An acute illness is defined as an illness where symptoms appear or change quickly. The health condition becomes chronic if it persists despite long-term treatment. Acute illnesses can range from mild to severe, and it's important to seek diagnosis and treatment at the first sign of it to prevent it from becoming a chronic problem.
Examples of acute illnesses and their treatment
You could develop one of dozens of acute illnesses, but the most common ones include:
Bronchitis - The term bronchitis comes from the bronchial tubes that become inflamed when you have this condition. These tubes deliver air to your lungs. Symptoms of bronchitis include a mucus-producing cough, wheezing, low-grade fever, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. The acute type goes away after a few days, although a cough can last for several weeks.
Pneumonia - When you have pneumonia, a virus, bacteria, or fungi causes an infection in one or both lungs. It presents many of the same symptoms as bronchitis with the addition of body chills. Treatment of pneumonia depends on whether you have the bacterial or viral type.
Sinus infection - Also called sinusitis, a sinus infection means your sinuses have become inflamed. It typically starts as a common cold. Weakness, fatigue, fever, congestion, and a persistent cough are the most common symptoms. An acute sinus infection can last up to four weeks.
Strep throat - Pain when swallowing, visible white patches in your mouth, and swollen neck glands are the first indications you could have strep throat. Nausea, lack of appetite, headache, fever, and chills are additional symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for up to 10 days if your strep test comes back positive.
Acute illnesses have a shorter duration than a chronic disease, but they can still make you feel unwell for a long time. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner you can get back to your life.
Working as a carer, it is important to recognise acute illnesses when symptoms arise. At Flexebee, we offer a range of courses relating to those in the healthcare profession. These include training for the Care Certificate and a variety of First Aid courses.