When to go to Urgent Care for Skin Infections

When to go to Urgent Care for Skin Infections

Skin infections are more common than you might think, and many can be easily treated by a visit to urgent care. If you or someone in your family has a skin infection, see a doctor right away; although some of these problems are minor and can clear up on their own, others require immediate medical attention. Fortunately, many skin infections that appear at home can be treated with an antibiotic cream that you pick up at your local pharmacy. However, if symptoms worsen or fail to improve after three days of treatment with over-the-counter medication , it’s time to make an appointment with urgent care and let them figure out what’s wrong.

If your skin infection does not improve or gets worse after three days of home treatment, visit your doctor. While some may seem harmless (and many are), a staph or strep infection can spread rapidly and cause sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition. You should also head to urgent care if you see symptoms of cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection that can be difficult to treat at home. Cellulitis affects your lymph nodes and spreads very quickly in people with diabetes or weak immune systems. If it worsens after 24 hours of antibiotic treatment, it could lead to blood poisoning.

If your skin infection is caused by staph or strep, you may need urgent care. These bacteria can quickly get out of control and potentially lead to sepsis, which can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics. In addition, these two bacteria typically cause fever, chills and body aches that are signs of a more serious infection. If you’re wondering when it’s safe to visit urgent care for an infected cut or rash, start by considering how bad it looks; if it looks like it might be spreading rapidly (redness extending past edges), then you should probably see a doctor immediately. You also want to think about whether your symptoms are getting worse (particularly pain) instead of better.

Skin infections are common. They’re often caused by staph, or staphylococcus aureus. If you’ve got one of these itchy red bumps and it’s spread beyond your skin’s surface, don’t try to treat it at home; seek urgent care for skin infections instead. Although some antibiotics can be helpful if you catch an infection early on (think: small red bumps), they won’t do much good when bacteria have already entered your blood stream—and that’s what causes most serious skin infections in adults. That’s why it’s so important to call your doctor immediately after noticing signs like nausea, fever, chills, vomiting or changes in consciousness.

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