Bacteria: Good Bad Best and Worst

You can pick bacteria up anywhere. They are wee little organisms that are generally single celled and often highly primitive entities. This means that they are generally so tiny that you are not going to see them when they decide to attach onto your body.

Some bacteria can lie dormant for years and when you come innocently wandering along they awaken to wreck havoc on your unsuspecting body. Bacteria may not be the worlds smartest entities but they sure are durable ones. Many have survived since the dawn of mankind and they are not easy to kill off. You can be officially toasted, roasted, dead and gone before you even know what the heck hit you.

It is important to note that not all bacteria are bad. In fact many of the bacteria we encounter are good for the environment and highly beneficial to the human body. There are many that we really just cannot live without they are essential to our good health. From probiotics to tuberculosis, we'll take a look at a few of the best bacteria and a few of the worst. Then you can decide whether you want to put them into you or take off at a dead run away from them.

Lately the focus has been on those good bacteria that are beneficial in gut health. They are commonly known as probiotics. Yogurt containing these bacteria have become all the talk with people trying to figure out why we need it and which are the most effective ones to pick up from the grocery store shelf.

Most of us will indeed at some point need a good dose of probiotics. We have good and bacteria in our gut and when the bad guys get out of control our stomach needs a little helping hand to keep us healthy. The good bacteria can usually successfully keep the bad at bay to maintain good intestinal health.

Unfortunately though it turns out that illness or medications such as antibiotics can kill off the good bacteria which then throws things out of whack. This leaves us open to intestinal illness, inflammation, bloating, pain, and diarrhea. Health professionals now know that consuming a probiotic yogurt helps to replace the good bacteria and get our gut health back into balance. This area of research is still relatively new but they do have a few key facts to help you choose the best probiotic for you.

It is important to note that there are many types of probiotics and research continues into their use but for this article I will focus on the 2 main groupings of probiotics. These are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. The most commonly found in yogurt is Lactobacillus which is widely used to improve overall intestinal health and to help to control diarrhea by providing the needed good gut bacteria. Bifidobacterium is used to help control symptoms of irritable bowl syndrome (IBS). There is of course an overlap and additional uses for each of these. I took a peek at the yogurt currently sitting in my fridge (Astro BioBest) and was pleasantly surprised to see that it contained both of these bacteria types.

Bacteria, Virus, Germ: What is the Difference?
Bacteria are one celled creatures, whereas a virus is much smaller than a cell but will invade your cells to make you ill. Both bacteria and viruses can be classed as germs. There are actually 4 major types of germs and these are: protozoa, fungi, bacteria, and virus. In the United States the following list of trouble makers are the cause of most bacterial related illness, hospitalization, and death.

* Salmonella: One of the most common food borne illnesses it can be contracted through contaminated poultry, meat, eggs, cheese, dairy products, raw vegetables, fruit, nuts, or spices. It can also be carried by animals such as turtles and frogs.

* Listeria: This bacteria is perhaps most recognized for its outbreaks in prepared meat products. It can also be found in cheese, raw dairy products, raw vegetable sprouts, and smoked seafood.

* Clostridium perfringens: Found in poultry, beef, or gravies prepared using these meats. This bacteria is once again one of the most common forms of food borne illness. It most frequently appears in large group settings such as hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, and school lunch rooms. Where ever food is prepared in advance and then kept at a warm temperature for an extended length of time is the most likely venue for this bacteria to show itself.

* Campylobacter: Found in raw or inadequately cooked poultry as well as in unpasteurized milk this bacteria is another of the most common food borne illness.

There are indeed some nasty illness causing bacteria out there. Some will give you nothing more than a little tummy ache but there are others which can be lethal. So just in case you are out there stumbling around and you run into a nice big patch of bacteria there are a few that you may want to try to avoid. Germs can hide quite well and many of them can sneak into your body very easily. There are some bacteria out there which can be downright awful to come into contact with. They are the worlds most dangerous bacteria and they can kill you. To make things interesting the ones featured next are some of most lethal bacteria in existence.

Staphylococcus Aureus
Staph Infection: Staphylococcus Aureus
A bacteria that is gaining notability is Staphylococcus aureus or Staph infection. First noticed in hospitals this antibiotic resistant bacteria has now spread out of the hospital to nestle itself into the soil where our children play and we grow our food. Football players who tumble quite regularly onto the turf during games are increasingly coming down with this resistant bacteria. In Washington State Staph has now been found in the sand and water at five local beaches. This is a bacteria that has quite a few modern day health professionals concerned.

One of the Scariest Bacteria Out There is Anthrax
So which bacteria do you absolutely positively and without a single doubt want to avoid? Well Anthrax aka Bacillus Anthracis as it is more professionally known would be a good place to start. Although you may have heard of Anthrax for its very disreputable use in chemical warfare it is a bacteria that is very much alive and doing well out there in its own right. Anthrax may possibly be playing happily in the very ground that you walk upon as we speak.
Anthrax can lie dormant in the soil and carcasses of its victims for decades. It is often grazing animals which die from the Anthrax bacteria but if you come in contact with an infected animal carcass or the ground that it is buried in then you too can fall prey to this very fatal bacteria. Anthrax is spread by spores and it can attach itself to a host through inhalation, ingestion, or through entry into a direct portal to the body (such as the eyes or an open cut).

Flesh Eating Disease: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
Staphylococcus aureus is one of a handful of bacteria that can be responsible for the occurrence of Flesh Eating Bacteria Syndrome. Commonly known as Flesh Eating Disease Clostridium perfringens, Bacteroids fragilis, and Vibrio vulnificus are other bacteria which can also cause this painful and potentially fatal illness to occur. It is estimated that between 30 to 40 percent of cases end in fatality.

E coli is yet another bacteria that can cause some pretty serious health issues. It is generally a food borne illness and if you have it you will know it. Generally food products that are well cooked are safe from this guy but it still has a habit of turning up in raw or undercooked foods. Symptoms may include severe or bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, fever, and fatigue. A potential lethal health complication of ecoli poisoning is kidney failure.

Another Notable Bacteria is that Which Causes Tuberculosis (TB)
Mycobacterium tuberculosis or TB now has a couple of new strains of bacteria out there that can indeed be deadly. Once thought to be a disease of the past new extensively drug resistant strains are proving deadly to thousands of people the world around. What make these new strains of this illness so frightening though is the ease at which Tuberculosis can spread. Mycobaterium tuberculosis is an airborne illness so someone who is infected with this bacteria has only to breath air outward in order to infect people who happen to be nearby. A sneeze or cough can send millions of these bacteria out to coat nearby surfaces and infect hundreds of unsuspecting passerby. This is a bacterial disease that could be coming to a city or town near you. 

When a bacteria gets a bad attitude toward its host they are definitely an entity that you do not want to mess with so avoid them at all costs. They may be tiny but the world’s most dangerous bacteria can also be deadly. Stay well.

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