Ic02 Causes and Spread of Infection

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The difference between bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are: Viruses are coated genetic material that invade cells and use the cell’s apparatus for reproduction. Bacteria are single celled organisms. Some classify them as a separate (fourth) kingdom on the tree of life. Fungi are multi-celled organisms that form a third Kingdom of life, along with the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom. Parasites are plants or animals that derive benefit from the metabolism of other plants or animals at the expense of the host and without providing some benefit to the host in return.

Common illness and infection caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are: Bacteria: Food poisoning, Bubonic plague, Bacterial meningitis, Cholera, Diphtheria, Rheumatic fever, Scarlet fever, Tuberculosis Viruses: Chicken pox, Hepatitis A, B, C and HIV, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Shingles, Yellow fever Fungi: Athletes foot, Thrush, Tinea (Ring worm) Parasites: Malaria, Tape worm, Head louse, Bed bug, Body louse The meaning of infection and colonisation Infection is an invasion of the body by a foreign substance such as germs, microbes and parasites these can infect the body in many different ways.

Colonization is the development of a bacterial infection on an individual, as demonstrated by a positive culture. The presence of the bacteria on a body surface (like on the skin, mouth, intestines or airway). The infected person may have no signs or symptoms of infection while still having the potential to infect others. Infection begins when an organism successfully colonizes by entering the body, growing and multiplying.

The meaning of systemic infection and localised infection are Systemic infection means it has infected the whole body, spreading possibly through the blood to all parts of the body causing an all over infection. Localised infection means the infection stays in one place more likely where the infection enters the body and just infects that one area. Poor practices that may lead to the spread of infection. There are many ways to try to reduce the risk of infection. Washing your hands before and after doing individual jobs, using the correct PPE for the task you are carrying out, Gloves, Aprons etc. This can stop the spread of fluids and germs which can be carried on clothes.

Simply covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing then washing your hands will stop the spread of possible infection. Many surfaces can hold germs and bacteria, so even after touching any surfaces hands should be washed or gloves worn where ever possible. The conditions needed for the growth of micro-organisms are: Micro – organisms need food to survive. They like high protein food to survive, eg. Poultry & fish. Most micro – organisms need warmth & grow best at 20-40c. They need moisture to multiply. They need air to multiply, though some can without.

A single Micro-organism becomes two every twenty minutes. An infected agent may enter the body in one of four main ways 1. Down the respiratory tract into the lungs. Coughs, cold, influenza and other common airborne infections are contracted in this fashion. 2. Breaks in the skin. One of the many functions of the skin is to act as a barrier against infection. Anything that penetrates the skin, or for that matter the mucous membrane that lines the mouth or nose, provides a route for infection to enter. Typically, bites, scratches, puncture wounds by needles etc increase the risk of infection.

3. Down the digestive tract. Food, drink or other infected products can be swallowed and infect the stomach or bowels. Most people have experienced an ‘upset stomach’, which reveals itself in the form of diarrhoea and or vomiting. 4. Up the urinary and reproductive systems. The infectious agent may remain localized or may enter the blood stream. Sexually transmitted diseases most commonly infect the genitals. HIV, the AIDS virus, is carried in bodily fluids and can be transmitted in saliva, seminal fluid, or blood.

Common sources of infection are through air, such as people sneezing and coughing spreading airborne germs, these can also be picked up from surfaces and clothing. Fluids can also be a way of carrying infection from person to person this can be done during sexual activity which is the most common. Open cuts and grazes can be an easy way in for infections. Infective agents can be transmitted to a person by many means, airborne and inhalation into the body, they can also through cuts and open wounds, some can penetrate through the skin, not washing your hands after going to the toilet and any sexual act that fluids are exchanged.

Using dirty needles when injecting (drug user /diabetic), if you eat food that is infected this will get into the system, or cutting yourself on unclean and unsterile items ie: standing on a rusty nail. The key factors that will make it more likely that infection will occur, if the person is run down and their immune system is low. Poor hygiene can lead to infection, not keeping all parts of the body clean, any cuts or sores, if these are not treated or dressings are not changed regularly will lead to infection. Generally personal care if not kept up with will lead to infection. Unprotected sex is also a big factor in the spread of infection.

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