When bacteria, viruses and other organisms enter our bodies, we can develop an infection and get sick. Infectious diseases can enter our bodies through touching, the food we eat and water we drink, breathing, bites from animals and insects and other methods. Infections can affect the entire body or a part of the body, and symptoms range from mild to fatal.
Infectious diseases can lead to chronic diseases including some types of cancer, HIV, Lyme disease, tuberculosis and arthritis. Patients with certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease, can be more vulnerable to serious illness from infections.
Vaccines prevent many infectious diseases, including the flu, chickenpox, hepatitis, measles, mumps, polio and whooping cough. The following good practices can help you avoid getting an infectious disease:
- Washing your hands often
- Covering coughs sneezes
- Staying home when you are sick
- Cleaning and disinfect bathroom and kitchen surfaces
- Not sharing personal items such as toothbrushes and razors
- Handling and preparing food safely
- Avoiding touching wild animals and keeping your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date
Even if we take precautions, we can still get sick from new, renewed or established diseases. The growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics presents a special challenge in caring for patients with infectious diseases.
Mercy Health’s infectious disease specialists diagnose difficult infections and plan treatment for patients with infectious diseases.
Sexually-transmitted diseases, including syphilis
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