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An infection occurs when harmful bacteria or viruses enter the body. These germs can enter the body through touch, through the air we breathe or through our mouths. Your body’s immune system is on constant alert for infection and has a variety of strategies to combat it.
One way is by increasing blood flow to the infected site. This transports white blood cells and antibodies to fight the invading germs. Sometimes this increased blood flow can cause inflammation and it’s one of the first signs of a bacterial infection.
When an infection isn’t specific to one area, but affects your entire body, you may develop a fever. Increasing the body’s internal temperature is one way your immune system weakens the bacteria or virus, allowing your antibodies to fight them. A fever is also one of the first signs your body is fighting bacteria or a virus.
You may feel tired fighting infection. This is a sign that your body wants you to rest. Sometimes an infection can be overwhelming to your body and medical attention is necessary.
If you’ve diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD), you may also be at risk for diabetes-related infections. Too much glucose(sugar) in the blood prevents white blood cells from doing their jobs. It’s important to monitor and maintain good glucose levels. Also routinely examine your feet for blisters, sores or ingrown nails. Go to the dentist to make sure you don’t have gum disease or infected teeth.
A viral infection from the flu, or a bacterial infection from a cut or surgical procedure, can cause blood glucose levels to increase, making it longer for people with diabetes to recover.
Because access sites allow for the entry and exit of dialysate (for people on peritoneal dialysis, or PD) or blood (for people on hemodialysis), either through a catheter or through puncture with a needle, they can also serve as a possible entry site for bacteria.
Infections can be small nuisances or become life threatening if allowed to spread throughout the body. Take precautions against infection by following these guidelines:
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