Here’s all you need to know about an infectious disease doctor, what they do, their salary, and the potential of gaining a job in the field. Much more, you can find a professional if you’re looking for an infectious disease doctor near you. It could be in Houston, California, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, etc.
Who Is an Infectious Disease Doctor?
An infectious disease doctor or physician is a medical practitioner that specializes in different infections that cause diseases to humans. This doctor may also be referred to as infectious disease (ID) physician. On the other hand, ID physicians can be compared to microbiologists who focus on diagnosing and managing infections. However, the ID doctor specializes in infections more clinically.
Training to Become an Infectious Disease Doctor
So, how long does it take to become an infectious disease doctor? According to the American College of Physicians, for an individual to become an infectious disease doctor, they may have undergone training in infectious disease medicine for two years. The training comes after the individual must have completed the basic internal medicine residency that takes three years.
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And after the completion of the infectious diseases fellowship, board certification is offered and this is through the American Board of Internal Medicine. Other training and qualifications required to become an ID physician are:
- Specialty Training
Now if you’re wondering, how many infectious disease doctors are there in the US? There are “8,300 ABIM-certified and 1,553 pediatric board-certified ID specialists.” In 2015, it was noted that the number of doctors in this field is declining.
What Infectious Diseases are Treated?
The infectious disease doctor treats the following diseases:
- High fever
- Hepatitis B and C
- Hard to diagnosis infections
- Diseases resistant to antibiotics
What Does an Infectious Doctor Do?
An infectious disease doctor reviews the medical records of a patient as well as their Xrays and reports sent from the laboratory. A physical examination of the patient may be carried out to gain a good understanding of what’s wrong. Furthermore, blood studies, as well as that of body fluids, are needful in the process. These studies may take it one step further to explain the studies of the general internist.
What an Infectious Disease Doctor Requires
When you visit an ID specialist, he/she may do the following:
An infectious disease doctor will first determine the nature of the infection and how severe it may be. As such, the physician will examine the symptoms of the condition, how long it has occurred, and the severity. Your medical history will also be reviewed as well as social history.
An examination is the next course of action after your medical history has been reviewed. Accordingly, your body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, etc. will be checked. The doctor will also examine if you have lymph nodes or rashes. They may also take a look at the abdomen, chest, genitals, etc. to check for abnormalities.
Tests Carried Out by an Infectious Doctor
Several tests can be carried out to determine the well being of a person. Some of these tests include:
- CT scans
- Blood tests
When Do You Need to See an Infectious Disease Doctor?
Depending on the severity of the infectious disease, a person may need to see a doctor. This means that not all infectious diseases need a specialist before they can be attended to. As such, more common infections may be treated by a general internist, whereas a specialist such as an infectious disease doctor will cater to adverse ones.
In line with that, cases such as heightened fever, concerns about serious infection, or problems encountered during treatment may require the expertise of an infectious disease specialist. And these specialists will be in the right position to determine the treatment required for the infection.
Infectious Disease Doctor Salary
The infectious disease doctor salary in Canada, the UK, the US, India, as with other locations vary. So, if you’re wondering, how much money does an infectious disease doctor make? here’s what it looks like:
In the U.S.
It is believed that ID physicians are the lowest earners when it comes to physician specialties. As of 2018, the average earning per year was $231,000. And as of February 2020, the Infectious disease doctor’s salary is around the range of $192,136 and $257,853.
In the U.K.
The infectious disease doctor’s salary in the UK is around £39,793 per year.
The infectious disease doctor salary in India is around $92,733 per year
What are Infectious Diseases?
Infectious diseases, on the other hand, are ailments that can be transmitted from one human to the other. It is under internal medicine, hence, a doctor in this space can also be referred to as an internal medicine specialist. Also, it may be noted that physicians, general internists, etc may sometimes be the ones treating these infections. However, internists that have specialized in this field are often sourced to assist in managing complicated infections.
The infections in humans, in this case, are caused by viruses. bacteria, parasites, and fungi. For this reason, it is needful to understand how each of these microorganisms occurs in the human. Good knowledge is also needed in the area of antimicrobial agents, antibiotic resistance, vaccines, etc.
What Causes Infectious Diseases?
Here’s a more detailed outline of the causes of infectious diseases. They include:
- Viruses: They attack human cells and multiply themselves within healthy cells
- Fungi: There are different types of disease-causing fungi
- Parasites: They live off the host thereby harming them
- Bacteria: These are able to cause diseases in humans
How Infectious Diseases are Contracted
There are different ways a healthy person can contract infectious diseases. First off, if they come in direct contact with an infected person (such as sexual contact, kisses,) or touch an object touched by the infected, the disease can be transmitted. Likewise, if the person comes in contact with the saliva or blood of the infected, it can be transmitted.
