Infections can be caused by numerous factors, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Rest assured that the Village Emergency Centers physician quickly devises a plan of action to diagnose, treat, and monitor your infection to get back to better health. The facility is open 24 hours a day, seven days week, so come in anytime an infection is causing you pain or discomfort.
Types of Infection
The signs and symptoms of infection vary, from fever and fatigue to inflammation and swelling. The most common infections that can appear are pneumonia, influenza, skin infections, UTIs, and gastrointestinal infections. With any suspicions you may have, though, it’s important to be checked out by a doctor in person to rule out any variables causing your symptoms. If your symptoms align with a certain diagnosis, your doctor will know the steps needed to be taken to get you on the path to recovery.
The most common signs of infection in children can manifest in different ways than in adults. If you notice signs of infection in your child, you should take them in to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible, as symptoms can worsen if left untreated and develop into more serious ailments. The most common infections that manifest in children include skin infections, throat infections, and ear infections. These ailments are painful and can be life-threatening if left untreated. For example, a throat infection can turn into scarlet fever, or travel to the chest and cause a lung infection. Throat and ear infection also go hand-in-hand, so make sure to know all of your child’s symptoms in order to be a better advocate for them when you take them to see a doctor.
Lastly, there are certain symptoms which you may not realize are associated with infection. Although some parts of the body are more prone to infection than others, it is possible for any part of your body to become infected, causing symptoms you may not realize are related to each other. These symptoms include shortness of breath, stiff neck, loss of appetite, pain in the abdomen, and redness or soreness in any area of the body. The more combined symptoms you have, the more likely your diagnosis of infection. As always, speaking with a doctor about your symptoms should be your first step.
How Do Infections Spread?
Infections are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. They’re spread by:
- Exposure to coughs and sneezes of infected people
- Contact with contaminated food, water, and surfaces
- Contact with people who are infected, such as through kissing or sexual intercourse
- Contact with creatures that are infected, such as pets, livestock, and insects, including fleas and ticks
Infections can lead to diseases, ranging from mild to severe, though less than 1% of bacteria actually cause disease in people.
What Are the Most Common Infections?
There are different types of infections that are often grouped depending on where the infection is located in your body. The most common infections are:
Your skin helps to protect you, but often takes a hit in its role, which results in skin infections. The most common skin infections are:
- Viral – shingles, herpes simplex, and warts
- Fungal – athlete’s foot and yeast infections
- Parasitic – body lice, head lice, and scabies
- Bacterial – cellulitis, impetigo, and staphylococcal infections
An ear infection is the most common cause of earaches. It can affect both adults and children, but children are more vulnerable. Infections that develop in the sinus cavities can infect the ear through the eustachian tube, the tube that connects your ear to your upper respiratory tract.
What Are the Symptoms of an Infection?
While they vary depending on the type of infection, common symptoms include:
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Skin redness
- Inflammation or swelling
Some symptoms are a result of your immune system fighting to get rid of the infection.
How Are Infections Diagnosed and Treated
It can be difficult to determine what caused an infection, but a workup that includes a physical exam, diagnostic testing such as blood work, and a medical history usually yields a diagnosis.
How the infection is treated depends on the type of infection and its severity. Viral infections, such as influenza and HIV, can be treated or better managed with antiviral medications.
Antibiotics are often prescribed to fight bacterial infections, typically over the course of a few days to a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, some bacteria have developed a resistance to antibiotics and other treatments are necessary.