The most common way to get an infectious disease is through contact with an infected person or animal, but you can also get a disease through eating or drinking something contaminated. Call infectious disease specialist Sarfraz A. Choudhary, MD, FACP, at Infectious Diseases Tropical Medicine and Travel Clinic in Lansdowne, Virginia, if you suspect you’ve had exposure to an infectious disease. Some diseases have mild symptoms, but others can lead to serious and life-threatening health conditions. Call or schedule an appointment online.
An infectious disease is one that you contract through germs such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. Infectious diseases can spread directly or indirectly through touching, eating, drinking, or breathing in germs. They can also be spread through sexual contact, animal bites, or kissing.
Some infectious diseases are common and easy to treat successfully, such as strep throat or athlete’s foot, while others are incurable, such as HIV/AIDS and herpes. And some diseases, if left untreated, can be fatal. Infectious diseases are a leading cause of death worldwide.
Knowing how infectious diseases spread can help you protect yourself from getting one. Some infectious diseases, such as the flu, are transmitted airborne through the spray of a cough or a sneeze.
You can get other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS or herpes, by exchanging bodily fluids through kissing or sexual contact. Diseases such as E. coli come in contaminated food or beverages you consume. Infected animal or insect bites can also spread an infectious disease like Lyme disease, which is spread by deer ticks.
If you have a suppressed or weakened immune system because of HIV/AIDS or certain cancers, you’re more at risk of contracting an infectious disease.
Infectious disease symptoms range from disease to disease. But, there are some common or general symptoms to be on the lookout for if you’ve been in contact with a person or animal with an infectious disease. These symptoms include:
Fortunately, there are many simple things you can do to reduce your risk of getting an infectious disease. These preventive measures include:
Different infectious diseases are treated differently. Dr. Choudhary develops a personalized treatment plan based on an accurate diagnosis that consists of lab tests, a physical exam, and your medical and travel history. Treatment options include:
For more information about infectious diseases, call or make an appointment online.