Undiagnosed Infections

Delays in diagnosing your infection can have devastating consequences, including brain injury, permanent disability and even death.

Deadly infections include bacterial meningitis, sepsis, MRSA, brain abscess, bacterial endocarditis, necrotizing fasciitis and rhombencephalitis.  The key to preventing the spread of the bacterial infection is early detection and treatment with the right antibiotic medicine.  In some cases, severe cases of bacterial infections, i.e., meningitis, require immediate treatment with intravenous antibiotics in the hospital setting.

In order to become an educated patient, you must know the right questions to ask your doctor. You must find out whether you have a viral infection or a bacterial infection and if you have a bacterial infection, the kind of bacteria and the antibiotic that you will receive.  The complete blood count and white blood cell "differential" will provide you with valuable information as to the kind of infection you have, viral or bacterial.
Hospital-acquired infections can be deadly
The most common hospital-acquired infection is C-Difficile, also known as "C-Diff". Hospital infections, known as nosocomial infections, are particularly common among the elderly and immunocompromised, and those persons antibiotics are usually most susceptible to infections like C-Diff.  The overprescribing of antibiotics, such as Clindamyacin, will rid your gastrointestinal tract of "good" bacteria and the absence of the good bacteria will make you more susceptible to harmful bacteria like C-Diff.
You should make sure your doctor does not overprescribe "broad spectrum" antibiotics by asking why you are getting the antibiotic and what type of infection the antibiotic is designed to kill.  You should make sure all of your care providers in a hospital or medical facility, including nurses, doctors and LPNs, wear gloves and wash their hands when they treat you.  Bacteria and spores spread easily from care providers who are treating dozens of sickly patients every day.  The best defense against a hospital-acquired infection is also the most basic: making sure that all of your care providers wash their hands and wear gloves.

 Viral Infections can be dangerous too
Infections can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Knowing the difference between a bacterial and viral infection is critical in terms of treatment.
Among the dangerous viral infections are HIV and hepatitis C. Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver and hepatitis C is a chronic viral infection that is transmitted through the blood.  Your body's immune system usually is not able to eliminate hepatitis C and thus, this nasty viral infection will remain in your liver for your entire life.  You should avoid intravenous drug use, body tattoos and piercings and sharing personal items like toothbrushes and razors.

The right physician for you is not a primary care doctor.  Rather, you should insist upon a consultation with an infectious disease physician, whose specialty is treating infections.  Don't settle for vague answers from your doctor!  You need answers and early treatment can make a crucial difference with potential life-threatening infections.  Insist on answers from your doctor!