Eight Types of Bacterial Infections and Their Symptoms

Infection can take many forms. Commonly known infections are viral, like the flu or COVID-19, fungal, like ringworm or athlete’s foot, or bacterial, which include skin infections and food poisoning. Because infections can become serious, it’s important to know the signs and seek treatment. Below, we focus on eight types of bacterial infections and their symptoms that can indicate when to call a doctor or get immediate medical attention.


  • Redness around the wound, especially if it spreads or streaks
  • Swelling or warmth
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Pus oozing or around the wound
  • Swollen lymph nodes in neck, armpits or groin
  • Delayed healing


  • Increase in pain or discomfort
  • Redness, especially if it spreads or streaks
  • Swelling or warmth
  • Pus or fluid oozing from the site
  • Bad smell around the burn
  • Note: a popped burn blister is at risk for infection

Strep Throat

  • Sore throat
  • Hard to swallow
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • White or red patches in the back of the throat

Urinary Tract Infection

  • Frequent urination
  • Burning while urinating
  • Fever
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Cloudy urine


  • Fever
  • Chills or sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in chest
  • Cough
  • Fatigue

Food Poisoning

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

Bacterial Meningitis

  • Stiff neck
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Confusion

Sepsis (Life-Threatening)

  • Fast heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Severe pain
  • Chills or sweating
  • Confusion

Seven Ways to Prevent Bacterial Infections

  1. Take vaccinations for preventable infections, such as tetanus.
  2. Keep skin moist so that it doesn’t crack and bleed.
  3. Wash hands frequently and bathe regularly to keep harmful bacteria off of skin.
  4. Clean wounds and change bandages regularly to remain clean. Apply antibiotic ointment with clean hands.
  5. Cook food thoroughly to avoid food poisoning.
  6. Keep personal items personal such as toothbrushes. Avoid using utensils and glassware used by others as well.
  7. Practice safe sex to avoid sexually transmitted infections.

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