Bacterial Infections

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial Infections
Bacterial infections like typhoid, strep throat and some sexually transmitted diseases are infections caused by different types of bacteria. These infections are often treated with doctor-prescribed antibiotics. Either viruses or bacteria can cause infections, so it’s important to get examined by a doctor to make sure you’re prescribed the correct medication.

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    Adenoiditis is inflammation or swelling of the adenoids due to infection. The adenoids are a mass of lymph tissue that sits high in your throat, behind your nose and the roof of your mouth. They help to prevent infections, but are prone to infection themselves.

    Adenoiditis can cause symptoms including:
    • difficulty breathing through the nose
    • a nasal sound to the voice
    • snoring
    • obstructive sleep apnea
    Adenoitis left untreated can sometimes last for weeks and can lead to repeated sinus infections (sinusitis), with swollen sinuses and persistent thick green or yellow mucus. Children with adenoiditis are prone to ear infections because of the proximity of the adenoid tissue to the ears' eustachian tubes behind the nose. Enlarged adenoids can block the eustacian tubes, creating a breeding ground for ear infections.

    Usually, adenoiditis can be treated with antibiotics. If antibiotics fail to clear up the infection or if symptoms recur immediately after the antibiotics are stopped, the adenoid tissue may have to be removed surgically.
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    Colorado tick fever is a virus that is spread through the bite of a tick. It usually comes from a tick called the "wood tick," which is most common in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States (including Colorado, Utah and Montana) and parts of Canada (Alberta and British Columbia). This disease is most common in the spring and summer months, and in mountain areas. Symptoms can vary from mild to life-threatening, and they usually start about 3 to 7 days after the tick bite. They usually include flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, headache, an overall feeling of illness and muscle aches. Some people also have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a sore throat, sensitivity to light, a fever that comes and goes or a rash of small, flat, red spots. Serious complications that affect the nervous system are rare, but possible. Because this is a virus, antibiotics cannot be used to treat it. Treatment involves managing the fever, pain and other symptoms.
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    A brain abscess is an infection in the brain, usually caused by bacteria or a fungus. The infection leads to a build up of pus and inflamed and damaged tissue in the brain, which can lead to dangerous swelling. People at risk for a brain abscess include those with a chronic disease or a weak immune system. People with right-to-left heart shunts due to congenital heart disease are also at higher risk. Symptoms of a brain abscess include mental changes, such as confusion, language problems, irritability and drowsiness. People may also have headaches, a stiff neck, vision problems, seizures, fever, chills and vomiting. If not treated quickly, they may go into a coma.
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    Relapsing fever is an illness that is spread by ticks or body lice. In the US, it is usually caused by a tick bite. Both the tick and louse form of the disease cause fever that comes and goes, which may be followed by severe chills, shaking and sometimes coma or death. The tick form of relapsing fever often causes a fever that lasts about three days, then returns as much as two weeks later. With the louse form, fever usually lasts three to six days, followed by a less severe fever. Without treatment, both types of relapsing fever can lead to severe symptoms and death. Getting antiobiotic treatment as quickly as possible greatly improves a person's chance of recovery. Symptoms of relapsing fever include headaches, joint and muscle aches, drooping or sagging on one side of the face, nausea and vomiting, a stiff neck, weakness, and fever, shaking and chills.
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    A bacterial vaginosis test is a laboratory procedure in which a sample of vaginal discharge is examined under a microscope to look for signs of bacterial vaginosis, a vaginal infection with harmful bacteria.

    Your doctor will use a cotton swab to collect the sample of discharge from your vagina. Once at the laboratory, a lab technician may do one or more kinds of bacterial vaginosis tests. The laboratory professional might look to see if the discharge has a higher than normal pH, genetic material of the bacteria, an unusual odor or signs of bacteria -- mainly "clue cells," cells from the vaginal wall that have clumps of bacteria stuck to them. These changes indicate bacterial vaginosis is present.
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    Tick paralysis is a treatable condition caused by a tick bite. It causes loss of muscle function, which means a person can no longer move. The paralysis and weakness moves up from the lower body to the upper body. This usually happens over several days. As the paralysis moves up, the lungs can be affected, leading to breathing problems and the need for breathing support. Once the tick is removed, symptoms usually get better quickly. The root cause of the paralysis is a neurotoxin, injected into the person's body through the tick's bite.
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    Clue cells are cells from the lining of the vagina that are coated in bacteria. They may be found in a woman's vaginal fluid or discharge. They're called clue cells because the presence of bacteria on them can help doctors diagnose a vaginal infection, such as bacterial vaginosis. Clue cells are usually taken from the vagina using a swab. They are then viewed on a slide, under a microscope.
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    Ehrlichiosis iis a group of bacterial diseases that is spread through the bite of a tick. These diseases usually come from the "lone star tick," a type of tick that's more common in the eastern half of the United States (including Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Wisconsin and many other states). Many people don't realize they've had a tick bite. While symptoms vary from person to person, they usually start as early as 5 days but more often 12 days after the tick bite. They usually include flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. Some people also have diarrhea or a rash that looks like flat, red spots or small red dots on the skin. Serious complications are possible, but most people recover completely from the illness with antibiotic treatment.
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    Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can lead to serious and often deadly illnesses including pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections. Annually, pneumococcal meningitis and blood infections kill thousands of adults, and up to 175,000 people are hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia. People ages 65 and older have a higher risk of contracting pneumococcal disease and developing serious illness.