Pseudomonas infections are diseases caused by a bacteria belonging to the genus Pseudomonas. Bacteria are widespread in the environment, such as soil, water and plants, but generally do not cause infection in healthy people. When an infection occurs in a healthy person, it is usually mild. More severe infections occur in people who are currently hospitalized with another illness or condition or people with a weakened immune system.
Pseudomonates are quite common pathogens involved in hospital acquired infections. Pathogen is a disease-causing microorganism and hospital acquired infections are called hospital infections. Infections can occur anywhere on the body, and symptoms depend on which part of the body is infected. Antibiotics are used to treat infections, and Pseudomonas infection can be fatal in people who are already very ill.
Symptoms of Pseudomonas Infections
Infections in the skin tend to be less severe than infections in the blood or lungs. The specific symptoms depend on where the infection has occurred and they are as follows:
A bacterial infection in the blood is called bacteremia and is a serious infection. It is formed while bacteria are in the bloodstream. Despite its name, the infection has nothing to do with the poison. Although not a medical term, blood poisoning is used to describe bacteremia, septicemia, or sepsis. Sepsis is a potentially very serious and deadly infection, and blood poisoning can quickly turn into sepsis. Rapid diagnosis and treatment is essential to treating blood poisoning, but understanding the risk factors is the first step to preventing the condition. Blood infection is one of the most serious infections caused by pseudomonas and has symptoms. These symptoms are as follows:
•Muscle and joint pain
Also, bacteremia with pseudomonas can cause very low blood pressure known as hemodynamic shock, which can lead to failure of other organs, including the heart, kidneys, and liver.
Lung infection is called pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection that occurs in one or both lungs. Bacteria, viruses and fungi cause this. The infection causes inflammation in the air sacs called alveoli in the lungs, and the alveoli fill with fluid or pus, making breathing difficult. The symptoms are as follows:
• Cough with or without sputum production
• Difficulty breathing
When this bacteria infects the skin, it mostly affects the hair follicles and this is called folliculitis. Folliculitis is inflammation or infection that can affect one or more hair follicles. Hair follicles are small spaces surrounding the roots of the hair. Folliculitis can occur on the skin wherever hair grows, including the scalp. It occurs most often in the thighs, buttocks, neck and armpits, ie where friction is common. It usually appears as small bumps and can look like pimples or a rash. It can be isolated to a hair follicle or affect many of them. It can be acute or chronic, with acute cases occurring for a short time while chronic cases persist. Folliculitis is relatively common, and people who are obese are more likely to experience it. The symptoms are as follows:
- Redness of the skin
- Abscess formation on the skin
- Flowing wounds
Pseudomonas can sometimes cause external ear canal infection and may result in swimmer’s ear. Outer ear infection is an infection of the outer opening of the ear and ear canal that connects the outside of the ear to the eardrum. This type of infection is medically known as otitis externa, and a common type of otitis externa is called swimmer’s ear. This outer ear infection is usually caused by exposure to moisture. The symptoms are as follows:
- Itching in the ear
- Discharge from the ear
- Hard of hearing
When you notice some pain, swelling, itching or redness in the eyes, it is probably an eye infection. Eye infections fall into three specific categories depending on their cause: viral, bacterial, or fungal, and each is treated differently. Eye infections are not difficult to detect, so they must be treated quickly. There are symptoms of an eye infection and these are:
• Defect of vision
However, pseudomonas infections can be very aggressive, especially infections in the lungs or skin.
What Causes Pseudomonas Infections?
Pseudomonas infections are caused by a free-living bacterium of the genus Pseudomonas. They prefer moist areas and are widely found in soil and water. Only a few of its many species cause disease, and the most common species that cause infection is Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Who is at Risk?
Healthy people are usually at low risk of infection. People who already have a weakened immune system due to another disease or condition are at higher risk of infection. This is usually the case for people who stay in hospital for a long time. Bacteria can spread in hospitals by healthcare professionals’ hands or by improperly cleaned hospital equipment. Pseudomonas infections are considered as opportunistic infections. This means that the organism only causes illness if a person’s immune system is already compromised. There are situations that can increase the risk of infection and these are:
- Burning wounds
- Receiving chemotherapy for cancer
- Cystic fibrosis
- HIV or AIDS
- Presence of foreign body such as mechanical ventilator or catheter
- Undergoing an invasive procedure such as surgery
In addition, infections can be severe in people whose immune systems are already at risk. Very mild illnesses such as skin rashes and ear infections have been reported in healthy people. Infection can occur after exposure to poorly chlorinated hot water pools and swimming pools. This is sometimes called a hot tub rash. Eye infections can occur in people who wear contact if they use infected contact lens solution. Pseudomonas can infect any part of the body, including the liver, brain, bones, and sinuses. However, infection of these sites and those that are not mentioned is much less common than the infections listed above.
How Are Pseudomonas Infections Treated?
Pseudomonas infections are treated with antibiotics, and unfortunately, many pseudomonas infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat. These bacteria have developed their ability to adapt and overcome antibiotics in their environment. This is called antibiotic resistance. The increase in antibiotic resistance makes it much more difficult to treat infections. Pseudomonas infections can often develop resistance to more than one antibiotic and sometimes even during treatment. It is important for the physician to select an effective antibiotic, and to be sure, they can send a sample from the patient to the laboratory for testing, and the laboratory tests the sample to determine which antibiotic will work best. Treatment may involve one or more types of antibiotics, and these are:
• Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or levofloxacin
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Ear infections and skin infections from swimming pools and hot tubs are typically mild. Serious infections can be fatal if not treated immediately. If the person has new symptoms of concern, they should call their doctor. Fast treatment with the right antibiotic speeds up the healing process.