Acute Bacterial Infection
The first sign of an acute bacterial infection is the inflammation caused by bacteria colonizing a host organism. Infection can be caused by different types of bacteria contracted from the surrounding environment or, sometimes, by imbalances of the bacteria already existent in the body.
It is very important to distinguish bacterial infections from viral infections because the treatment followed will be different. Acute bacterial infection is always treated with antibiotics, while acute viral infections are treated with antiviral. The symptoms are also different in each type of infection. While viral infections are systemic, involving more than a single part of the body, acute bacterial infections usually affect only a part of the body. For example, in the case of an ear infection, if the pain occurs in just one ear the infection is most likely to be bacterial. On the other hand, viral infections are usually not painful such as herpes which feels itchy and burning.
Bacteria such as Streptococcus or Staphylococcus are normally present in the human flora but when they get out of balance they can cause severe infection such pneumonia or meningitis. They can also be responsible for sepsis, a blood infection which is most of the times life-threatening. They are usually found on the skin or in the nose. Other bacteria causing acute bacterial infections in humans are different species of Rickettsia. This is an intracellular parasite which causes typhus or the Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Chlamydia is another common bacterium responsible for acute infections affecting especially the urinary tract. Some species of Chlamydia are responsible for pneumonia and some of them are associated with the coronary heart disease. Some types of bacteria only cause infections in people who are immune-suppressed or who suffer from cystic fibrosis. Some of them are Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cenocepacia or Mycobacterium avium. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium causing tuberculosis. Bacteria are also responsible for infections such as tetanus, typhoid fever, diphtheria or syphilis.
Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. Treatment is given depending on the area that is infected and sometimes bacterial infections need a longer therapy because there is a big chance that the disease is recurrent. Antibiotics can kill the bacteria by interrupting their reproduction cycle but they are not effective on viruses. Thus, if a person is suspecting an infection it is always best to seek the opinion of a doctor in order to establish if the infection is viral or bacterial. The main antibiotics recommended for bacterial infections are the broad spectrum antibiotics that work against a variety of bacteria. These are penicillin, cephalosporin or tetracycline. However, some of the antibiotics work on specific bacteria. Natural remedies are also available for bacterial infection such as garlic, goldenseal or tracheal but their efficacy is doubtable. However, the best is to prevent these infections by maintain a proper hygiene, frequent hand washing or following a healthy diet.
Acute bacterial infection is most of the time an easy to treat illness if following a proper therapy, with symptoms that usually disappear within few days the treatment is administrated but it can also lead to more serious medical conditions, such as pneumonia or sepsis.