New Jersey Infectious Disease Clinics
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Frequently Asked Questions


Who is the ID CARE Patient?

ID specialists diagnose and treat conditions resulting from all types of infections, including those caused by germs such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These microscopic organisms penetrate the body's natural barriers and multiply, creating symptoms ranging from sore throat and fever (as in the case of strep throat) to more serious and even deadly problems (such as AIDS or meningitis).

ID specialists also see patients to determine whether the symptoms are due to an infection or not. Most commonly, the patient has a fever.

Some ID specialists serve as primary care physicians, treating most illnesses and coordinating their patients' overall care.

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When to contact ID CARE?

Not all infectious diseases require you to see an ID specialist. Many common infections can be treated by your personal physician. Your doctor might refer you to an ID specialist in cases where an infection is difficult to diagnose, is accompanied by a high fever or does not respond to treatment. The specialized training and diagnostic tools of an ID specialist can help determine the cause of your infection and the best approach to treatment.

ID specialists also see healthy people who plan to travel to foreign countries or locations where infection risk is higher. In these cases, ID specialists can help determine whether special immunizations or other preventive measures are necessary to help protect travelers from disease.

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Types of tests?

Infectious diseases specialists are like medical detectives. They examine difficult cases, looking for clues to identify the culprit and solve the problem. If you are in the hospital or ICU with a severe illness, you may be too ill to be aware of your ID specialist’s visits, constant attention and care. Much of their work is done behind the scenes. ID specialists make a diagnosis and coordinate a plan to treat your disease. They will review your medical data, including X-rays and laboratory reports such as blood work and culture data. They also may perform a physical exam to help determine the cause of the problem.

ID specialists often order laboratory tests to examine samples of blood or other body fluids or cultures from wounds. A blood serum analysis can help the ID specialist detect antibodies that indicate what type of infection you have. Often these advanced studies can further explain the results of earlier tests, helping to pinpoint the problem.

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Risk reduction?

One of the best strategies for preventing infectious diseases is immunization. Make sure you and your children receive all recommended vaccinations. Ask your doctor for advice about other things you and your family can do to prevent infectious diseases.

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Treatments?

Treatments consist of medicines—usually antibiotics—to help battle the infection and prevent it from returning. These medicines may be given to you orally (in the form of pills or liquids) or administered directly into your veins, via an IV tube. Some ID specialists have IV antibiotic therapy available in their offices, which decreases the likelihood that the patient will need to be hospitalized. ID specialists do not perform surgical procedures.

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Required Information?

Be sure to give your ID specialist all medical records related to your condition, including X-rays, laboratory reports and immunization records. Often your personal physician will forward this information to the specialist before your scheduled appointment. You should also provide the ID specialist with a complete list of all medications you are taking and any allergies you have. This list should include over-the-counter (nonprescription) medications as well. Also, be sure to tell the ID specialist if you are taking birth control pills; since some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

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