Infections are some of the most common health complaints we see in General Practice. Infections are caused by microbes – bacteria, fungi or viruses – which infect different body parts. As well as making us feel awful, infections are dangerous because they can spread in our body, and to other people. Some people can be vulnerable, such as young children or the elderly, and vaccinations can help prevent some infections. If you have the common cold, ear infection, sinus infection, cough or bronchitis – we want to see you!
What happens when I come in with an infection?
When you come to see us with symptoms that may be Covid-19 or Influenza, we may ask you to wait in a different part of the waiting room, or even outside in your car. Please call us before you come to find out what to do. We may wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) like face shields and scrubs when we see you.
Once you are with us, we will take a history (symptoms, use of over-the-counter or self-medication, previous medical history, relevant risk factors) and carry out an examination. We may look in your ears, eyes or throat; we may take your temperature and vital signs, feel lymph nodes or for swelling and inflammation. We will talk with you about what the infection could be and what we can do.
Will you give me antibiotics?
The use, and over-use, of antibiotics is an important issue. We follow evidence-based recommendations to guide us in the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics. We will talk with you about the three antibiotic prescribing strategies (not prescribing, delayed prescribing and immediate prescribing) and your concerns and expectations around antibiotic use.
We will give you advice about the usual natural history of the illness, including the average total length of the illness (before and after seeing the doctor) and advice about managing symptoms, including fever. We will always take the time to see a child – call us for an urgent appointment.
Respiratory (lung and breathing) infections are most common.
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
UTI infections are very common. We see many UTI infections and can help you quickly to gain relief from the pain. Most of the time we can deal with a UTI in a short consult. Despite it not taking long to fix, we feel your pain and have sympathy for your situation – we know what UTI is like. The majority of UTIs require treatment with antibiotics, and diagnosis includes a urine dipstick test. We will prescribe you the most appropriate antibiotic for your age and stage of life, and we can change the dose or drug choice if your symptoms aren’t resolving quickly. Make sure you finish the full course of antibiotic and come back for more testing if your symptoms don’t settle or come back again.