The human body is constantly fighting viruses, bacteria and fungus that can potentially cause disease, they enter the body through the air we breath, food and water we ingest , skin wounds, sexual intercourse, bug or other animals bites. These microorganisms reproduce in the body or on the skin and try to survive. Many die because of body’s internal temperature and the chemical environment; others are eliminated via the mucus, the urine, sweat, stools and others are eradicated by the body’s defense mechanism (white blood cells, immune system, etc). The surviving ones attack the cells and healthy tissues. Although many infections are not dangerous and don’t last long, others can cause serious diseases and can even be life- threatening.
The immune system can “remember” old pathogens (virus, bacteria or fungus) in order to avoid future invasions. This cellular memory, gives the body immunity to many germs. The rapid immune response blocks and decreases many, but not every infection. Sometimes immune cells don’t succeed in recognizing and attacking pathogens, mostly the unknown ones or those who modified their structure (frequent pathway in viral infections) and in some cases the body’s response is not strong enough.
An immune system weakened by exhaustion, malnutrition, pharmacological treatments or diseases (for example AIDS) struggles much more to fight infections, compared to the one in healthy people.
If after a first viral, bacterial or fungal infection occurs, others follow, we are in presence of recurring infections.
The most recurring infections concern the respiratory and urinary tract as well as the skin.
Recurring respiratory infections in children can be defined if:
- They occur 6 or more times a year
- At least one episode of upper respiratory infection (rhinitis, otitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis or tracheitis) from September to April
- At least 3 episodes of lower respiratory infection (mild pneumonia and bronchitis ) in a year
Recurring urinary infections represent a frequent problem in the elderly. They can be classified based on the affected area, urethritis (urethra), cystitis (bladder) or pyelonephritis (kidneys).
Recurring skin infections, mostly concern diabetics, the elderly and subjects with immunodeficiency (HIV virus) or other immune disorders, people undergoing pharmacological treatments as chemotherapy and immunosuppressant drugs are at higher risk.