Haemophilus-Influenzae, or simply Hi, is a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium that can cause a range of infections in human beings. Hi infections can occur in individuals of all ages but pose the most significant risk to children under the age of 5 and older adults over 65 years of age. This bacteria can cause severe infections like meningitis, epiglottitis, pneumonia, and bacteremia.
Menigococcal meningitis is a severe illness in which the meningococcus bacteria infect and inflame the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms of meningitis include fever, headache, and neck stiffness. Other symptoms may include sensitivity to light, confusion or disorientation, and vomiting.
Epiglottitis, another dangerous infection caused by Hi, is characterized by the inflammation of the cartilage flap that covers the windpipe, making it difficult for the infected individual to breathe. This condition is most common among young children, and its signs and symptoms develop rapidly. The patient may experience a high fever, severe sore throat, and difficulty in breathing.
Pneumonia, the most common form of Hi infection seen in adults, is an infection of the lungs that causes inflammation and fluid build-up. Symptoms of pneumonia can be mild to severe, ranging from fatigue, coughing, and shortness of breath to fever, chest pain, and sweating.
Bacteremia is another outcome of Hi infection, which affects the bloodstream leading to symptoms like fever, chills, and lethargy.
It’s essential to know that Hi infections are mostly transmitted from person to person through respiratory secretions like mucus or saliva that comes from talking, coughing, or sneezing. Hence, practicing good hygiene, like washing hands regularly, wearing masks, and maintaining reasonable physical distance, can significantly reduce your risk of contracting Hi infections.
Haemophilus-Influenzae can cause serious infections, primarily in children and the elderly. Being proactive in your daily life and taking precautions to mitigate the spread of Hi bacteria can lower your risk of contracting an infection. If you or anyone close to you develops symptoms of a Hi infection, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider as soon as possible and get effective treatment.