How do infections spread?
Infections are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. They’re spread by:
- Exposure to coughs and sneezes of infected people
- Contact with contaminated food, water, and surfaces
- Contact with people who are infected, such as through kissing or sexual intercourse
- Contact with creatures that are infected, such as pets, livestock, and insects, including fleas and ticks
Infections can lead to diseases, ranging from mild to severe, though less than 1% of bacteria actually cause disease in people.
What are the most common infections?
There are different types of infections that are often grouped depending on where the infection is located in your body. The most common infections are:
Your skin helps to protect you, but often takes a hit in its role, which results in skin infections. The most common skin infections are:
Viral – shingles, herpes simplex, and warts
Fungal – athlete’s foot and yeast infections
Parasitic – body lice, head lice, and scabies
Bacterial – cellulitis, impetigo, and staphylococcal infections
An ear infection is the most common cause of earaches. It can affect both adults and children, but children are more vulnerable. Infections that develop in the sinus cavities can infect the ear through the eustachian tube, the tube that connects your ear to your upper respiratory tract.
What are the symptoms of an infection?
While they vary depending on the type of infection, common symptoms include:
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Skin redness
- Inflammation or swelling
Some symptoms are a result of your immune system fighting to get rid of the infection.
How are infections diagnosed and treated?
It can be difficult to determine what caused an infection, but a workup that includes a physical exam, diagnostic testing such as blood work, and a medical history usually yields a diagnosis.
How the infection is treated depends on the type of infection and its severity. Viral infections, such as influenza and HIV, can be treated or better managed with antiviral medications.
Antibiotics are often prescribed to fight bacterial infections, typically over the course of a few days to a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, some bacteria have developed a resistance to antibiotics and other treatments are necessary.
Rest assured that the Village Emergency Centers physician quickly devises a plan of action to diagnose, treat, and monitor your infection and get you back to better health. The facility is open 24 hours a day, seven days week, so come in anytime an infection is causing you pain or discomfort.