Main content

    Health Information

    Bacterial Infection

    Bacterial Infection

    A bacterial infection is an infection caused by bacteria. Bacterial infections can often be treated successfully with antibiotics.

    An infection may begin as a bacterial infection. Or a bacterial infection may follow a viral infection that does not get better. When a viral infection doesn't get better for 10 days or more, or when a viral infection starts to improve and then unexpectedly gets worse, a bacterial infection may be more likely.

    A bacterial infection usually affects a single area in the body, such as the sinuses, lungs, ears, or urinary tract. Common bacterial infections include sinusitis, pneumonia, strep throat, ear infections, and bladder infections. If untreated, a bacterial infection can spread to the bloodstream. This condition is called bacteremia.

    Last Revised: July 10, 2012

    Author: Healthwise Staff

    Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

    1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.