Infectious Diseases Specialist

Birmingham ID & Infusion

Infectious Diseases Specialists & Infusion Center located in Birmingham, AL

Germs are all around you: They’re in the air you breathe, on the surfaces you touch, and in the water you drink. There are even germs on your skin and in your body. While many germs are harmless, or even helpful, some can make you sick. The top-rated team at Birmingham ID & Infusion in Birmingham, Alabama provides comprehensive care for patients with hard-to-diagnose infectious diseases, as well as those who haven’t responded to traditional treatment. To learn more, call or schedule an appointment online today.

Infectious Diseases Q & A

What are infectious diseases?

Infectious disease is a blanket term that includes a wide range of illnesses, conditions, or disorders that are caused by different types of invasive organisms. Infectious diseases are usually passed through direct contact, either with another person, from an animal or insect bite, or through ingesting contaminated food or water.

Most infectious diseases are caused by one of the following:

Bacteria

Bacteria are common one-celled organisms that multiply quickly and cause a wide variety of infections, ranging from strep throat to urinary tract infections.

Viruses

These organisms, which are smaller than bacteria and contain genetic material, invade your cells to multiply. Viral infections include short-term illnesses like the flu, as well as chronic, life-long health conditions such as HIV/AIDS.

Parasites

Parasitic organisms survive by living on or in other living things. Some parasites are transmitted to humans through animal feces, while others -- like malaria -- are transmitted through insect (mosquito) bites.

Fungi

These primitive plant-like organisms can cause several infectious skin diseases, including ringworm and athlete's foot. Aspergillosis, an infection that usually affects the lungs, is also caused by a fungus.

What are common symptoms of infection?

Although every infectious disease has distinct signs and symptoms, some of the most common signs of infection include:

  • Fever and fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches

Some infections are so mild you may not notice any symptoms at all, while others cause severe or even life-threatening symptoms that require prompt medical attention.

What does an infectious disease specialist do?

Infectious disease specialists are internal medicine physicians who have expert-level training in diagnosing and treating infectious disease. Besides having an extensive understanding of all types of infections, they also possess in-depth knowledge about antibiotic use and its potential adverse side effects.

Infectious disease specialists have additional training in:

  • Immunology: how the body fights infection
  • Epidemiology: how infections spread
  • Infection control: how infections are contained

Why would I need an infectious disease specialist?

Most mild infections respond well to rest and home remedies, while many moderate or even serious infections can be treated successfully by your primary care physician. However, your doctor may refer you to an infectious disease specialist if your condition is:

  • Difficult to diagnose
  • Accompanied by a very high fever
  • Hasn’t responded, or has gotten worse, with treatment
  • May have been contracted during travel to a foreign country
  • Requires long-term management

An infectious disease specialist has the expertise and experience to determine the precise nature of your infection and specify what type of treatment you need (if any). If you need antibiotics, they’ll let you know whether you should receive them orally or intravenously.

To learn more, call the infectious disease specialists at Birmingham ID & Infusion today, or schedule an appointment online any time.