Bacteria

Monday, December 24, 2012

Millions of bacteria normally live on and in the human body. The vast majority do not cause disease, and many bacteria are actually helpful and even necessary for good health. Dr. Edward Hill discusses bacteria in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

The microscopic life forms that we call germs - bacteria, viruses, protozoa and others - have been here for as long as humans have been in existence. Most of the time, people and germs coexist peacefully; in fact, humans couldnt live in a germ-free world. But germs are also the source of many human illnesses.

Bacteria are living things made of only one cell. Of the approximately 1,600 species of known bacteria, less than 200 are pathogenic, or disease-causing. Pathogenic bacteria can cause illness in at least three different ways:

by invasive action, directly invading and attacking a part of the body;

by making toxins, chemical byproducts that act as poisons; or

by multiplying into large clumps that block tiny blood vessels or interfere with the normal closing of heart valves.

Bacteria can spread in many ways, including through contaminated water and food, in the tiny fluid droplets of coughs and sneezes, through dirty hands or on contaminated surfaces.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.