Conditions and Treatments

Receiving the news that you have been diagnosed with an infectious disease can be scary and stressful for you and your loved ones. You’ll want to learn more about the condition, treatments and any changes to your lifestyle.

Some infections are much more serious than others. The flu and other infections, such as West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, can make you very sick and require hospitalization. These serious infections are why people choose the division of Infectious Diseases at Henry Ford.

When should I see an infectious diseases specialist?

Many common infections can be treated by your primary care physician. However, some treatments may require you to see a specialist.

Your doctor might refer you to an specialist if:

  • An infection is difficult to diagnose.
  • An infection is accompanied by an unusually high fever.
  • A patient does not respond to traditional treatment.
  • A healthy person plans to travel to a foreign country or a location where risk of infection is higher.
  • Treating an illness becomes part of a patient's overall care. For example, a patient with HIV/AIDS.

Is my infection caused by a virus or bacteria?

Common ailments like a cold, bronchitis and sore throat are caused by a virus. Infections caused by bacteria include strep throat, tuberculosis and a urinary tract infection.

When do I need antibiotics for an infection?

Antibiotics are effective for killing a bacterial infection and making your feel better. They do not help infections caused by a virus. Rest and over-the-counter medicine can help relieve your symptoms until the illness runs its course. The overuse of antibiotics over the years has created germs that are resistant to treatment with different types of antibiotic medicine. As a result, it can make infections stronger and harder to treat or result in harmful side effects.

Treating infectious diseases

Through ongoing research, we are always developing new advances in treating serious viruses. Knowing what type of germ is causing your illness makes it easier for your doctor to choose appropriate treatment. Check with your physician as each disease has a specific treatment plan.

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Please call 911 if you have an emergency or urgent medical question.

If you are having symptoms of COVID-19, for your safety, please select a MyChart video visit on demand or call your primary care provider. For symptoms of COVID-19, please visit our website www.henryford.com/coronavirus.

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