drugs and several diseases, majority types of the infections can easily be prevented and can often be treated. It is extremely crucial to be alert to any kind of changes in your body or about how you feel. When your WBC count is low, you might not be able to see the usual signs and symptoms while developing several symptoms such as Swelling, Redness, Formation of Pus, etc.

Even though it is a Herculean task to prevent an infection completely, there are a couple of measures that can be taken in order to decrease the risk of infection. It is advisable to try and avoid extremely crowded places during the season of cold or flu since there are more chances of the infection spreading from one person to another. It is definitely safer to avoid contact with people suffering from cough or the ones constantly sneezing,

It is also recommended to wash your hands before eating, touching animals or doing the day-to-day household work. Brushing is another important way of preventing your mouth from infections. Keep your mouth clean by brushing your teeth twice a day. Wash all fruits and vegetables properly before cooking.

The four common types of infections are skin infection, throat infection, HIV infection and eye infection.

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Bacterial Infection

A bacterial Infection can be any type of disease or illness caused by a type of microbe called bacteria. Microbes are organisms that are tiny which cannot be seen without the use of microscope. These microbes can include fungi, virus, parasites and bacteria as well. Majority of bacteria doesn’t cause disease. They are actually important for good health and are helpful to fight other organisms. Normally, millions of bacteria live on our intestines, skin and in genitalia. A bacterial infection happens when a normally sterile part of the body is invaded by harmful bacteria. An example is the bacteria in the bladder which causes urinary tract infection.

Diagnostic Tests

Diagnosing infections is sometimes difficult because the specific signs and symptoms appear rarely. If there is a suspected infection, the first step is to have a culture of urine, sputum and blood. Stool analysis and chest x-rays may also help in diagnosis. Spinal fluid is done if brain infection is suspected.

Rapid breathing, cyanosis, petechial rash, poor peripheral perfusion in children increases the risk of infection to 5 fold. A temperature greater than 40 degrees, clinical instinct, parental concern are also important indicators.

Symptoms

Bacterial InfectionThe bacterial infection classic symptoms are heat, swelling, localized redness and pain. One of the bacterial infection hallmark sign is pain in a specific area of the body. For example, if a person accidentally cuts an area of the body and was infected with bacteria, pain happens at the infection site.

Other symptoms:

· Ongoing extreme fatigue for 2-3 months

· Continuous weight loss

· Spiking fever or low grade fever

· Chills and night sweats

· Pain and vague body aches

Transmission

Pathogenic bacteria enter the body in different means which includes inhalation through the nose and lungs, sexual contact or ingestion of foods. When bacteria enter the body, the healthy immune system recognizes the bacteria as a foreign invader. The immune system tries to kill the bacteria to stop it from multiplying. But even in a person with healthy immune system, the body isn’t always able to stop it from spreading and multiplying. While the body continuous to reproduce, it emits toxins which are harmful to the body cells and results to bacterial infection symptoms.

Variables involved in the extent, severity and outcome of bacterial infection:

· Entry route of the pathogen and access to body regions of the host

· Intrinsic virulence of the organism

· The quantity of inoculent

· The host’s immune status

Treatment and Prevention

Anti-infective drugs can stop the infection when it attacks the body. Types of infective drugs include: antibiotic or antibacterial, antitubercular, antiviral and antifungal. Depending on the type of infection and severity, the antibiotic can be given orally, in injection or applied topically. Brain infections are commonly treated with antibiotics that are introduced intravenously. Multiple antibiotics decrease the risk of bacterial resistance and increase the efficacy. Antibiotics are only for bacteria and don’t work with viruses. Antibiotics slow down bacteria multiplication or kill the bacteria. Most common antibiotics used are: cephalosporins, penicillin, aminoglycosides, quinolones, macrolides and tetracyclines.

Hand washing is the most effective means to prevent spread of bacteria. Adequate nutrition is essential to boost our immune system.

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