Diseases Caused by Bacteria: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rachel Torrens
Harmful bacteria can invade your body, and when they do, they usually cause illness. In this lesson, learn about bacterial illnesses in the ears, nose, and throat; digestive tract; and skin. Also, we'll explore how to beat these illnesses with antibiotics!

It's Germs

You wake up, but instead of feeling great, you feel like collapsing back into bed! Your throat is scratchy and your head hurts. You're sick. What caused you to go from an energetic to an exhausted kid? Well, most likely it was a 'bug.'

When people say 'bug,' they're referring to either a virus or bacteria that has caused a disease. In this lesson, we're going to explore bacterial illnesses, which usually require treatment with an antibiotic.

An antibiotic is a medicine that is able to kill or hinder the growth of bacteria and help cure the illness! Let's examine some specific bacterial illnesses.

Ear, Nose, and Throat Invasions

The parts of your body that are warm, dark, and moist provide an excellent environment for bacteria. For this reason, ears, noses, and throats are especially prone to invasion!

An ear infection is often caused by bacteria. Bacteria set up camp behind the ear drum. Your body tries to fight off the attack with white blood cells, but in the battle, both bacteria and white blood cells die. These dead cells form a substance known as pus, which is a common part of bacterial infections. The most common bacteria to cause an ear infection are:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Moraxella catarrhalis
  • Streptococcus pyogenes

The same type of bacteria that causes ear infections and strep throat.

This last type, Streptococcus pyogenes, can also invade your throat causing a common infection known as 'strep throat' in which your tonsils swell, become red, and produce pus.

Tummy Troubles

Another warm, dark and moist body part is your digestive tract, or the bit that moves food from your mouth to your bottom. Have you ever heard of someone who experienced 'food poisoning'? Well, that person had a harmful type of bacteria take over their digestive tract. Once the bad bacteria is in control, then problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea, start. Bacteria that cause digestive tract infections are:

  • E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella

Most often, these bacteria are introduced through improper food preparation, such as failing to wash the food, or improper cooking, such as failing to cook the food thoroughly.

Wound Infections

Another place bacteria are prone to invade is a wound. A wound is any injury that breaks the physical barrier of the skin, such as a paper cut or a scrape from falling off your bike, which makes an opening for bacteria to invade!

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