The body contains thousands of bacteria that play an important role in maintaining health. Bacterial infections can occur when these bacteria reproduce uncontrollably and invade other parts of the body, or when bad bacteria enter the body's system. Bacterial infections vary, ranging from mild to severe. Keep reading this article to learn how to detect and treat bacterial infections.
Method 1 of 5: Getting Medical Treatment
Step 1. Write down all the symptoms you are experiencing
Here are some symptoms of a bacterial infection that may require you to be treated by a doctor.
- Fever, especially with headache or neck pain
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain
- Cough that lasts longer than a week
- Rash or swelling that doesn't go away
- Increased pain in the urinary glands (eg pain when urinating, pain in the back/lower abdomen)
- Pain, swelling, burning sensation, appearance of pus or red discharge from the wound
Step 2. Make an appointment with the doctor
The only way to determine what type of bacterial infection you have is to see a doctor. If you think you have an infection, call your doctor and schedule an appointment right away. He or she may perform blood tests, urine tests, or examine the infected area to determine what type of infection you have.
Remember that a bacterial infection can only be diagnosed by a doctor. If you suspect you have an infection, note the symptoms and see a doctor immediately
Step 3. Ask your doctor about the different types of antibiotics
Learning about the types of antibiotics available will help you understand what your doctor has prescribed.
- Broad-spectrum antibiotics fight a wide variety of bacteria. This antibiotic treats both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, so your doctor may prescribe it if he or she is not sure what type of bacteria you are attacking.
Amoxicillin, Augmentin, Tetracycline, and Ciprofloxacin are examples of broad-spectrum antibiotics
- Medium-spectrum antibiotics will attack a certain group of bacteria. Penicillin and bacitracin are examples of medium-spectrum antibiotics.
- Narrow-spectrum antibiotics are made to treat a specific type of bacteria. An example is polymyxin. Treatment will be much easier and more effective if your doctor knows what type of bacterial infection you have.
Step 4. Follow the doctor's instructions to treat the infection
Your doctor will choose the type of antibiotic that is most effective against the bacteria causing the infection in your body. Be aware that there are different types of antibiotics and only a doctor can prescribe them.
Make sure you know how much antibiotic you should take, and when it's a good time to take it. Some types of antibiotics should be taken with meals, at night, etc. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about the dosage instructions
Step 5. Take all the antibiotics your doctor has prescribed
Otherwise, the infection in the body can get worse. You can also become resistant to antibiotics, making it more difficult to treat the infection later in life.
Even if you feel better, you still need to take antibiotics to kill any remaining bacteria left in your body. If you stop too soon, your infection will never completely recover
Method 2 of 5: Cleaning Wounds to Prevent Bacterial Infection
Step 1. Prevent skin infections by immediately cleaning and dressing the wound
Proper first aid is an important step to prevent bacterial infections. However, you should never try to treat a severe wound that shows flesh alone. If the wound is deep, wide, or bleeding profusely, seek medical attention immediately.
Step 2. Wash your hands before treating the wound
If you treat a wound with dirty hands, you will increase your risk of getting a bacterial infection. Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap for 20 seconds then dry them well. Wear latex or vinyl gloves if available.
Avoid latex if you are allergic to it
Step 3. Press the wound until it stops bleeding
If the bleeding is severe, seek medical attention immediately. Don't try to deal with a serious wound alone. Visit the emergency room or call 911.
Step 4. Clean the wound with warm running water
Hold the wound under running water to clean it. Do not use plain soap on the wound when the wound is still visibly dirty. Clean it first with a mild soap. Also, avoid hydrogen peroxide to clean the wound. Hydrogen peroxide can interfere with the healing process.
If there is dirt on the wound, try cleaning it with tweezers that have been sterilized with alcohol. If you are afraid, ask a doctor for help
Step 5. Apply the ointment
Antibiotic ointments such as Neosporin can help wounds heal faster and keep the infection at bay. Gently apply the ointment to the injured area after you've cleaned it.
Step 6. Bandage your wound
If the wound is a minor scratch, allow it to air dry. If it is deeper, cover it with sterile gauze. Nonstick tape with medical tape is the best option for larger wounds, although you can also use a large band-aid. Make sure you don't apply glue to the area over the wound, as this can open the wound again when you remove the bandage.
Change the gauze once a day if it gets dirty. The best time to do this is in the shower
Step 7. Look for signs of infection
If the sore is red, swells, oozes pus, bleeds, or looks like it's getting worse, call your doctor.
Method 3 of 5: Preventing Bacterial Infections from Food
Step 1. Keep both hands clean
Before handling food, always wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water for 20 seconds. Dry with a clean towel. If you handle raw meat, wash your hands afterward to avoid contaminating food or other objects.
Step 2. Wash the food well
Wash your food well. Wash raw fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Even organic foods need to be washed. Use an antibacterial cleaner on surfaces that come into contact with raw food to kill potentially hazardous bacteria.
