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HEALTHCARE NOTES #6

INFECTION

INFECTION
- Invasion of the body tissues by disease-causing microorganisms (pathogens) such as
bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi
- Illnesses cause by infection is referred to as INFECTIOUS or COMMUNICABLE
DISEASE

COMMON MANIFESTATIONS OF INFECTION: (LOCALIZED)


- Pain
- Redness
- Swelling
- Pus Formation
- Foul Odor

COMMON MANIFESTATIONS OF INFECTION:


- Cough
- Fever
- Diarrhea
- Fatigue
- Muscle Aches
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight Loss

HOST DEFENSE MECHANISMS AGAINST INFECTION


 NATURAL BARRIERS
o First line of defense against pathogens
o Includes physical and chemical barriers
 IMMUNE RESPONSE
o Involves the inflammatory immune system response

NATURAL BARRIERS
1. SKIN
- Largest organ of the body
- Waterproof mechanical barrier

2. TEARS, MUCUS, SALIVA


- Found on body entry points
- Traps or kills pathogens by enzymes
3. CILIA
- Very fine hairs lining the airway
- Moves debris away from the lungs
4. STOMACH ACID
- Kills pathogens that have been swallowed
5. URINE
- Flushes our pathogens from the urinary system
6. NORMAL FLORA
- “Friendly”, beneficial microorganism growing on the skin, mouth and other places
to stop pathogens from taking over

IMMUNE RESPONSE
1. INFLAMMATION RESPONSE
- Damaged body tissues release chemicals (histamine, bradykinin, prostaglandins) to
minimize or combat infection
SIGNS OF INFLAMMATION:
a. Warmth
b. Redness
c. Swelling
d. Pain
e. Loss of Function
2. IMMUNE SYSTEM
- Composed of cells, tissues and organs that protect the body from infection
Includes the:
a. White Blood Cells (Leukocytes) – seeks and destroys pathogen
b. Antibodies – protein that locks unto the antigen of a pathogen and immobilize
them
c. Suppressor T-Cells – turns off the immune system to prevent harm to healthy
cells
d. Lymphatic System – system of organs and vessels that move immune cells
around the body

STAGES OF INFECTION
1. INCUBATION PERIOD
- Time between the entry of the microorganism into the body and onset of
symptoms
2. PRODROMAL PERIOD
- Onset of nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, body weakness and fever
3. ILLNESS PERIOD
- Specific symptoms develop and become evident
4. CONVALSCENT PERIOD
- Number of pathogens decline and host gradually recovers

PERIOD OF COMMUNICABILITY
- Time during which the causative agent may be transferred directly or indirectly
from an infected person to another susceptible host
- Will range depending on the agent that cause the infection

6 LINKS OF INFECTION
- For an infection to develop, each link of the chain must be connected. Breaking any
link of the chain can stop transmission of infection.
1. INFECTIOUS AGENT
- Any disease-causing microorganism (pathogen)
- Examples: bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites
- How to break the Chain: rapid and accurate identification of infectious organisms
2. RESRVOIR OF INFECTION
- Site where a microorganism normally lives and reproduces
- Examples: humans, animals, inanimate objects
- How to break the chain:
o Environmental Sanitation
o Preventive healthcare measures
o Disinfection, sterilization
3. PORTAL OF EXIT
- Route of escape of a pathogen from the reservoir
- Examples: respiratory tract, blood, open skin
- How to break the chain
o Hand hygiene/handwashing
o Trash and waste disposal
o Control of body excretions and secretions
4. MODE OF TRANSMISSION
- The method of transfer from reservoir to the new host
- Examples: contact, airborne, vector
- How to break the chain:
o Hand hygiene
o Isolation
o Food handling
o Standard Precaution
5. PORTAL OF ENTRY
- Route through which the pathogen enters its new host
- Examples: respiratory tract, blood, skin
- How to break the chain;
o Aseptic technique
o Wound care
o Catheter Care
6. SUSPECTIBLE HOST
- A person who can get sick when exposed to a pathogen
- Examples: the ill, elderly, diabetic, post-surgery
- How to break the chain:
o Treatment of underlying disease
o Recognition of high-risk patients