If you’re unsure about when to go to the emergency room (ER) for a viral or bacterial infection, remember that it’s always safer to be cautious and seek help from a trained medical professional. Viral infections are caused by viruses, and bacterial infections are caused by bacteria. Both are classified as infectious diseases and should be treated promptly.
Dignity Health North State provides emergency services for bacterial and viral infection in Northern California, including the common cold, influenza, stomach flu, meningitis, swine flu, and Zika virus.
If you need to visit an ER, you can choose to wait in the comfort of home until your appointment by using InQuicker to select your estimated arrival time.
Viral & Bacterial Infection Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of viral and bacterial infections vary by type. It’s often difficult to know what kind of infection is present because viruses and bacteria often create similar symptoms.
In general, you should go to an ER for:
If you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, find emergency care at these Dignity Health North State locations:
Causes of Viral & Bacterial Infections
The primary causes of viral and bacterial infections include:
- Touching a surface that is contaminated with viruses or bacteria, such as a keyboard, doorknob, or water faucet. This is known as indirect contact.
- Coming in contact with a person who has the infection, such as through sneezing, coughing, kissing, sexual contact, or touching of any kind. This is called direct contact.
- Contact with contaminated water or food.
- Contact with an infected insect, such as through a bite from a tick or mosquito.
Regular hand washing is the best way to protect against indirect contact with viral and bacterial infections. Try to avoid being near someone who is sick or may have an infection.
Viral & Bacterial Infection Treatment at Dignity Health North State
Treatment is different for viral and bacterial infections. If the diagnosis is a viral infection, treatment may begin with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medicines. More severe viruses may be treated with antiviral medicines. For a bacterial infection, providers at Dignity Health North State may recommend antibiotics. If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics, be sure to follow his or her instructions carefully.
Our providers are here to ensure you and your loved ones recover from infection and avoid further complications.
Dignity Health North State offers complete emergency care for viral and bacterial infections in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.