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Staph Infection - Should I go to the ER?

GrundlterrorGrundlterror Registered User regular
edited February 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Ok so I've had this staph infection for about 4 months now (that I can recall) under my chin and I have been on several batches of antibiotics. It goes away but not completely and then comes back. This last time they prescribed it to me (they changed medications 1/2 way through the dosage on me when they took a culture and found out it was a staph infection) they stated if it didn't work I would have to go to a dermatologist. Well I just got a call from the doctor's nurse and she gave me the #'s to an infectious disease doctor but told me I needed to go to the emergency room tonight to be safe.

Now I told this to my mother, who used to be a nurse herself. She said that our insurance doesn't cover ER visits unless they are life threatening and it would cost hundreds to thousands of dollars for a hospital visit. I can probably get an appointment with the infectious disease doctor early next week, but I'm still worried about this. I mean what can happen as a result of this? I've had this for a LONG time and I was really worried that it was something horrible at first, but then they said it was just a simple infection. Now the worry has come back. Add to that I just found out an old friend died (was murdered, different cause but scares the shit out of me none the less) so I don't know what to do.

I want to go to the ER because I'm just freaking out right now. She says for her to look at it and then we'll decide what to do. I mean at this point you can barely see it (its just a little red lump) although its pretty easy to feel it. What should I do? I mean this doctor I go to doesn't make sense. They take me off the original antibiotic when they found out it was a staph infection and put me on a new one. But then when I get a refill they go back to the old one (even though I pointed out that it was the old one several times). Plus the flyers around their office are all for botox treatments and fake tans. So I know they are real doctors and all, but these facts just make me a bit apprehensive.

Anyway I realize that I am in a panicked state of mind right now, got any advice on what I should do?

Btw: Other than the bump being there I have no other noticeable symptoms that I could attribute to a staph infection.

Grundlterror on
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Posts

  • TehSpectreTehSpectre @PixelateJake on TwitterRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Being a money pinching loser like I am, I would wait. If it isn't really noticeable and not really causing you much discomfort, it can't be too bad can it? I know staph infections can be life-threatening if left un-treated, but I don't think that waiting a week will kill you.

    Also, get a new doctor. If they have been treating it for as long as you say, it should be gone by now. I think. Hell, I know nothing about staph infections. I can just tell ya wait I would do.

    Good luck.

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  • GrundlterrorGrundlterror Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    Being a money pinching loser like I am, I would wait. If it isn't really noticeable and not really causing you much discomfort, it can't be too bad can it? I know staph infections can be life-threatening if left un-treated, but I don't think that waiting a week will kill you.

    Also, get a new doctor. If they have been treating it for as long as you say, it should be gone by now. I think. Hell, I know nothing about staph infections. I can just tell ya wait I would do.

    Good luck.

    Yeah, my mom said that since they were (most likely) prescribing me the wrong antibiotic that they are just covering their own asses.

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  • redxredx East Bumblefuck, PARegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    ummm... well... staph infections can do some pretty nasty things to various parts of your body. Like, parts of your brain and your heart valves, IIRC.

    and... like... the antibiotic resistant ones, kinda do a bit of damage in hospitals to people with compromised immune systems.

    and your doctor pretty much told you to go to the ER. You might want to call your insurance carrier first, but they really really should cover it. There might be a co-pay or something, but a doctor referred you, so I don't really see how they could justify not paying for most of it.

    you've had it for months, so I highly doubt anything serious will happen(there are many many different types of staph), but I think it is pretty fucked up that your insurance company wouldn't cover it.

    All I've got is a snuggle hammer.
  • RoundBoyRoundBoy Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Without knowing anything about your insurance .. the ER visit could cost you a copay of $50 / $100 just to walk in... but if you have a need to be admitted, then i can't possibly see how your insurance would not cover it...

    Staph infections are usually not something you want to fuck around with .. maybe it would be worth at least the emergency room visit to get it drained ? or at least a second opinion from a doctor not so interested in upselling plastic surgery.

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    Librarians harbor a terrible secret. Find it.
  • FatsFats Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Do you have any urgency clinics nearby? They should be able to take care of you without the price of the ED. They bill the same as a normal clinic visit, so your insurance should cover it all.

    Edit: Out of curiosity, which antibiotics have they given you?

  • TacoManTacoMan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I say go with your gut instinct and go to the ER. Your doc (with the tanning flyers and stuff) seems a little flakey; how long have you been with this dr. for? The fact that they've been switching antibiotics is really weird....they had to have given you instructions with your antibiotics right? Some forms of staph can be resilient to antibiotics hence Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, very common too...

    I work at an ER as just a lowly nurse's aide for now, but it's my understanding that an ER visit is only based on how much work they do on you: lab tests, perscription, and a doc's initial exam is really the only thing I see happening here. Although the latter part is bound to cost more (I've heard you actually pay more for the Dr. to read/glance at a 12 lead EKG than it takes for them to hook you up and monitor you on it...). They bill you for pretty much every little damn thing they can, so in part, your mom is right....

    Also, the hospital I work at has like a payment program if you can't pay it out all in full so check that out...you'd be surprised how big of a problem it is for hospitals not getting their bills payed, they literally have a whole separate buffer of money to deal with all of that....

    I say go to the ER. I've also heard that staph infections can infect your heart if left untreated and taking action now can save you a lot of grief/money. Good luck.

