It can be overwhelming to deal with an infection – especially if you are dealing with it on your own. However, with guidance from a knowledgeable family healthcare provider in Northwest Indiana, managing common infections becomes much easier. Below, we provide some insights on how to deal with common infections and offer tips on symptom management and treatment.
Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) are a common cause of illness among both adults and children. Common symptoms of URTIs include sore throat, runny nose, cough, sneezing and sometimes fever. While most URTIs are caused by viral infections and will resolve with time, bacterial infections such as strep throat may also cause these symptoms and require antibiotic treatment.
When diagnosing a URTI, it is important to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections. Your family healthcare provider in Northwest Indiana will consider your history, physical examination and results from tests such as a rapid antigen test or throat culture.
Treatment for viral URTIs typically consists of symptomatic relief such as rest, fluids and over-the-counter pain and fever reduction medications. Bacterial URTIs require antibiotic treatment to help reduce the duration of symptoms and prevent complications such as acute otitis media. Moreover, learning self-care measures and preventive strategies – good hand hygiene practices – is an important part of management.
Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) range from mild to severe and are caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi. Common LRTI symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest pain and sputum production.
Treatment for these infections is dependent on the causative agent and severity of the disease. Viral infections such as the common cold usually don’t require any specific treatment other than rest and fluids. Your family healthcare provider in Northwest Indiana may prescribe antibiotics for certain bacterial infections.
A reputable physician will always consider which type of infection you have before prescribing any medications. Diagnostic tests such as sputum cultures, chest radiographs and pulse oximetry help differentiate bacterial and viral infections.
In addition, your doctor will educate you about preventive measures to reduce your risk of LRTIs. This includes avoiding exposure to people with URTIs, washing hands frequently, not smoking and getting an annual flu shot.
For severe LRTIs that require hospitalization, your doctor may refer the patient to a specialist for further management.
Gastroenteritis – commonly referred to as stomach flu – is an infection of the digestive tract. It is typically caused by a virus and is most common in young children. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and loss of appetite.
It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis quickly, as it can be contagious and spread from person to person. The best way to prevent the spread of this infection is through proper handwashing and avoiding contact with anyone who is known to have the infection.
If you suspect that you or someone in your family has gastroenteritis, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a family healthcare provider in Northwest Indiana as soon as possible. Treatment may involve antibiotics if the cause of the infection is bacterial, or antiviral medication if the cause is viral. The doctor may also prescribe medications to help reduce the severity of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
In addition to medication, it is important to ensure you stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. It is also important to avoid eating foods that irritate the digestive system and eat smaller meals more frequently. Keeping up with a healthy diet helps support the recovery process and ensures you get the necessary nutrients to help fight off infection.
Are you or a loved one dealing with an infection that won’t seem to go away? Schedule a visit with an affordable family healthcare provider in Northwest Indiana by contacting 219 Health Network. Our licensed family medicine physicians offer comprehensive care and guidance when it comes to managing and treating common infections. Contact us today at (833) 219-0001 to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.