When you’re experiencing the early symptoms of an acute infection, you want to know what’s ailing you — and you also want to feel better fast. Whether you’ve caught a contagious illness or some other type of infection, you need prompt, expert care that puts you on the path to a speedy recovery.
When you’re feeling unwell, you don’t need an appointment to see our team at American River Urgent Care in Orangevale, California: Our walk-in clinic offers as-needed urgent care for patients of all ages, every day of the week.
Here, we discuss five common infections that are best treated through urgent care; infections that don’t require a trip to the ER, but shouldn’t wait until your primary care physician can see you.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness that spreads from person to person, most often during cold and flu season (early fall through late winter). Influenza viruses infect your nose, throat, and lungs, and most cases are caused by two strains: type A or B.
The flu usually comes on suddenly, causing extreme fatigue, chills, head and body aches, chest discomfort, and a dry, hacking cough. Because its symptoms can be confused with a bad cold or even COVID-19, having a flu test is the best way to confirm your diagnosis.
Taking antiviral drugs soon after the onset of symptoms can help ease symptoms, shorten the duration of illness by a day or two, and prevent serious flu complications like pneumonia.
2. Acute bronchitis
Also known as a chest cold, acute bronchitis is a viral or bacterial infection that causes the airways of your lungs (bronchi) to swell and produce mucus. Because it often develops on the heels of a cold infection, it can sometimes seem as if an existing cold is just getting worse.
Acute bronchitis usually begins with a dry, nagging cough triggered by irritated airways. This persistent cough becomes wet, or productive, as the irritated bronchi start producing mucus. The cough usually persists several weeks longer than other bronchitis symptoms, such as mild body aches and fatigue.
In most cases, acute bronchitis is viral, meaning it doesn’t require an antibiotic and eventually resolves on its own. Given its similarity to pneumonia and COVID-19, however, it’s important to seek a proper diagnosis.
3. Strep throat
A persistent sore throat accompanied by a fever, and swollen, tender lymph nodes — but without a cough — may be strep throat, a common bacterial infection that comes on quickly and makes swallowing painful.
Strep throat is caused by the contagious bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus. It typically spreads via airborne respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, but can also spread through contact with an infected surface.
Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are important, as untreated strep can lead to serious complications like kidney inflammation, rheumatic fever, and scarlet fever.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract via the urethra, and then begin to multiply in the bladder or kidneys. Bladder UTIs are more common (and usually less serious) than UTIs that affect the kidneys.
Common UTI symptoms include a strong, persistent urge to urinate, burning sensations during urination, red, bright pink, cloudy, or strong-smelling urine, and pelvic pressure. While anyone can develop a UTI, the problem is most common in women and older adults.
A simple urine test (urinalysis) can detect the presence of a UTI. Most UTIs are fully resolved with a standard course of antibiotics.
5. Pink eye
Pink eye (conjunctivitis) occurs when the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that covers the white part of your eyeball becomes infected or inflamed. While it can be triggered by allergies or the presence of a foreign object, most cases are caused by a highly contagious virus or bacteria.
Common pink eye symptoms include redness, itchiness, gritty irritation, and tearing in one or both eyes. Viral pink eye often accompanies a respiratory infection, while bacterial pink eye may develop alongside an ear infection. Allergic pink eye is often seasonal, occurring when pollen counts are high.
Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious, spreading through close personal contact or contact with contaminated surfaces. Depending on its underlying cause and overall severity, pink eye may be treated with medicated eye drops.
If you’ve been feeling under the weather, our team at American River Urgent Care can help. Call 916-287-8569 or click online to book a same-day visit at your convenience, or simply stop in any time during our normal business hours.