You have probably heard the word before as something to avoid and the reason you wash your hands during flu season. It’s the event where your body is invaded by foreign agents that can cause disease.
What is an infection?
During this invasion, a microbe enters your tissue and transforms you into a host where they multiply. This multiplication releases toxins that get you sick, and it can affect you in different ways. The resulting illness can be spread, which is why it’s then referred to as an infectious, transmissible, or communicable disease.
What causes infection?
It’s not just a bacterium that is a culprit to these outbreaks, in addition to bacteria, pathogens can include;
Fungi: No not like portabella mushrooms, a fungus is a classification of an organism drifting between the plant and animal kingdoms. This category is subclassified into Ascomycota (yeasts like Candida and filamentous types such as Pneumocystis.
Viruses: Interestingly enough, they force YOUR cells to reproduce rather than use your tissue like a breeding ground. There is controversy if they are classified as living -but officially they aren’t. Also viroids like potato spindle tuber disease and prions like Creutzfeldt Jakob disease.
Parasites: A parasite isn’t always a tapeworm. It can be unicellular like malaria or Toxoplasma. Macroparasites, that can be observed with the naked eye, this includes worms, helminths, and flukes. An arthropod is also a macroparasite that transmits human disease, but they aren’t always infectious. Arthropods consist of invertebrates that have an exoskeleton, bilateral symmetry, segmented body, and jointed appendages. Think bugs like lice, ticks, and fleas. There are plenty of safe ones though like horseshoe crabs, lobsters, and butterflies.
Why are they dangerous?
These substances can damage the cells in your body. They can disrupt the function of cells, overpopulate, inactivate them, or just kill them. In response to the entrance of such a substance, our immune system jumps into action to destroy them. Antibodies, leukocytes, and other mechanisms have different removal options our body has incorporated to battle infection. Some involved engulfing and disintegrating, turning up the heat, or the secretion of interferon. We can see ourselves when we experience inflammation and high fever. Sometimes, the damage from the microbes can kill us, other times, our bodily response can do it (consider a severe shock from an allergic reaction). Severity differs greatly and you have life threatening cases like sepsis but also everyday infections that pose no real threat.
Are they more dangerous to some people?
Yes. You can’t just get rid of an agent without some help. If we were to have no protective measures in place, they could just go about their destructive ways until we die. Stronger immune systems are able to fight better, weaker ones have some difficulty. Age and health can impact an ability to fight infection. Someone who is a strong teen that is fit has a better chance than an infant, elderly individual, or someone who suffers from diseases. The correct term, immunocompromised, refers to people who have a compromised immune system. Someone that has AIDS or is undergoing chemotherapy would fit the description.
Can blood blisters get infected?
Like any other damage to the body that has the chance to allow an opening for microbes to enter, blood blisters can get infected. The risk increases if you pop them and the wound because further irritated and opened up to the world around it. Although removing it can be accidental, many people do it on purpose. Resist temptation. If it is painful and causing extreme discomfort, talk to your doctor about how to remove or drain it safely.
What does an infected blood blister look like?
An infected blood blister will be painful and inflamed. Pus may begin to form in the site of bursting or where the blood was pooled. Heat on the affected site is also reported. In extreme cases, you may feel unwell and have a fever.
A bit of discomfort is to expected, but when it persists and impacts your life, talk to a doctor and get it checked out. The earlier you treat it, the faster it heals.
How to treat infection?
There are several treatments that can be effective, depending on the severity and personal allergies. Certain medicated ointments can reduce inflammation and contain medicine to help fight off the infection. Over the counter options like Neosporin can help with prevention and be used at the initial signs. You may even have to take oral antibiotics to bring assistance to your bloodstream in bacterial events. Keeping it clean and monitoring any negative changes is crucial to making sure your recovery is on track. Always follow instructions given by your physician directly.
Even if the infection disappears and you no longer feel any negative symptoms, continue administering the dosage as instructed until the end. Absence of symptoms does not mean it’s fully eradicated. Weakened microbes can be left behind and halting the medication can allow it to strengthen and you’ll become sick again, possibly with a stronger infection as it was able to outlive the first set of doses that managed to kill the other ones.
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