Pseudomonas is a group of bacteria that can cause various types of infections.
Serious infections from P. aeruginosa primarily occur in healthcare settings, but people can also develop infections from hot tubs and swimming pools.
Signs and Symptoms of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Symptoms of P. aeruginosa vary based on the type of infection.
Infection of the lungs (pneumonia) may cause:
- Fever and chills
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Cough, sometimes with yellow, green, or bloody mucus
Urinary tract infections can cause:
- Strong urge to urinate frequently
- Painful urination
- Unpleasant odor in urine
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Pain in the pelvic area
Wound infections can cause:
- Inflamed wound site
- Fluid leakage from wound
Ear infections (like swimmer’s ear) can cause:
- Ear pain
- Decreased hearing
- Redness or swelling of outer ear
Causes and Risk Factors of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
In healthcare settings, P. aeruginosa is spread through improper hygiene, such as from the unclean hands of healthcare workers, or via contaminated medical equipment that wasn't fully sterilized.
Common hospital-associated P. aeruginosa infections include bloodstream infections, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and surgical wound infections.
These infections typically affect people who are ill in the hospital, particularly those with weakened immune systems from diseases or long-term treatments.
When hospitalized, you have a higher risk for a serious, life-threatening P. aeruginosa infection if you have surgical wounds or burns, or are being treated with a breathing machine, such as a mechanical ventilator, or other medical devices, such as urinary or intravenous catheters.
Exposure to contaminated water can also cause mild P. aeruginosa infections in healthy people. For instance, inadequately disinfected hot tubs and swimming pools can cause P. aeruginosa ear infections and skin rashes. They can also cause eye infections in users of contact lenses.
How Is Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Diagnosed?
To diagnose P. aeruginosa, your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask about your symptoms and medical history. Then they’ll send a sample of your blood or other bodily fluid to a lab to test for the bacteria.
Prognosis of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Duration of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Treatment and Medication Options for Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Mild, water-related P. aeruginosa infections are generally treated easily with certain antibiotics.
Usually, in order to prevent resistance, a person will be given a combination of several antibiotics.
Prevention of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
To prevent P. aeruginosa, there are several steps you can take.
- Wash your hands often. This is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds; or, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Keep wounds clean. If you get a cut or scrape, be sure to clean it and cover it with a bandage.
- Avoid sharing personal items. Don’t let others use personal items like razors or towels.
- Use antibiotics only as needed. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, take the meds as prescribed.
- Remind others to wash their hands. If you’re in the hospital, ask visitors, doctors, and nurses to wash their hands before touching you.
- Keep surfaces clean. Disinfect all of the surfaces you touch such as your cell phone, door knobs, and light switches.
- Swim safely. if going into a hot tub or pool, make sure it is properly chlorinated and maintained.
Complications of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Research and Statistics: Who Has Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Related: 5 Steps to Help Prevent Sepsis if You Have an Infection
Related Conditions and Causes of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Resources We Love
The CDC provides detailed information on this and other healthcare-associated infections.
Additional reporting by Abbi Libers and Carlene Bauer.
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
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