There are situations when you might need to see an infectious disease specialist, even though your primary care physician can usually treat most infections. The possibility raises some crucial issues. What does this particular type of expert do? When would you require their services? How are they educated? If you’ve been referred to one, what do you need to know?
When would I require their services?
If you have any of the following, your primary care physician might recommend that you see an infectious disease specialist, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the largest professional society of infectious disease specialists:
- A difficult-to-diagnose infection or one that is resistant to standard medicine
- Making preparations to visit a foreign country with a high risk of infection
- A persistent infectious condition like HIV/AIDS
How is an expert in infectious diseases trained?
According to the IDSA, infectious disease specialists complete four years of medical school, three years of internal medicine training, and two to three years of further specialized training. They further stress that completing a “tough certification examination” in both internal medicine and infectious diseases is a requirement for board accreditation.
What does a specialist in infectious diseases do?
According to the IDSA, experts in infectious diseases examine medical records, lab results, and other information. They might conduct a physical examination and request additional laboratory investigations, such as blood work, cultures from wounds, or body fluid samples.
To assist cure your illness, they might also recommend medications, typically antibiotics. Antibiotics can be administered intravenously (IV) into the veins or orally as a tablet or liquid medication. Numerous infectious disease experts offer in-office IV antibiotic administration. If you are seeing an infectious disease specialist before traveling to a foreign country, vaccinations may also be a part of your care.
Your primary care physician and an infectious disease specialist collaborate to create the best possible treatment strategy for you.