Acute Illness

What is an acute illness?

Acute illnesses are those that usually occur very quickly and last only a short time, typically a few days or weeks.

This is in comparison to a chronic illness, which develops slowly and worsens over a longer period of months to years.

Acute illnesses are often caused by an infection or virus, although they can also occur from the misuse of medications or drugs.

Some examples of acute medical conditions include:

  • bronchitis
  • asthma attack
  • common cold
  • heart attack
  • flu
  • respiratory infections
  • pneumonia
  • strep throat

How do acute illnesses impact health?

Acute illnesses often appear quickly and can be accompanied by symptoms that require urgent care. In many cases, acute illnesses get better once treated, although some acute illnesses, such as the common cold, may go away on their own.

Some acute illnesses may require hospitalization due to the urgency of the symptoms. However, if the illness is successfully treated, the patient can often go home and return to their normal life.

Some symptoms that commonly accompany an acute illness include:

  • sore throat
  • fever
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • earache
  • diarrhea
  • severe cuts and scrapes
  • unusual rashes
  • animal or insect bites
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