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Community acquired infections

Community acquired infections - Symptoms

Usually fever is the most common symptom. Non-specific symptoms like lethargy, malaise, loss of appetite, and general sense of “feeling poorly” may also be present. Other symptoms may point to the site of infection. For example:
  • For upper respiratory tract infections, sore throat, cough, runny nose, facial pain / sinus congestions are not uncommon. 
  • For chest infections (pneumonia), one may complain of cough, sputum productive, breathlessness or pain with inspiration. 
  • Pain or burning sensation when passing urine, passage of blood in the urine, pain above the pubic bone, flank pain are signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections. 
  • Redness, pain and swelling over the skin suggest skin and soft tissue infections. If an abscess has developed, there may be pus discharge. Dark, discoloured blistering skin lesions may be associated with severe and fulminant infections which require immediate medical attention. 
  • Head and neck infections are associated with breathing difficulties, difficulty or pain on swallowing.
  • Joint infections are associated redness over the overlying skin, swelling and pain with limited range of movement. 
  • Central nervous system infections are characterized by headaches, altered mental state, behavioural changes, neck stiffness or photophobia (being irritated by bright lights). It may also be associated with focal or generalised weakness or sensory disturbances. Seizures may develop. 
  • With gastroenteritis, one may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, bloody stools or abdominal pain. Appetite is often reduced. 

Signs and symptoms due bloodstream infections may be non-specific (e.g. fever, chills, malaise and myalgia; which can also occur with viral infections) or associated with signs and symptoms at another site (e.g. pain on urination, suggesting that the infection may be coming from the urinary tract). Bloodstream infections require urgent evaluation. If left untreated, they can progress rapidly to fulminant infections. 
  • Warning signs associated with severe infection include low blood pressure and altered mental status, and this group of patients require prompt medical evaluation. Other medical emergencies which require prompt medical attention include: 
  • Necrotizing skin and soft tissue infections (e.g. necrotizing fasciitis)
  • Joint infections
  • Meningoencephalitis (central nervous system infection) 
  • Head and neck infections (e.g. neck abscesses, tonsillar abscesses)

Community acquired infections - Causes and Risk Factors

Community acquired infections - Preparing for surgery

Community acquired infections - Post-surgery care

Community acquired infections - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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