Kidney infection is a serious illness that can start from a simple UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). If a UTI is felt untreated, bacteria may travel from the bladder to one or both kidneys and infect them. When that happens a person experiences fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and back pain and generally feels very ill. Kidney infection is diagnosed by a doctor exam and a urine test. Usually, no other tests are necessary.

A kidney infection is treated with antibiotics. At an early stage, antibiotic pills for 2 weeks are enough. Later in the course of illness, a hospital stay with IV antibiotics may be needed. Untreated kidney infection can lead to permanent kidney damage, bacteremia (bacteria being spread all over the body by blood) and even death.

Elderly people, babies under a year of age, adults who use diapers or urinary catheters are most at risk for developing a kidney infection. Elderly people and babies may also not have the usual symptoms of a UTI or a kidney infection, and instead may appear lethargic (really sleepy) or act confused. If this happens, they should be seen by a doctor right away.