  • RippRipp Registered User
    edited February 2007
    There should be a customer care number on your insurance card that you can call to determine if an ER visit is going to break the bank or not. Since that seems to be a concern for you, I'd call that step 1.

    I've lived through two major outbreaks of Staph in my left leg, and it's not pretty. It can easily turn into something serious in a hurry. That said, the only person that can decide if this is serious enough to pay attention to is you. If the spot is the same size, shape and density that it has been for a while then chances are good that the ER doc is simply going to tell you you're not dying (which you already know) and tell you to see that infectious disease specialist.

    If it's spreading, hot to the touch or developing a hard mass then you should go to the ER immediately. Those are the warning signs I've been told to watch for, so it can't hurt you to do the same.

    Also, the infectious disease guy is the way to go. The first time I had an outbreak it took four months of going to a regular doctor ( and one expensive hospital visit) before they got me to see a specialist, and by that point the infection had developed a large mass in my knee that needed to be surgically removed.

    The next time I noticed the same symptoms I went straight to the infection doc and we got it cleared up in a week. It still took a hospital stay so that they coudl administer the really heavy meds, but it was a lot better than 4 months.

    Congratulations, man. Once you get one infection you're far more likely to get more down the road. It's fun stuff.

    XBL Gamertag- Ripptide123
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Ripp wrote: »
    If it's spreading, hot to the touch or developing a hard mass then you should go to the ER immediately. Those are the warning signs I've been told to watch for, so it can't hurt you to do the same.

    I agree. Also add to the list of warning signs: fever or any other flu-like symptoms. Also, don't fuck around with staph if you have any kind of immune disorder, or if you have any kind of heart defect.

    If you go to the ER they're going to do some combination of the following:

    A) Give you more antibiotics.
    B) Insert a scalpel or needle and aspirate the abscess.
    C) Absolutely nothing.

    Each variety of antibiotics they hit this thing with without eradicating it increases the likelihood that an antibiotics-resistant strain will gain a foothold (which is why a particularly conservative ER doc might send you home empty-handed). If it were me and I had a little red bump I would skip the ER unless it got any worse, but I would DEFINITELY make an appointment with a REPUTABLE infectious disease specialist. Your insurance company will have a list of covered specialists in your area.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • GrundlterrorGrundlterror Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Thanks for all the advice guys. The antibiotics I was taking was Keflex and the one they specifically prescribed I can't remember the name of.

    After a visit to my mom, the former nurse, she told me I should not go to the emergency room. The staph infection has gotten extremely small to the point that you couldn't notice it if you were looking at. I was really just panicking and over thinking the situation. Odds are, either my doctor was looking to cover her ass or she just didn't want to deal with me before they closed up for the day and told me to go to the ER.

    I have no symptoms that would suggest that it is damaging me at all. It hasn't spread, ever. It doesn't hurt/burn. And it's not the same size, it used to be quite bigger. I will be setting up an appointment to the infectious disease doctor as soon as possible and I have already made arrangements for a new doctor.

    Like I said, sorry for the freaked out post. It was a long day yesterday and I was pretty much having a panic attack.

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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Is it possible it's just scar tissue?

    I had a lengthy infection in one of my toes, took a bunch of antibiotics, and when it was done, even though it wasn't painful, it was still hella swollen. When the doc ended up removing the nail, he said it was just scar tissue, and that he could correct it if I wanted him to (no insurance, so that was a negative).

  • MoridinMoridin Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Thanks for all the advice guys. The antibiotics I was taking was Keflex and the one they specifically prescribed I can't remember the name of.

    After a visit to my mom, the former nurse, she told me I should not go to the emergency room. The staph infection has gotten extremely small to the point that you couldn't notice it if you were looking at. I was really just panicking and over thinking the situation. Odds are, either my doctor was looking to cover her ass or she just didn't want to deal with me before they closed up for the day and told me to go to the ER.

    I have no symptoms that would suggest that it is damaging me at all. It hasn't spread, ever. It doesn't hurt/burn. And it's not the same size, it used to be quite bigger. I will be setting up an appointment to the infectious disease doctor as soon as possible and I have already made arrangements for a new doctor.

    Like I said, sorry for the freaked out post. It was a long day yesterday and I was pretty much having a panic attack.

    Sounds like it's going away, then.

    I've had staph twice, and both times I started antibiotics quickly. Regardless, within two days (both times) it went from a small sore to a pretty large warm, swollen red area that hurt to be touched. If it gets any larger, go straight to a doctor.

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  • GrundlterrorGrundlterror Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Is it possible it's just scar tissue?

    I had a lengthy infection in one of my toes, took a bunch of antibiotics, and when it was done, even though it wasn't painful, it was still hella swollen. When the doc ended up removing the nail, he said it was just scar tissue, and that he could correct it if I wanted him to (no insurance, so that was a negative).

    While that is possible, I believe (although can't say for 100% certain) that it has grown in the past when in this situation. Definitely a possibility though, and it's actually been suggested to me before that it could be just a scar left behind.
    Moridin wrote: »
    Sounds like it's going away, then.

    I've had staph twice, and both times I started antibiotics quickly. Regardless, within two days (both times) it went from a small sore to a pretty large warm, swollen red area that hurt to be touched. If it gets any larger, go straight to a doctor.

    Yeah, it doesn't (and never really did) hurt. The only time it really hurt was when they were trying to get a culture out of it (and squeezed the hell out of it).

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