Infection can run the spectrum from a simple infected skin wound to serious forms such as kidney infections. The vast majority of infections are viral, which means they won’t respond to antibiotics and can be treated at home with over-the-counter symptom management until the virus passes. The key then is to look at the severity of the symptoms. “The more severe infections are sepsis (infection throughout the body), pneumonia, meningitis, and infections in people who have weakened immune systems,” says Stanton.
Head to the ER… based on the severity of your symptoms. “You want to show up at the ER if there are any concerns, such as confusion, lethargy, low blood pressure, or inability to tolerate any oral fluids,” says Stanton. “These may suggest a more sinister infection or may just need a little emergency room TLC, such as medications to help with symptom management, fluids, or possibly antibiotics, to turn the corner.”