It doesn’t matter how clean or hygienic you are; you can become infected on some part of your body. If left untreated, some infections can become severe and lead to even more significant problems. For most common conditions, you can get over-the-counter treatments that are relatively inexpensive and work well. But if an infection becomes worse, you should seek medical advice.
Infections are widespread and are essentially the growth of germs or bacteria in the body or on a specific part. Conditions can be bacterial, viral, yeast, or fungus. While they are active, they will cause various symptoms, letting you know that they are there. Some symptoms can be severe, and some can be relatively harmless.
One of the most common infections occurs in the ear. Ear infections are usually the result of wax build-up. You get rid of most wax when drying your hair and over your ears, but it can accumulate in the ear canal over time. The build-up can become so severe that it irritates the ear, causing numerous issues. But most ear infections are easy to treat.
The first sign of an ear infection is itching inside the ear, but other symptoms include pressure and discharge. If left untreated, the infection might also cause nausea, temperature, and lack of energy. Hearing loss might also occur, but you should schedule a hearing test if the problem persists after treatment. OTC ear drops usually work very well but can take up to two weeks to work with twice-a-day treatments.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
STIs are more common than you might think, and anyone can contract one if not careful. According to the World Health Organization, over 1 million STIs are contracted globally every day. When treated early on, most STIs are harmless but, left untreated, can cause severe issues. Issues such as birth defects, infertility, mental health problems, and blindness.
The most common sexually transmitted infections are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes type 2.
- Chlamydia: May have no symptoms. Caught with vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
- Gonorrhea: Symptoms include painful urination, itching, sores, and painful sex. Caught with vaginal, anal, oral sex and from sex toys.
- Herpes Type 2: Symptoms include blistering of the mouth, nose, and genitals. Caught by vaginal and oral sex.
All of these are easily treatable if caught early. In most cases, a course of antibiotic pills is enough, but injections might be required in some cases. Herpes can be treated with antiviral drugs but never leaves the body. You can obtain treatment from GPs and sexual health clinics both of which are confidential.
Similar to ear infections, eye infections are prevalent. However, unlike ear infections that mainly occur because of wax build-up, eye infections are commonly caused by poor hygiene or allergies. The most common eye irritation is conjunctivitis, more widely known as “Pink Eye”: a viral disease caused by bacteria.
Pink eye is mainly caused by bacteria from your hands which is then transferred to your face when touching it. It is common in children since most children don’t realize the importance of washing hands after using the toilet. However, some STIs can cause eye infections as well. Conjunctivitis usually heals on its own, but OTC eye drops can speed up recovery. If problems persist, then ask your pharmacist for antiviral eye drops or see a GP.
What other common infections is there that you can do something about? Let me know in the comments below!