Acute Illness Specialist

Douglas Family Medicine

Family Medicine located in Castle Rock, CO

Acute illnesses strike quickly and may cause deeply unpleasant symptoms that often require immediate attention. The team at Douglas Family Medicine in Castle Rock, Colorado, provides outstanding services for patients who have acute illnesses, including prompt diagnosis using their onsite lab services. Call Douglas Family Medicine today or book an appointment online if you have an acute illness that needs treatment or any other health concerns.

Acute Illness Q & A

What is an acute illness?

An acute illness is a health problem that comes on rapidly over the course of a day or two, rather than a chronic condition, which is one that needs ongoing care. There are many kinds of acute illnesses, some of which affect individual systems, others that affect the whole body.

For each type of acute illness, there are variations in severity, for example, with respiratory illnesses, some are minor, like coughs and colds, some are more serious and have more severe symptoms, like pleurisy and bronchitis, and some can be life-threatening, like certain types of pneumonia.

Acute illnesses can also affect different people in different ways. Some acute illnesses that a healthy person’s body is able to manage without too much problem could be far more serious for an infant, an older person, or someone who has a compromised immune system.

What are the most common acute illnesses?

The most common acute illnesses are those that most people experience now and then, such as:

  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Eye infections
  • Ear infections
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Strep throat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dehydration

In cases where a viral illness like a cold or the flu is only causing mild symptoms and you have no other health problems, then rest, plenty of fluids, and over-the-counter medications can be effective in making you feel better within a few days. However, if your symptoms are more severe or you have a bacterial infection that needs treatment with antibiotics, such as a UTI or eye and ear infections, or you have other health issues, it’s best to seek advice from the helpful team at Douglas Family Medicine.

What kinds of serious acute illnesses could I get?

Your immune system does an amazing job of protecting you against acute illnesses, so most of the potential infections you come into contact with are dealt with by your body’s natural defenses without you realizing. Sometimes though, an infection may be particularly virulent, you may have reduced defenses because of fatigue or stress, or your illness may be due to a cause that isn’t an infection, for example, an organ dysfunction that makes you sick.

The acute illnesses you need to be particularly aware of are those that have the potential to cause serious complications or could be potentially life-threatening, such as:

  • Meningitis
  • Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)
  • Appendicitis
  • Sepsis (blood poisoning)
  • Pneumonia
  • Poisoning

Sometimes a minor illness can develop into a more serious problem, for example, an untreated UTI might spread back up the urinary system into the kidneys, and cause pyelonephritis.

What symptoms do acute illnesses cause?

There are many acute illnesses of varying kinds that present with a range of different symptoms. However, there are certain acute symptoms that you should always take seriously, including:

  • Weakness in your arms and legs
  • Chest pain
  • Blood in your urine
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Losing consciousness

These symptoms won’t always be a life-threatening problem, but as there is a risk they may be, you shouldn’t take any chances.

If you have an acute illness and need medical care, call Douglas Family Medicine today, or book an appointment online.

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