WHAT ARE INFECTIONS?

Infections are a type of pathology often present in our daily lives, more often than we think.

Let’s try to clarify what an infection is.

What is an infection? It is an invasion with multiplication of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites, which are not normally present in our body. An infection may be present with symptoms or remain silent. It can remain localized, or spread into the body through blood or lymphatic vessels and become in this way a systemic one. In our body there are also good microorganisms, which are not to be considered infections: it is the case of the bacteria in the mouth and of those in the intestine.

A disease that is produced and manifested as a result of an infection is an infectious pathology.

Our body tends to react through its immune system to these unwelcome guests, often causing inflammation in the affected area and so a defensive response. The reaction of our body, when it is not sufficient, may require pharmacological support through antibiotics and other anti-infective drugs.

It is precisely when our body is not sufficiently able to defend itself – because its immune defenses are low or because, for example, a trauma has remarkably opened up its access routes – that it is more easily exposed to the action of the infectious agents, which are taking opportunistically advantage of its weakness. In this situation, both those microorganisms normally present within our bodies and the so-called primary pathogens, i.e. those normally carrying infections in healthy bodies, play as potential sources of serious infection. The lowering of our immune defenses can take place for various reasons, including genetic defects, exposure to chemical agents suppressing them momentarily (such as poisoning or chemotherapy), exposure to ionizing rays, or as a consequence to infectious diseases attacking immune defenses (such as measles, malaria or HIV).

Learning how infections are produced is the first step in order to prevent them: follow us in our next updates to learn how to defend yourself!

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