As you think about infections, mostly we think of virus, bacteria, and possibly fungus. And these are the main causes of infections. And we all know that infection is bad. But we often fail to understand how we get infections and what a infections really means. We’ve become so used to saying the word, we don’t know what is really happening.
These are very hard to understand, even more so than bacteria and fungus. We toss the word around, but understanding is another thing. Viruses are small particles. It’s hard to describe them as organisms. Instead, these particles invade the body and overtake your own cells. These hijacked cells are set to work with a single goal…making new viruses. The cycle goes over and over again. There are a number of different types of viruses. They can affect animals, humans, plants, and others
Is somewhat more easy to understand. They are much larger than viruses and can be seen with a microscope. Therefore, they are classified as microorganisms. They can be different shapes and sizes. Bacteria can be found in any part of the world. In hot springs, cold and dark caves, and any other place imaginable. The body is one of those areas. Bacteria attack cells, destroy them, or overwhelm them. They have their own set of defenses. They are respectable adversaries. But, not all of them are out to kill our own cells.
This area of examination is almost as interesting. This is a large category and a large organism. Fungal are defined as cellular organisms. The are larger than viruses and bacteria. They are comprised of yeast and molds. They can cause infections and illness. But like bacteria, aren’t always bad.
Now…back to bacteria. Since they can be found anywhere and aren’t bad. Let’s take a look at where they are found…in the human body.
This is what is said when bacteria is found on the surfaces of the body. Most of the time, they aren’t hurting and they are helping. But in some specific areas, bacteria are helpful and almost necessary, eyes, mouth
Studies after studies have shown that the skin has bacteria in almost every place imaginable. Bacteria have even been found in the layers of the skin. Another large area of bacteria growth is near and in hair follicles. Skin infections occur when a bacteria that shouldn’t be there gets into an area of skin. Cuts, abrasions, scratching, hair follicles, shaving and other routes can lead to skin infections.
There are a much smaller number of bacteria in and near the eye. Typically tears have a molecule called lysozyme that prevents bacteria from living inside the eye. The main mechanisms of infection are wiping bacteria from hand into the eye or from a foreign object. But there are others.
Bacteria in the mouth is common, but not always a good thing. Two major dental diseases are associated with bacteria – dental caries and periodontal disease. Brushing of teeth actually helps remove bacteria; toothpaste prevents additional growth, but only for a short amount of time. As we eat and drink, the bacteria return quickly.
The bacteria in the gut are really bacteria of the digestive tract. This area of the body has a very large percentage of bacteria. Digestion is greatly improved by their presence. The bacteria themselves have a perfect place to live and our body needs them. Individuals that live in different areas of the country may have different bacteria in their stomachs and intestines. This process begins immediately after childbirth. When the good bacteria dies or is overridden by bad bacteria, sickness ensues.
This is an interesting part of the body. Like the stomach and intestines, good bacteria prevent infections. Inside the Vagina, the lactobacillus is the common bacteria type. This type of bacteria prevents women from getting bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections, and yeast infections. In other words, a women’s health may be largely dependent on the bacteria.
Bacteria have gotten a bad rap for what they do…and for good reasons. They can cause sickness, infection, and even cause a life threatening illnesses. But a healthy understanding about how bacteria work is essential. Knowing that there are good bacteria and that we need to eat right, avoid things that can kill the good bacteria, and strive to keep clean, can help us in the long run.