H1N1, bird flu and West Nile - these diseases have filled the news the past few years and have impacted our lives. But should an infectious disease touch you personally, the infectious disease specialists at Lutheran Health Physicians can help.
These physicians have extensive training in all kinds of infections, including those caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Infectious disease specialists are also trained in immunology (how the body fights infection), epidemiology (how infections spread) and infection control. Generally, infections are initially diagnosed by primary care physicians or internal medicine specialists.
The services of the infectious disease team are called for when:
- Fever raises suspicion that the patient may have a serious infection
- Fever causes complications with treatment
- The disease cannot be definitively diagnosed after an initial workup
- The patient has a weak immune system due to another condition
- The infectious agent is of an uncommon nature (such as a tropical diseases)
- The disease has not responded to first-line antibiotics
- The disease might be dangerous to other patients, and the patient might have to be isolated.
Treatments consist of medicines - typically antibiotics - that help fight the infection and prevent it from recurring. Medication may be given in the form of pills, liquids or administered directly via an IV, which can be administered in an outpatient facility or in the patient's home under the supervision of a home health nurse, eliminating the need for hospitalization.