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Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are diseases that spread through bacteria (tiny, one-celled organisms). Some types of bacteria live naturally inside our bodies and help us digest food, destroy disease-causing cells and provide important nutrients. Other types of bacteria produce toxins that damage our bodies and make us sick.

Bacteria can infect all parts of the body, causing common conditions such as strep throat and complex ones like sepsis. Indiana University Health Infectious Disease physicians are specially trained to diagnose and treat a full range of bacterial infections, including:

  • E. coli 
  • Strep throat
  • Bacterial vaginitis 
  • Bacterial endocarditis 
  • Otitis externa (swimmer’s ear) 
  • Bacterial meningitis 
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Staph infections 
  • Typhoid Fever 
  • Whooping cough 

Bacterial infections respond well to treatment with antibiotics. Antibiotics work by targeting bacteria cells in your body. They may also kill the good bacteria in your intestines, causing side effects like nausea and diarrhea.

If antibiotics are taken too often for conditions they cannot treat, ­­­like colds or other viral infections, they can stop working against bacteria when you really need them. If you are a healthy person, you and your physician should carefully consider whether to use antibiotics for common conditions. Each time you take an antibiotic, you raise the risk that the bacteria will become resistant to the drugs (antibiotic-resistant bacteria). This means that in the future, when you are older or less healthy, antibiotics may not help you get better.

Indiana University Health infectious disease specialists offer expert diagnosis of a wide range of bacterial infections, from the common to the complicated. We work both in the hospital and in outpatient clinics to provide high quality, comprehensive care to patients with infections. We will monitor your progress, help manage your symptoms and provide you with the treatments you need to get well. Our physicians use advanced diagnostic tools and the latest treatment options to shorten the time you have to stay in the hospital and to manage your risk for future infections.

We also offer a variety of immunizations against bacterial infections. Some bacterial infections, such as pneumococcus, typhoid fever and pertussis, have existing vaccines that save thousands of lives each year. For protection against bacterial infections you and your family should stay up to date on all vaccinations.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Bacterial Infections Treatment Information

IU Health Infectious Diseases physicians use a variety of diagnostic tools and treatments to help you overcome bacterial infections.


Bacterial Infections Locations & Physicians

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Bacterial Infections Support Services

Learn more about bacterial infections and antibiotics through the reputable websites below.