Signs and Symptoms of Infection

in home care Phoenix AZ
Learn the top signs of infection to watch for in your senior loved ones.

Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They’re normally harmless or even helpful, but under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease.

Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by bites from insects or animals. Others are acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.

Signs and symptoms vary depending on the organism causing the infection, but often include fever and fatigue. Mild infections may respond to rest and home remedies, while some life-threatening infections may require hospitalization.

Many infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can be prevented by vaccines. Frequent and thorough hand-washing also helps protect you from most infectious diseases.
Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms, but there are some generalized indicators that an infection may be present across the board, such as:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughing

Below are some particular signs and symptoms you may see, in addition to, or instead of the ones listed above, based upon certain types of infection. Be sure to contact your senior loved one’s physician if any of these signs are noted:


  • Increased pain at or around the wound
  • Increased drainage from the wound site
  • Drainage with foul odor
  • Change in color of drainage, especially with yellow or green color and foul odor
  • Fever of 101 degrees or greater
  • Significant increase in redness and warmth around the wound


  • Shaking, chills, fever (100 to 104 degrees)
  • Chest pain
  • Productive cough, with green, thick yellow/tan or blood tinged sputum
  • Dry, hacking non-productive cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • White or pale blue skin tone around the lips


  • Pain in bladder region or lower back
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Frequency
  • Urgency
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent voiding at night
  • Cloudy, foul smelling urine
  • Blood in urine

The best way to combat infection, however, is through prevention. Taking these precautions can help:


  • Thoroughly wash hands before and after contact with open body secretions or drainage
  • Wear gloves when in contact with body fluids or drainage
  • Keep all wound or drainage supplies covered and in a clean area
  • Keep young children, pets, and pests away from supplies
  • Double bag all soiled dressings or disposables that have come in contact with body fluids
  • Clean and disinfect all equipment appropriately
  • Avoid contact with those who have a respiratory or other communicable infection

Helping older adults remain healthy, safe and well is our goal at Nightingale Homecare, and we’re always on hand to partner with families to provide resources, tips, and the professional in home care Paradise Valley, AZ and the surrounding areas deserve. Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 with questions or to schedule a free consultation, right in the comfort of home, to learn more ways we can help enhance quality of life for your senior loved one!