Dr. Ajay Mohan (AIIMS)MBBS

December 23, 2018

March 06, 2020


What are infections?

When disease-causing organisms invade your body, they multiply and give rise to a number of symptoms and reactions, termed as infections. Infections are caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites, which may be external or internal. Most pathogens can cause a wide spectrum of diseases. The infections can either be primary, which are a cause of current health problem, or secondary, where infection occurs because of a decreased immunity due to a prior infection or some kind of injury.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of infection typically depend upon the site of the infection and the causative microorganism. The main symptoms are as follows:

What are the main causes?

The causative organisms are bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites, such as ringworm, roundworm, lice, fleas and ticks. The infections are transmitted in many ways as discussed below:

  • Person to person.
  • Animal to person.
  • Mother to unborn child.
  • Contaminated food and water.
  • Insect bite.
  • Using inanimate objects touched by an infected person.
  • Iatrogenic transmission (due to infected medical devices).
  • Nosocomial infection (hospital acquired).

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Diagnostic tests follow your medical history taken by the doctor. Following are the commonly advised diagnostic tests:

  • Physical examination.
  • Microbiological testing.
  • Laboratory tests, such as testing the samples of blood, urine, stool, throat swabs and cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Imaging studies, such as X-ray and MRI.
  • Biopsy.
  • PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) based test.
  • Immunoassays: ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) or RIA (Radio Immuno Assay).

Once the causative organism of your infection is known, treatment becomes easier. Following treatment is available for infections:

  • Medications:
    • Antibiotics.
    • Antiviral drugs.
    • Antiprotozoal drugs.
    • Antifungals.
  • Vaccination.
  • Alternative medicine:
    Natural remedies like green tea, cranberry juice, ginger and garlic have been claimed to fight against infections.

Although natural remedies and alternative treatment, especially Ayurvedic formulations to treat infections are available, it is better to seek doctor’s advice if you notice symptoms of any infection. Judicious use and completing the regimens of antibiotics is important to avoid resistance of microorganisms to antibiotics. All infections need not be treated, as some are self-limiting. But severe infections require medical advice and timely treatment. Maintaining cleanliness, hygiene and proper sanitation can avoid the transmission of infections, thereby limiting the spread of infectious diseases.


  1. British Medical Journal. The accuracy of clinical symptoms and signs for the diagnosis of serious bacterial infection in young febrile children: prospective cohort study of 15 781 febrile illnesses. BMJ Publishing Group. [internet].
  2. D.H Tambekar, S.B Dahikar. Antibacterial activity of some Indian Ayurvedic preparations against enteric bacterial pathogens. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2011 Jan-Mar; 2(1): 24–29. PMID: 22171288
  3. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Health Care-Associated Infections. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.[internet].
  4. Washington JA. Principles of Diagnosis. In: Baron S, editor. Medical Microbiology. 4th edition. Galveston (TX): University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; 1996.
  5. Science Direct (Elsevier) [Internet]; Treatment of infectious disease: Beyond antibiotics

Medicines for Infections

Medicines listed below are available for Infections. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

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