Use a different cutting board for each type of food, so you can avoid contaminating raw vegetables, fruits and meat
Step 3. Cook the food well
Follow raw food preparation instructions to make sure you cook them properly. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the temperature is right.
Method 4 of 5: Preventing the Spread of Infection
Step 1. Wash your hands
Thorough and regular hand washing (especially after touching your face, mouth, or nose when you are sick; touching someone who is sick; or changing a baby's diaper) can reduce the number of germs that are at risk for you.
Wash your hands with soap and warm (or hot) water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure you clean the area between your fingers and nails. Then, rinse your hands with clean water
Step 2. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
Help others stay healthy when you are sick, by covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze/cough. This will help keep your germs from flying in the air.
- Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing before you touch other people or common surfaces, such as doorknobs or light switches.
- You can also cover your mouth or nose with the crease of your arm (the inside of your elbow). This way, the spread of germs will be limited, without you having to wash your hands every 2 minutes when you are sick.
Step 3. Stay home when you are sick
You can limit the spread of germs by avoiding other people when you are sick. If possible, rest all day; your co-workers will appreciate your good intentions.
Step 4. Make sure children stay home when they are sick
Treatment centers and schools are often infested with infectious germs. Infections often pass from child to child, so they get sick and parents are stressed. Avoid this by making sure they stay home when they are sick. They will recover quickly with treatment, and you are also helping to prevent others from contracting the disease.
Step 5. Always follow the latest vaccinations
Make sure you and your children have received all the recommended vaccinations for your age group and geographic area. Vaccines help prevent infections and diseases before they occur. Remember, prevention is better than cure.
Method 5 of 5: Understanding Common Bacterial Infections
Step 1. Understand infections caused by staph bacteria
Staphylococci, more commonly known as staph, are a group of gram-positive cocci bacteria. The term "gram" refers to the pattern of gram stains of bacteria when viewed under a microscope. The word “cocci” denotes its shape. This type of bacteria usually enters the body through cuts or scrapes.
- Staph aureus is the most common type of staph infection. These infections can cause pneumonia, food poisoning, skin infections, blood poisoning, or toxic shock syndrome.
- MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a staph infection that is difficult to treat. MRSA does not respond to some types of antibiotics and is thought to mutate to fight them. Thus, many doctors will not prescribe antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.
Step 2. Learn about strep bacterial infection
Streptococci, more commonly referred to by the term "strep", are the gram-positive cocci in the series, and are a common type of bacteria. Streptococci cause sore throat, pneumonia, cellulitis, impetigo, fever rash, rheumatic fever, acute glomerulonephritis, meningitis, otitis media, sinusitis, and many other infections.
Step 3. Identify Escherichia coli bacteria
E. coli, Escherichia coli, rod-shaped bacteria that are gram negative, can be found in the remains of animal and human feces. The types of groups of bacteria E. Coli vary widely. Some of the variants are dangerous, though most are not. E. Coli can cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal infections, urinary glands, respiration, and others.
Step 4. Understand salmonella infection
Salmonella is a rod-shaped bacterium that is gram-negative, and can irritate the digestive system. Salmonella can cause severe illness that requires prolonged antibiotic treatment. Raw or undercooked porridge, meat, and eggs may contain salmonella.
Step 5. Understand haemophilus flu infections
The flu is caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, which is a gram-negative rod. Transmission through the air so it is very easy to spread. These bacteria can cause epiglottis, meningitis, otitis media, and pneumonia. The infection can be so severe that the sufferer is disabled for life, or even dies.
Haemophilus influenzae cannot be eradicated with ordinary "flu medicine," which is useful for eradicating flu-causing viruses, but most young children are usually vaccinated against this bacterium when they are young (the vaccine's name is “Hib” vaccine)
- If you are allergic to certain antibiotics, wear a wristband or carry an allergy card just in case you can't communicate in an emergency.
- Use an antibacterial alcohol gel if you can't wash your hands right away, but don't assume it replaces a handwashing session.
- If you frequently interact with someone who has a bacterial infection, make sure you wash your hands and avoid physical contact as much as possible.
- Watch for signs of an allergic reaction while taking antibiotics. You can develop a reaction at any age, regardless of your history of taking certain antibiotics. Signs of this reaction can include a rash (especially those that are honeycomb or welts), as well as shortness of breath. Call your doctor if you think you are allergic and stop taking antibiotics.
- Children under one year of age who take broad-spectrum antibiotics may be more at risk of developing asthma attacks. However, be aware that if your doctor prescribes this antibiotic for your child, he or she may do so because the benefits outweigh the risks. Broad-spectrum antibiotics may be the only option to combat infection.
- Adults who take broad-spectrum antibiotics may become resistant to narrow-spectrum antibiotics.