Infectious Diseases: Treatment & Prevention
Infectious diseases are illnesses caused by microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. They can be spread to people from other people, animals, contaminated surfaces or insects. Infectious diseases can also be spread if you consume or are exposed to an infectious organism.
UPMC Susquehanna provides treatment for the following infectious diseases:
Examples of infectious diseases include:
- Bacterial: Bacterial pneumonia, E. coli gastroenteritis, Lyme disease and tetanus
- Viral: Influenza, HIV and measles
- Fungal: Candidiasis, aspergillosis and histoplasmosis
- Parasitic: Malaria, toxoplasmosis, tapeworm and giardiasis
- Bone and joint infections
- Central nervous system infections
- Fever of undetermined origin
- Foodborne illness
- Foot infections
- Gram-negative bacterial infections
- Nosocomial infections
- Sepsis and septic shock
- Travel medicine
- Tropical medicine
- Urinary tract infections
If you’d like to learn more about treatment for infectious diseases, Find Provider at UPMC Susquehanna.
Infectious Disease Treatment
Treatment of an infectious disease depends on the cause.
- Bacterial diseases: Most bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. These medications kill bacterial or stop them from reproducing. Antibiotics may be given orally (pill, capsule or liquid) or by injection, intravenous (IV) line, creams or drops.
- Viral diseases: There are treatments for a few viral infections, such as influenza, hepatitis C, and herpes zoster (shingles), but for most viruses, treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms.
- Fungal diseases: Fungal infections are treated with medications called anti-fungals. They can be topical (creams) to treat infections such as athlete’s foot or vaginal candidiasis, or systemic, meaning they are taken by mouth or through an intravenous line.
- Parasitic diseases: Anti-parasite medications can treat some types of parasitic diseases, but not all.
Your doctor may recommend treatment based on the symptoms caused by the disease, such as fever, pain, dehydration or difficulty breathing.
Considering Your Treatment Options at UPMC Susquehanna
Not all infectious diseases need to be treated. For example, your doctor may suggest you wait before starting antibiotics for certain types of bacterial infections. Other types of infectious diseases may have not treatment, such as viral pneumonia or the mumps. Those diseases usually resolve on their own. Other viral diseases, like HIV, cannot be cured, but treatment can help keep the virus from progressing. Antibiotic medications do not work on any infections that are not bacterial.
Preventing Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases are contracted a number of different ways. Preventing infectious diseases focuses on hygiene and making it difficult for the organism to spread.
Prevention methods include:
- Frequent and thorough hand washing after coming in contact with someone who is ill, animals or animal droppings
- Keeping your hands away from your mouth and nose
- Maintain a hygienic, sanitary household with special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Avoiding people who are coughing or sneezing, and if you must cough or sneeze, doing so in your elbow to limit the spread of any infections
- Being up-to-date on vaccinations, to reduce the risk of viral infections
- Keeping all open wounds clean and covered
- Avoiding insect bites by covering up and using insect repellent
- Drinking or eating food only from trusted sources
UPMC Susquehanna is dedicated to treating infectious diseases in Williamsport, Wellsboro, and the surrounding areas of PA.