Common symptoms of infection depend on whether the infection is a localized infection or a systemic infection. Typical symptoms of local infections include redness, itching, burning, or inflammation. In addition, blisters and increased warmth may also be symptoms of local infections. Conversely, systemic infection symptoms may include chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting. In addition, fatigue, coughing, and weakness may be signs of systemic infections.
Since almost any system in the human body is susceptible to infection, different symptoms may occur, depending on the system in which the infection is present. For example, a urinary tract infection may cause pain and burning upon urination, urinary frequency, urgency, and sometimes, blood in the urine. A urinary tract infection may also cause systemic symptoms such as fever, chills, and fatigue.
Viruses and bacterial infections can cause similar symptoms, but the only way to determine which organism is causing the infection is to see a physician. Medical tests can determine infection types, such as the oral throat swab that tests for strep throat. If the swab culture proves positive for strep, the infection is most likely attributed to a bacterial infection.
Physicians will not always write a prescription for antibiotics to treat infections because antibiotics are only effective for treating bacterial infections. These drugs cannot cure viral infections, as antibiotics are only effective in treating bacterial infections such as strep throat or bacterial ear infections.
Sometimes, side effects can be worse than the actual symptoms of infection. Side effects from antibiotics include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. In addition, they can also cause a severe allergic reaction such as hives or in extreme cases, difficulty breathing, throat swelling, and swelling of the lips and tongue. This is a medical emergency, and if not treated swiftly, the patient may develop respiratory arrest or go into shock.
Some symptoms of infection include pus formation under the skin and drainage from an infected site. An untreated ingrown toenail, for instance, may cause severe pain, redness, and pus formation at the site of the ingrown nail. Although antibiotic ointments may be effective in treating a toenail infection, the patient may need an oral antibiotic. In addition, a minor surgical procedure to remove a portion of the nail and clean out the area may be necessary to relieve the symptoms of infection.