Health scares can be the worst scares of all for a person. But little do most people realize, there are some truly terrifying conditions that can haunt you. Tiny little bacteria and viruses can become your biggest nightmare.
1. Necrotizing fasciaitis- Flesh eating strep
A strep throat is a common ailment that most people have had at least once in their life. Little did they know that that bacteria, streptococcus, is capable of much more than a tickle in the throat. Certain strains of strep, the same bacteria that often causes sore throats, can be introduced into the body and can actively cause tissue damage. Although rare, this condition can occur if the conditions are right. First the patient has to have an entry point for the bacteria. Typically a cut or wound or anywhere the skin is broken can allow the bacteria to enter. They must be in contact with the specific strain of strep that can cause tissue damage.
Flesh eating strep is dangerous to the immediate infection site obviously, but it can also cause systemic problems. The stress of this infection can cause organ failure and systemic shock which can ultimately lead to death.
In the post 9/11 world, the American public quickly got a crash course in anthrax. But aside from its use as a terroristic agent, anthrax is a naturally occurring bacteria, that can cause one wicked infection. Naturally found in hoofed animals like pigs and goats, humans can contract anthrax from their contact with such animals. Although it can often be treated with a dose of antibiotics, namely the heavily publicized drug Cipro, anthrax can quickly progress into hemorrhagic meningitis, shock and even death.
Herpes is particularly frightening because it is caused by a virus and therefore cannot be cured. Although most of the population carries some strain of herpes which commonly manifests as a cold sore, herpes can cause an infection anywhere. Due to its purulent nature, the virus sheds easily as the sore scabs over and is frequently spread to other parts of the body or other people. In fact the word herpes is Latin for creeping. Since herpes is a virus, it can remain dormant for long periods of time and then suddenly become active during times of stress or situations involving a weakened immune system. Herpes can be particularly dangerous to pregnant women and the virus can cause blindness and even death in newborns.
Often called a “superbug”, MRSA can be very scary since it is resistant to many common antibiotics. Certain antibiotics are given for certain infections because they have been proven to kill the bacteria causing the infection. Penicillin, ampicillin or amoxicillin is commonly given for a variety of infections. But the problem with MRSA is that these commonly used antibiotics, do not kill this infection. It resists these treatments which means a more potent antibiotic must be used to eliminate the infection. If the infection isn’t eliminated in a timely manner, it can spread throughout the body and eventually cause death.
5. Clostridium botulinum
Millions of women purposely are incolulated with this deadly bacteria. The wrinkle eliminating product Botox, is type of botulinum toxin. Botulin toxin is dangerous because as it travels throughout the body is begins to shut down organs, including the central nervous system. This can lead to paralysis and even death. And to think, women inject this dangerous material all in the name of beauty.
Everyday humans come in contact with a myriad of bacteria and viruses. Most of them are somewhat harmless. Most of the time our complex physiology can adequately fight them off. But sometimes, a potent microorganism come in contact with a vulnerable person and can cause truly frightening outcomes.
Botulism. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/botulism/DS00657 Accessed 9/30/10.
Dangers of Herpes. http://www.livestrong.com/article/18823-dangers-herpes-not-treated/ Accessed 9/30/10.
Flesh Eating Bacteria. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/necrotizing-fasciitis-flesh-eating-bacteria-topic-overview Accessed 9/30/10.
http://www.nnff.org/nnff_what.htm Accessed 9/30/10.