A new national campaign to help people spot, treat and prevent urinary tract infection has been launched.
It gives important advice about how and when to ask for advice.
North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust is supporting the campaign and our specialist Helen Lanka explains more about these infections.
Helen is a Urology Clinical Nurse for the Trust.
She said: “Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect the urinary tract, including the bladder, urethra, or kidneys. Sometimes a urinary tract infection can develop into a severe infection that can cause a person to become very ill and they may then need to go to hospital.”
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
- Needing to pee more frequently, suddenly, or more urgently than usual.
- Pain or a burning sensation when peeing.
- Needing to pee at night more often than usual.
- New pain in the lower tummy.
- New incontinence or wetting themselves that is worse than usual.
- Kidney pain or pain in the lower back.
- Blood in the pee.
- Changes in behaviour, such as acting agitated or confused (delirium). This could be a symptom of a UTI but could also be due to other causes, which need to be ruled out.
- General signs of infection, like a fever, a high temperature or feeling hot and shivery, with shaking (rigors) or chills.
- A very low temperature, below 36°C.
If you or someone you know thinks they have a UTI it’s important to have regular drinks, like water, to boost hydration. The NHS Eatwell Guide recommends that people should aim to drink 6 to 8 cups or glasses of fluid a day. Water, lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count.
Helen said: “Sometimes people don’t like to drink as they are worried about getting to the toilet. If someone you care for is less able to access the toilet, ensure they are provided with support to do so at regular intervals, so that they feel confident to keep well by drinking enough. Help might include choosing the right type of drink that they like, at the right temperature, in the right kind of cup or glass.
“Always wipe from front to back when they go to the toilet and avoid using irritating products such as scented soaps, gels, and sprays around the genital area.
“It’s important to keep the genital area clean and if possible to shower daily to maintain personal hygiene, especially if a person is incontinent. If incontinence pads are used these should be changed regularly and right away when soiled. If needed, a continence professional can support with a continence assessment.
Helen’s colleague, Janette Taylor, Urology Clinical Nurse Specialist at NCIC, added: “Urinary tract infections can also be disruptive and can require frequent visits to the GP surgery or hospital. If you suspect you have an infection, take a sample of urine to the doctor’s surgery so this can be sent for analysis. Symptoms can range from fever, pain when passing urine, frequent trips to the toilets, urgent desire to pass water, smelly, cloudy or debris in the urine. Drink plenty of water to flush the bladder as this will help to get rid of the infection.”
Adult women can now get help for simple urine infections at their local pharmacy.
A new service, launched last year, allows community pharmacies to manage and treat uncomplicated lower Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in women aged 16-64.
The local pharmacies that are involved are:
- FC Whelan Chemists Ltd, 72 John Street, Workington CA14 3BT
- Boots, 29 Murray Road Workington, CA14 2AB
- Seaton Pharmacy, 91 Main Road, Seaton, Workington CA14 1JE
- Tuschem Ltd, Workington Community Hospital, Park Lane, Workington CA14 2RW
- W GOURLAY (CHEMISTS), 25-27 Oxford Street, Workington, Cumbria CA14 2AL
- J H SANDHAM, 64-66 Harrington Road, Workington, Cumbria CA14 3EG
- Dalston Pharmacy - Bank St (Formerly Sawyers), 6-8 Bank Street, Carlisle, CA3 8EU
- Dalston Pharmacy, Arnside Hse, Sycamore Lane, Parklands Village, Carlisle, CA1 3SR
- Dalston Pharmacy, 7 Central Avenue, Harraby, Carlisle CA1 3QB
- Mirehouse Pharmacy, 59 Meadow Road, Mirehouse, Whitehaven CA28 8ER
- Whitehaven Late Pharmacy, Unit 1, Lowther Buildings, Lowther Street, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 7DG
- Seacliffe Pharmacy, High Road, Whitehaven, Cumbria CA28 9PG
- AF Norman Chemists Ltd, 55 Senhouse Street, Maryport CA15 6BL
- HS Dobie Chemist, 29 Curzon Street, Maryport CA15 6LN
- Alston Pharmacy, Front Street, Alston CA9 3QP
- Boots, 31 Main Street, Keswick CA12 5BL
- Boots, West Street Health Centre Aspatria, CA7 3HH
- Brampton Pharmacy, Market Place, Brampton CA8 1RW
- Dalston Pharmacy, 2 Vicars Cottages, The Square, Dalston CA5 7LW
- Green Tree Pharmacy Ltd, 8 Market Street, Kirkby Stephen CA17 4QS
- Joseph Cowper Ltd, 50 King Street, Penrith CA11 7AY
- Boots, Unit 3, Angel Square Penrith, CA11 7BT
- JWW Allison and Sons Ltd, 31 Main Street, Cockermouth CA13 9LE
- Seascale Pharmacy, Gosforth Road, Seascale CA20 1PR
What should you do if you think you have a UTI?
If you think you might have a UTI, ensure you are drinking enough fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Take paracetamol up to four times a day to reduce any pain.
Contact a healthcare professional, this could be your GP, a nurse, the community pharmacist, a walk-in centre or the NHS 111 service.
There are different treatment options to discuss with your healthcare professional. Antibiotics should only be taken if prescribed by a healthcare professional. Always ensure antibiotics are taken as directed on the medicine label.
For more information visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-tract-infections-utis/