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What are the Most Common Bacterial Infections?

Thursday 8 July 2021
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. What Does Bacteria Do to the Body?

II. Common Bacterial Infections

a. Urinary Infections

b. Skin Infections

c. Dental Infections

d. Chest Infections

III. Antibiotics for Infections

What Does Bacteria Do to the Body?

It is important to understand bacteria to learn about the effect bacteria has on the body. Bacteria are single-cell micro-organisms that exist practically everywhere. Bacteria can be found thriving and surviving in almost every climate and place on earth. These locations include the air, soil, water, and on animals and humans.

Although the term “bacteria” tends to have a negative connotation, there are many good bacteria that play vital roles in maintaining the health and balance of our environment. Case in point, plants need certain bacteria in the soil to grow. Likewise, certain strains of bacteria are beneficial to humans for improving digestion and immunity against harmful invading substances.

To date, there are about 30,000 types of bacteria species that have been formally named. Considering this large figure, the number of bacteria that are harmful to humans is relatively low. Still, bacterial infections can occur and cause mild to severe symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed, you may be wondering which is the strongest antibiotic for bacterial infections. Common bacterial infection drugs your doctor may prescribe include Levaquin (levofloxacin) and retapamulin. Read on to learn more about the most common types of bacterial infections. [1]

Common Bacterial Infections

Infectious bacteria can reproduce quickly in your body and make you feel ill. Harmful bacteria can excrete toxins that can damage your muscles and tissues. Below are some of the most common types of bacterial infections. [2]

someone washing their hands

a. Urinary Infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) describes any type of infection that affects the urinary system. Your urinary system consists of your urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. However, infections to the bladder and urethra are more common. UTIs can spread to the kidneys if left untreated, which can develop into more severe symptoms and health complications. [3]

The most common bacteria that causes UTIs is called Escherichia coli (E. coli). Normally, E. coli lives in the intestinal tract without any issues. Symptoms only arise when this type of bacteria finds itself in the urinary tract. Women are more likely to develop this type of infection than men since the distance between the anus and the urethra is shorter in women. For this reason, women can lower the risk of a UTI by wiping front to back after using the toilet. [3]

b. Skin Infections

Many types of bacteria live on our skin, and most do not cause any type of adverse reaction. But when they do establish an infection, symptoms can include pus, reddening, blister-like sores, swelling, and a fever. [4]

If your immune system is healthy and strong, your bacterial skin infection risk will be low. However, if you have a condition or are undergoing treatment that affects the immune system, skin infections are more likely. For example, diabetes, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, and chemotherapy can increase the risk of a bacterial skin infection. [5]

Bacteria may enter the skin through openings where the hair grows (hair follicles). Some of the more common types of skin infections include:

  • Cellulitis
  • Impetigo
  • Folliculitis
  • Erysipelas
  • Acne

Besides prescription medications, maintaining the cleanliness of your skin with a proper hygiene routine can lower your chances of getting a bacterial skin infection.

a dentist checking a patient’s teeth

c. Dental Infections

A dental infection occurs when a bacterial infection occurs in the mouth, either on or near a tooth. When a tooth is affected, an abscess (pocket of pus) can occur. An abscess at the tip of the root is called a periapical abscess, while one that occurs in the gums is referred to as a periodontal abscess. Dental infections are most commonly caused by the bacteria mutans streptococci. This type of infection can cause symptoms such as:

  • Throbbing toothache
  • Sensitivity when chewing, biting, or exerting pressure
  • Fever
  • Cheek or face swelling
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Foul smell in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing

Dental infections can lead to severe pain, and the infection can enter the bloodstream and cause sepsis. Because sepsis is a life-threatening situation, it is important to seek treatment whenever you are experiencing tooth pain or dental problems. By keeping up with your dental hygiene, you can reduce your risk of experiencing a dental abscess. [6]

d. Chest Infections

Bacterial pneumonia involves an infection in the lungs. With this condition, the lungs fill with fluid and become inflamed and irritated. Chest infections are uncommon in young people due to their stronger immune systems, but young people can still be affected. Pneumonia caused by a bacterial infection is more likely in those 65 or older or those with asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. [7]

Symptoms of a chest infection include coughing green, yellow, or bloody mucus, excessive sweating, diminished appetite, sharp chest pain, or a high fever. You may be able to reduce your risk of a bacterial chest infection if you avoid smoking and places where the air is polluted. [7]

someone holding pills

Antibiotics for Infections

Bacterial infections are most often treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics work to relieve symptoms and help with recovery from an infection. It works by killing the offending bacteria (or making it difficult for the bacteria to continue multiplying). Antibiotics like amoxicillin can treat pneumonia, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and certain other types of bacterial infections at your doctor’s discretion.

Over-relying on antibiotics can cause your body to develop “antibiotic resistance.” This condition occurs when the bacteria adapt to the antibiotics and become significantly more difficult to kill. Over time, the bacteria can change to become impossible to kill, which can be detrimental to your health. [8]

To prevent bacterial infections, your doctor will recommend a nutritious diet to bolster your immune system. Living an active lifestyle and exercising regularly can also strengthen your immune system to fight against any harmful bacteria. When detected and treated early, most bacterial infections are not dangerous. If you have been recently diagnosed with a bacterial infection, find your antibiotics prescription on Canada Drug Warehouse today.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.