In line with that, the disease can be transmitted from animals to humans. And in some cases, they can be transmitted from a mother to their unborn child. Here, germs from the mother may move to the placenta, and then to the child, thereby causing an infection. If the child has already been born, it can be passed through the breastmilk.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that certain diseases are airborne while others can only be transmitted through contact. The former is easier to transmit given that they move through the air and can be inhaled by a large group of people at a time. Some types of airborne diseases are tuberculosis, rubella virus, and coronavirus.
Coronavirus is transmitted when the droplets from a sick person enter the mouth or nose of another person. It is also possible for these droplets to stay in the air for sometime before being inhaled into the lungs of the healthy.
Symptoms of Infectious Diseases
There is a wide range of symptoms of infectious diseases. One or more of these symptoms may occur in an individual that has been infected and they include:
- Muscle aches
- Bloody diarrhea
It is always advisable that you see a doctor if you experience one or more of these symptoms.
Examples of Infectious Diseases
An example of an infectious disease is the coronavirus (CONVID-19). Currently, doctors around the world are trying to battle with this epidemic which has taken the lives of over 46,000 people as of April 1, 2020.
Coronavirus Infectious Disease Doctor
An infectious disease doctor can also treat coronavirus. Even though there is no cure, as of April 1, 2020, for the disease, certain treatments can help to fight the infection. Coronavirus, on the other hand, is an airborne disease that originated from Wuhan, a city in China. The virus has become a global pandemic, threatening almost every country around the globe.
Regions like the U.S., Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Iran, the UK, Switzerland, and Sweden have the highest number of reported cases in the world. Other countries coming top on the list are Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, and South Korea. Also, there are fears that the virus may continue until the fall of 2020.
And like certain infectious diseases, the coronavirus is contracted when a person comes in close contact with another person. The movement of droplets of coughs or sneezings from the infected into the nose or mouth of another can make them infected. Also, this virus through the air can enter the body.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert in the U.S. stated on May 31, 2020, that social distancing is helping to curb the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. On the downside, Fauci remarked that there could potentially be a second phase of the virus later in fall this year.
Those at the Highest Risk of Contracting an Infectious Disease
First off, it is worth noting that anyone is vulnerable to contracting an infectious disease. However, a person with a weak or compromised immune system is even at a greater risk of contracting these infections. Accordingly, the list of people that could be at a higher risk include:
- Healthcare workers exposed to infected people.
- People whose immune systems have been suppressed. For example, those on cancer treatment or who have undergone an organ transplant recently.
- People who have not been vaccinated to protect them against common diseases
- People who migrate to areas populated with mosquitoes which could cause malaria
Are Infectious Diseases Common?
Yes, infectious diseases are common around the world. In line with that, some infections are even more common than others. It has been estimated that 1 out of 5 Americans are affected by influenza yearly.
Treatment for Infectious Diseases
An infectious disease specialist may carry out several procedures to treat these diseases. Also, the type of treatment that is used depends on the microorganism causing the problem. To that effect, some treatment for infectious diseases include:
Antibiotics can be used to treat infections caused by bacteria. There are different types of bacteria and the same goes for antibiotics. Accordingly, your doctor will determine the type of bacteria causing the infection before offering a solution to it. That aside, certain microorganisms can cause the same infection, thereby making it challenging to ascertain the proper medication. An instance is the case of pneumonia which can be caused by a parasite, bacteria, virus, etc.
While antibiotics can kill bacterial infections, its abuse can lead to problems. For starters, bacteria in a person’s body may become resistant, and as such, they are unaffected by the drug. When that happens, it could make such bacterial infections difficult to treat.
Antiviral drugs are useful in treating certain viruses. Some diseases that are treated using antivirals are:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
Fungi cause skin infection as well as nail infection. Therefore, these diseases can be treated using antifungal. Oral antifungal is an example which can be used for the treatment of infections that attack the mucous membranes, or the human lungs.
Parasites can cause diseases such as malaria. In that case, anti-parasitics can be used to treat them.
Over and above the use of medications to fight infections, certain substances can also be used. Some of these are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Needless to say, it is important to seek medical help first before consuming each of these products. It is possible that you may be allergic to some of these or they may affect the medication you’re taking at the moment.
Complications Caused by Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases may lead to certain complications. They may include skin rash, tiredness, wheezing, etc. The latter are mild complications while the adverse ones include cancer.
How to Prepare to See an Infectious Doctor
If you’ve been directed by your primary care doctor to see an infectious disease doctor, then it may be useful to prepare ahead of your appointment. In this case, you can proceed to write down the symptoms you’re experiencing in a detailed manner. If there were any medical problems you encountered, it can also be stated. In the same vein, you can also outline if any of your family members had a medical problem.
What’s more, carefully note down questions such as the supplements or medications that you need to take. And also other questions can be written down to ensure you don’t skip out on important details when you meet your doctor.
An infectious disease doctor has been specially trained to handle diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms. Their pay differs depending on their location. The spread of these diseases, on the other hand, can be curbed by adopting preventive measures.