As we so painfully learned on Monday, infectious arthritis can and will effect anybody at any age, especially under certain medical conditions. But, what the majority of people don’t know is that this type of infection is considered a medical emergency, and must be treated immediately. With that, there are certain symptoms about this kind of infection that should trigger your instincts to get medical attention as soon as possible.
Some symptoms that may not register quite as quickly that there is indeed a severe infection building, include chills, fatigue, and a small fever. All these can be easily mistaken for the common flu that people are not so quick to seek medical attention for, especially without health insurance. However, you should consider yourself in need of urgent care if you are unable to move a joint, have severe pain in a joint, increased swelling, redness or tenderness to the touch. These are surefire signs of septic arthritis, so do not pass go and do not collect your $200 (monopoly anyone?), just get yourself straight to a medical facility.
There are a few different approaches a doctor can take to examine the inflamed joint, which include blood tests, MRI and X-ray. However, to establish exactly which type of bacteria is causing the infection, a fluid sample is drawn from the site of the infection. This procedure is called arthrocentesis, which most women can compare to a amniocentesis, or taking fluid from the amniotic sac to test a child’s chromosomes. This course of action allows the doctor to determine which type of antibiotics you should go on because certain bacteria require different types of antibiotics. If your doctor finds the infection resorts back to fungi, in addition to antibiotics, you will be put on an anti-fungal. However, if your doctor diagnoses your infectious arthritis sourcing from a virus, well then there is no particular course of treatment. You unfortunately just have to ride it out with a little bed rest and anti-inflammatory.
Another common procedure vital to your recovery is draining the infected fluid from the joint via surgery.