Pseudomonas infections: symptoms, causes and treatments

What are pseudomonas infections?

Pseudomonas infections are diseases caused by a bacterium of the genus. Pseudomonas. Bacteria are widely found in the environment, such as in soil, water and plants. They usually do not cause infections in healthy people. If an infection occurs in a healthy person, it is usually mild.

More serious infections occur in people who are already hospitalized with another disease or condition, or people who have a weak immune system. Pseudomonadas are quite common pathogens involved in infections acquired in a hospital environment. A pathogen is a microorganism that causes diseases. Infections acquired in a hospital are called nosocomial infections.

Infections can occur anywhere in the body. The symptoms depend on which part of the body is infected. Antibiotics are used to treat infections. Pseudomonas infection could be fatal in people who are already very sick.

What are the symptoms of pseudomonas infections?

Skin infections tend to be less severe than infections that occur in the blood or lungs. The specific symptoms depend on where the infection occurs:


A bacterial infection of the blood is called bacteremia. An infection of the blood is one of the most serious infections caused by pseudomonas. Symptoms may include:

  • fever

  • cold

  • fatigue

  • muscle and joint pain

Pseudomonas bacteremia can also cause very low blood pressure, known as hemodynamic shock, which can lead to failure of other organs, such as the heart, kidneys and liver.


The infection of the lungs is called pneumonia. Symptoms include:

  • cold

  • fever

  • cough with or without sputum production

  • difficult breathing


When this bacterium infects the skin, most of the time it affects the hair follicles. This is called folliculitis.. Symptoms may include:

  • redness of the skin

  • abscess formation on the skin

  • draining wounds


Occasionally, an infection of the external auditory canal can be caused by pseudomonas and cause a "swimmer's ear". Symptoms may include:

  • swelling

  • earache

  • itching inside the ear

  • ear discharge

  • difficulty listening


Symptoms of an eye infection may include:

  • inflammation

  • pus

  • pain

  • swelling

  • redness

  • vision problems

Pseudomonas infections can be very aggressive, particularly infections in the lungs or skin.

What causes pseudomonas infections?

Pseudomonas infections are caused by a free-living bacterium of the genus Pseudomonas. They prefer wet areas and are widely found in soil and water. Only some of the many species cause diseases. The most common species causing infection is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Who is at risk for pseudomonas infections?

Healthy people usually have a low risk of infection. People who already have a weakened immune system due to another disease or condition are at an increased risk of infection. This is especially true for people who are hospitalized for a prolonged period of time.

The bacteria can be spread in hospitals through the hands of health workers, or by hospital equipment that is not cleaned properly.

Pseudomonas infections are considered opportunistic infections. This means that the body only causes diseases when a person's immune system is already damaged.

Conditions that can increase the risk of infection include:

  • burn wounds

  • receiving chemotherapy for cancer

  • cystic fibrosis

  • HIV or AIDS

  • Presence of a foreign body, such as a mechanical ventilator or catheter.

  • undergo an invasive procedure, such as surgery

Infections can be serious in people whose immune systems are already compromised.

Very mild illnesses such as skin rashes and ear infections have been reported in healthy individuals. Infection can occur after exposure to hot tubs and pools that are inadequately chlorinated. This is sometimes called a "hot tub eruption." People who wear contact lenses can get eye infections if they use a solution of infected contact lenses.

Pseudomonas can infect any part of the body, including the liver, brain, bones and paranasal sinuses. However, infection of these sites and those that are not mentioned is much less common than the infections mentioned above.

How are pseudomonas infections diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history and recent symptoms. They can take a sample of pus, blood or tissue and send it to a laboratory. The laboratory will then analyze the sample to detect the presence of pseudomonas.

How are pseudomonas infections treated?

Pseudomonas infections are treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, many pseudomonas infections are increasingly difficult to treat. These bacteria have developed the ability to adapt and overcome antibiotics in their environment. This is called antibiotic resistance.

The increased resistance to antibiotics has made the treatment of infections much more difficult. Pseudomonas infections It can often develop resistance to multiple types of antibiotics. It can even sometimes develop resistance during treatment.

It is important that your doctor select an effective antibiotic. A doctor can send a sample of a patient to a laboratory first for analysis to be safer. The laboratory will analyze the sample to determine which antibiotic will work best.

The treatment may involve one or more of the following types of antibiotics:

  • ceftazidime

  • ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin

  • gentamicin

  • cefepima

  • aztreonam

  • carbapenems

  • ticarcillin

  • ureidopenicillins

What is the perspective?

Ear infections and skin infections in swimming pools and hot tubs are usually mild.

Serious infections can be fatal if they are not treated right away. Call your doctor if you have any new symptoms that concern you. A quick treatment with the correct antibiotic will speed up your recovery time.

How can pseudomonas infections be prevented?

Thorough hand washing and cleaning equipment in hospitals can help prevent infections. Outside a hospital, avoiding hot tubs and swimming pools that are poorly maintained can help prevent infections. You must take off your bathing clothes and shower with soap after leaving the water. Drying your ears after swimming can also help prevent the swimmer's ear.

There are several things you can do to prevent an infection if you are recovering from a procedure or are receiving treatment in a hospital:

  • Tell your nurse if any of your bandages become loose or wet.

  • Tell your nurse if you think any IV line tube has come loose.

  • Make sure you fully understand the treatment or procedure that your doctor has requested.

If you have diabetes, be sure to discuss controlling your blood sugar with your doctor before your procedure.

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