Common Infections @ the CDC
The Center for Disease Control has a very evidence-based site for common infections (and other public health problems). I highly recommend it for common and rare infections.
Various Resources for Common Infections
Bronchitis: Is an inflammation of the breathing tubes (called bronchi). This inflammation is what brings you in the door as you tend to have cough and mucous production. The big question is whether you need antibiotics. Most don’t. The link above is an excellent one from Healthwise/Healthlink BC that walks you through this decision.
Pneumonia from the Lung Association.
Inner Ear Infection (or what we call otitis media). This ear infection happens inside the eardrum and causes pain and fever. It is much more common in kids. This link is a decision aid about the pros and cons of antibiotics. Basically, for most kids it is a waste of time (although we all feel better). Kids that derive more benefit have ear infections on both sides and goop coming out.
Outer ear infection (or swimmers ear). This happens in the tube leading outside from the drum gets inflamed. This can get better by itself or with over the counter drops, but sometimes it needs antibiotic or antifungal drops.
Cold Sores (or oral herpes). Cold sores sounds better. It’s a virus and we aren’t too good at treating viruses. The two key messages are 1) to prevent it in the first place by not getting that sunburn or whatever sets yours off and 2) if you use an antiviral cream or pill to use it ASAP -when you feel the tingle. Otherwise they don’t make much of a difference.
Sore Throat (or pharyngitis). 85% of sore throats are viral. A small percentage are “strep throat” which gets better quicker with antibiotics. The link above is a wiki site but it gives the “sore throat score” in the diagnosis section so you can judge your likelihood of having strep. Remember ibuprofen or acetaminophen works for the pain and fever.
Cellulitis or skin infection. This is when the surface, and sometimes the layers underneath the surface, of your skin get infected with bacteria. Often there is a story of a small cut or some other passageway for the bacteria. Most cases need antibiotics, and I usually get patients to take a pen and mark the edges of the cellulitis at the beginning of therapy to watch the edges recede after 48 hrs. of treatment.