Acute Diseases

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At some point in our lives we will all experience a health problem, whether it's the common cold or a pesky flu. While some will go away on their own, there are health issues that require urgent medical attention, and it's important to know when to seek proper treatment.

What Is An Acute Disease?

An acute disease appears suddenly and lasts for a short amount of time. This is different from chronic diseases, which develop gradually and remain for months on end. Some examples include the influenza virus and the common cold.

Acute diseases can include these common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Earache
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Headache

Through a physical examination and identifying your symptoms, your doctor can provide a diagnosis and individualized treatment plan to care for your acute illness.

Serious Acute Illnesses

Many acute diseases can be self-limiting and may go away on their own, or can be treated with a simple course of antibiotics or other prescription medications. There are some acute diseases, however, that come on suddenly and produce life-threatening symptoms. These include:

  • Heart attack
  • Asthma attack
  • Pneumonia
  • Appendicitis
  • Organ failure
  • Acute bronchitis

These more serious acute diseases require urgent medical care. If you suspect you may have a severe acute illness, it's important that you call 911 or go to your local emergency room. By seeking treatment for your acute illness as soon as possible, you lessen the chance for further complications or other long-term health issues.


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