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Infectious Diseases

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The most likely way to catch an infectious disease is to contact another person who is infected through direct transfer of germs like bacteria, fungi, parasites, or viruses. Our infectious disease experts at Clinica Sierra Vista are extensively trained diagnosing, treating, and managing of infectious diseases, some of which are curable and chronic (ongoing/lifelong) infections.

What Is Infectious Disease?

Bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites can all cause infectious diseases. According to the World Health Organization, about 25% of all deaths worldwide are caused by these invisible, infectious organisms, many of them children. While some infectious diseases are spread from person to person, others are transmitted by animals or insects. Although these infections are usually treatable and harmless in the long run, some may cause death without prompt treatment. Signs and symptoms of infectious disease vary depending on the type you have but often include fever and fatigue. While some mild viruses like the common cold usually respond well to rest and home remedies, others, like measles, are life-threatening and require hospitalization and continuous care.

Common symptoms of infectious disease include:

  • Unexplained, prolonged high fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps and achiness
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Rash or swelling
  • Sudden changes in eyesight

How to Prevent Spreading an Infectious Disease

Scientific proof shows there are ways to keep yourself healthy and avoid spreading an infection, especially if you are the one who has the condition. If you wash your hands thoroughly and often, it can help keep you from some conditions, because many infections linger on surfaces, such as doorknobs, for anywhere between a few minutes and several months. Anything you frequently touch, or anyone you share a household with, should pay careful attention to disinfecting common areas. To avoid becoming infected, disinfect frequently touched things, such as a computer keyboard and mouse, light switch, TV remote control, or even the pedestrian crossing button at traffic lights.

Another way to ensure you don’t spread an infectious disease is not to share your personal hygiene items, such as toothbrushes, towels, razors, manicure scissors, and brushes. If you are the one who has an infection, you should cover your mouth or sneeze into the crook of your elbow so that the germs cannot be spread through the air. If you do sneeze in your hand, make sure to wash it directly afterward, as your germs can be transmitted to other surfaces.

Safe sex is also important. Sexually transmitted infections and diseases are preventable. By practicing safe sex and using condoms every time, you can keep yourself from transferring infectious bacteria or viruses from one partner to the other. Many sexually transmitted infections, such as HPV, can lead to cervical cancer. Other STIs can also cause cancer, and it is estimated that 16% of all cancers are related to infections – many of which started as STIs.

The most important way you can prevent infection is vaccination. Although not all infections have a vaccine, these immunizations can protect yourself and those around you. For instance, the human papillomavirus (HPV) has been much less common now that there is a vaccine for young women. Similarly, many other vaccines have been in existence for decades to keep infections from arising again, such as measles, which is potentially deadly.

Our infectious disease experts in Kern County are here to help.
Call 661-635-3050 for further information about how we can help you recover and stay healthy.