Bacterial infections: symptoms, illness, how to treat them?

Bacterial infections: symptoms, illness, how to treat them?

Published on
Updated

The main signs of bacterial infection are pain and fever. But what is a bacteria? Is it still pathogenic? Learn about bacterial diseases, how to treat them and how to prevent them.

What is a bacteria?

THE bacteria are part of living microorganisms. “The bacteria is a rudimentary living being, and even the simplest that we know. It is a unicellular living being, composed of a single cell, describes Professor Stéphane Gayet, infectious disease doctor and hygienist. Bacteria are the basis of life, they are living matter. Moreover, the human body is made up of more than 10,000 billion cells, or more. These cells are organized into tissues, which are themselves organized into organs. Bacteria are complete living beings that can live in the environment, unlike viruses, which are not really living beings.”, specifies the infectious disease specialist.

According to him, the vast majority of bacteria are non-pathogenic to humans, as proven by our intestinal microbiota, this part of the body populated by billions of microorganisms such as bacteria. Moreover, it is preferable to say that a bacteria is potentially pathogenic. “The pathogenicity of a bacteria is not linear, it evolves along a gradient. Some are very often pathogenic, such as that responsible for the plague, such as Staphylococcus aureus or Koch’s bacillus. On the other hand, certain bacteria are devoid of any pathogenic power, even if they can cause infections in immunocompromised people.

What is the first sign of a bacterial infection?

“Bacterial infection is a microbial infection by a strain of bacteria on a part of the body. Generally, the first sign of a bacterial infection is pain, continues the infectious disease specialist. Overall, bacterial infection causes more symptoms than viral infection, but this is not a general rule.

Contagion: how do you catch a bacterial infection?

The latter enters the body through an entry point: this is contamination. The entry point may be the mucous membranes (respiratory tract), the urinary tract, the digestive tract, a skin lesion or invasive devices such as a catheter or cannula.

Once entered, the bacteria multiply and invade the tissues of our body: this is the colonization stage.

The third stage is almost always partial tissue destruction. When the bacterial infection is cured, healing takes place with or without after-effects.

In summary, Bacterial infection involves three main stages :

  • The contamination (via the entryway, such as a skin wound or nasal mucous membranes);
  • The colonisation (cell multiplication, invasion);
  • L’infection (tissue destruction).

And the doctor clarified: “Just because a person is contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria does not mean they develop an infection. It depends on their state of receptivity, the quantity of bacteria contracted, but also the state of strength of their immune system..

What are the symptoms of a bacterial infection?

THE symptoms of bacterial infection may be subtle, such as fatigue or general malaise. If it is an infection of the skin or a visible mucous membrane, the symptom is redness, sometimes with the presence of pus. One of the typical symptoms of bacterial infection is persistent fever, which is accompanied by a feeling of malaise: the person feels that something is developing.

What is the difference between an infection and a superinfection?

“Superinfection is a double infection. First, the infection, caused by a bacteria or virus, affects an organ. Then, a second type of bacteria superinfects the first infection. In our jargon, we say that the first infection sets the stage for secondary infection. The typical case is a viral infection of the respiratory tract, such as pharyngitis for example, giving rise to a bacterial infection: pharyngitis creates the basis for the bacterial infection.“, explains the specialist.

Sepsis: what is a bacterial blood infection?

The sepsis is one of the serious complications of bacterial infection. After starting locally on a part of the body (after an invasive procedure for example), the bacteria colonize and infect the blood. It may even be Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria of the skin flora. Infectious shock causes symptoms such as a rise in temperature, chills, increased heart rate, mental confusion and a drop in blood pressure. Left untreated, sepsis can be fatal.

How do you know if it is a viral (virus) or bacterial (bacteria) disease?

Viral infection is caused by a virus while for bacterial infection, the bacteria is responsible. Only a doctor is capable of making the difference, as Professor Stéphane Gayet explains to us. “Medicine is clinical, Hippocratic. Know the symptoms well and the signs of different diseases is essential. Doctors guide their diagnosis based on the patient’s clinical examination, symptoms, signs and the organ affected by the infection. Generally speaking, a virus never produces pus: viral infections will never suppurate. They only give rise to inflammation. For example, in the case of an airborne respiratory infection, such as tracheitis, pharyngitis or sinusitis, the moment you blow pus (yellow or green secretions) or spit out pus, then the origin is bacterial. It can nevertheless be a superinfection, even if the first pathology is caused by a virus. It also depends on the patient’s immune system., explains the infectious disease specialist. Furthermore, on the blood test, the increase in the number of white blood cells can be indicative of an infection of bacterial origin.

What are the different bacterial diseases (intestinal, pulmonary, throat, etc.)?

There are a very large number of infections caused by bacteria. Bacterial diseases mainly include digestive, ENT, urinary, cerebral and pulmonary infections.

THE most common digestive infections are campylobacter and salmonella infections (food-borne salmonella gastroenteritis). Abroad, we can cite bacillary dysentery. “Infectious diarrhea of ​​viral origin is very liquid and not smelly. She heals very quickly. Gastroenteritis of bacterial origin, on the other hand, lasts longer and the stools are very foul-smelling..

Certain bacteria particularly attack the ENT sphere, causing bacterial angina bacterial sinusitis or even acute otitis media. Bacterial tonsillitis, for example, is caused by streptococcus. Bacterial tonsillitis is rarer than that caused by a virus.

Urinary infections are mainly bacterial:The most common bacteria involved is Escherichia coli. Urinary infection is more common in women than in men, linked to the urethra which is shorter in women. In humans, colibacillus bacteria are more often involved and can reveal a bladder emptying disorder. Colibacilli are small intracellular bacteria causing urethritis, epididymitis and prostatitis. In women, they can cause endometritis..”

At the level of bacterial brain infections, viral meningitis is often benign and consciousness disorders are absent. On the other hand, bacterial meningitis, like meningococcal meningitis, is very serious and the patient often presents with a high fever.

As for pulmonary bacterial infections, let us cite pneumococcal pneumonia (Streptococcus pneumoniae), which can also be serious.

Bacteria can affect many organs. For example, they may be responsible for a bacterial endocarditis when they reach the heart.

Bacterial infectionnotably by Staphylococus aureus (staphylococcus aureus), can be contracted during a stay in a health establishment.

Treatment: how to treat a bacterial infection?

Bacteria are sensitive to drugs antibiotics, a class of drugs reserved for them. Indeed, remember that an antibiotic has no effectiveness against a virus. “Depending on the infection, therapeutic abstention may be necessary. Some infections progress favorably, particularly intestinal infections. For example, it is advisable not to treat salmonellosis, which most of the time heals on its own, specifies the doctor. On the other hand, in the presence of pus, if the infection appears serious or if the general condition is altered, antibiotic treatment is prescribed, because it is imperative, obligatory to treat the patient. This is the case, for example, with bacterial sinusitis, bacterial pneumonia, bacterial pyelonephritis or even bacterial meningitis, diseases for which treatment is vital.

And antibiotic treatment is also often necessary in children with acute otitis media. This one…