A brief overview of bacterial diseases

A brief overview of bacterial diseases

Bacteria are single-celled creatures that can reproduce on their own. They have a rigid wall, and a thin membrane surrounds the cell fluid. It has existed for many years and can live in any environment like the human body, radioactive waste and also in extreme climatic condition. We find in history how people have been affected by the Black Death and the bubonic plague caused by the bacteria known as Yersinia pestis. Most of the bacteria are harmless, and they are called good bacteria or healthy bacteria. They help in destroying disease-causing microbes, cancer cells and provide the body with essential nutrients. But there are some harmful bacteria as well which wins over the body’s immune system by multiplying and spreading diseases. Pathogenic bacteria are harmful bacteria, and they often emit toxic chemicals that can damage the tissues and cells, creating a life-threatening condition. Streptococcus, E. coli and Staphylococcus are some of the infection-causing bacteria.

Bacterial infections are contagious and can spread by the following ways:

If you come in physical contact with an infected person through kissing or sex
If you consume contaminated food and water
Sneezing and coughing
Infected pets or livestock; fleas and ticks
Symptoms of bacterial infection

The symptoms of bacterial infections are similar to those of other diseases caused by microbes. Fever, fatigue, coughing, vomiting, nausea, cramping and inflammation are some of the common signs of bacterial diseases. These are the methods in which the body’s immune system tries to get rid of the infection. However, they can cause mild to moderate and severe diseases, and sometimes it can be fatal, if they attack the organs like kidneys and lungs.

Consulting a doctor is the first step you need to take if you feel that you have an infection. He/she would do the initial exam with you, listening to your medical history and the present symptoms caused by an infection. The physician would order a few tests to conduct, like blood and urine tests. Sometimes a culture test is also done for examining the tissue cells to identify the type of infection that your body is suffering. The initial symptoms, as felt by the patient, play a significant role according to which, the doctor would order the examinations to be done. Gram stain is a test done to identify the bacteria by the composition of their cell walls.

Antibiotics are the only ways to treat diseases caused by bacterial infections. You should take the prescribed medication as per the guidelines of your physician. But since bacteria are adaptable tiny microorganisms, they become resistant to antibiotics. Thus it does not work in improving the situation, destroying the bacteria. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most notorious antibiotic resistant bacterial strain, which resists antibiotics used to treating Staphylococcus infections. It spreads through skin contact, occurs in health care institutes and can lead to blood infections. Since prevention is better than cure, concentrating on building a strong immune system is the key to avoiding bacterial infections and leading a healthy life.