Bacterial and viral infections are infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. Bacteria are microorganisms that live and multiply on their own. Viruses are also microorganisms, but they need a living host — animal, plant, or human — to survive and multiply.
Use the Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican online waiting service, InQuicker, to select your estimated arrival time at the emergency room for infections in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.
Common Types of Infections in Las Vegas, NV
- Strep throat
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Cat scratch disease
- Bacterial meningitis
- Lyme disease
- Urinary tract infections, although other organisms can cause these infections, too
- Common cold
- Stomach flu
- Swine flu (H1N1)
- Viral meningitis
- Viral hepatitis
What Causes Viral Infection & Bacterial Infection?
Bacterial and viral infections spread in four main ways:
- Contamination from food or water.
- Indirect contact with a contaminated surface, such as a keyboard, water faucet, or doorknob. This can lead to infection if you don’t wash your hands before touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Direct contact with someone who has an infection through sneezing, coughing, touching, kissing, or sexual contact.
- Infected insects, which infectious disease specialists refer to as “vectors.” You become infected when an infected insect, such as a tick or mosquito, bites you and transmits germs to you.
Symptoms of Infection
Symptoms of infectious diseases depend on the specific type of infection. In many cases, the symptoms of viral and bacterial infections are very similar. Testing, such as a throat swab, is often necessary to tell which is causing the infection.
Common symptoms of infectious diseases include:
- Muscle aches
Not sure when to go to the emergency room for infections? Seek urgent or emergency medical care for:
- Severe headache, vomiting, and stiff neck, which are symptoms of meningitis
- Nausea and vomiting along with stomach pain, which could indicate food poisoning (bacterial gastroenteritis) or appendicitis
Treating & Preventing Infections
Treatment strategies for infections depend on whether it is a bacterial or viral infection. Washing your hands regularly is the most effective thing you can do to prevent infections.
Antibiotics are the main treatment for bacterial infections. If you have a prescription, be sure to finish the entire course unless your doctor tells you otherwise, even once you start to feel better. This helps prevent antibacterial resistance — when bacteria figure out how to overcome the antibiotic. Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are very difficult to treat — and can be fatal.
Antibiotics do not work on viruses because of the way they live and grow. For some viruses, antiviral medicines are effective. For others, supportive measures are the main treatment. This includes fluids, rest, and over-the-counter medicines to treat symptoms.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican offers emergency services, including treatment for infections, in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.