Infectious disease treatment in Idaho Falls, Idaho

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center meets or exceeds all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for preventing infection in healthcare settings. These stringent guidelines are voluntary, and we are one of the few hospitals in the nation that chooses to adhere to them.

As a result, infection rates at our hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho are less than half of those predicted by the CDC for hospitals our size.

To learn more about infectious disease treatment at Eastern Idaho Regional, please call (208) 529-6111.

Our efforts have a simple logic behind it: in a hospital setting, infectious diseases are largely preventable, because they're caused by various types of microscopic germs, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi, which we're fully equipped to combat.

Our Children’s Services team is ready to treat pediatric infectious diseases.
Specially trained physicians and nurses deliver advanced care to infants, children and adolescents who require hospitalization, including pediatric critical care, if needed.

Flu (influenza)

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses A or B. Flu affects the nose, throat and lungs, and it can lead to complications, like pneumonia or bronchitis. In some cases, flu can be life threatening.

Flu symptoms

  • Fever (though you can have the flu without a fever)
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting (more common in children)
  • Diarrhea (more common in children)

Children under five years old, and especially under two, are at increased risk for flu complications. Flu symptoms in children can be different than an adult’s flu symptoms. Seek emergency care immediately if your child:

  • Has blue or purplish skin color
  • Is so irritable that they don’t want to be held
  • Cries without tears (in infants)
  • Has a fever with a rash
  • Has trouble waking up
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has stomach or chest pain or pressure
  • Has signs of dehydration, such as dizziness or not passing urine
  • Has confusion
  • Can’t stop vomiting or can’t drink enough fluids

Preventing and treating flu

Flu strains constantly change, but annual flu vaccines are updated to fight the most common flu viruses. The CDC suggests that everyone over the age of 6 months old receive a flu shot annually. It is possible to get the flu outside of flu season, which is October through May, however, the virus is more active during the coldest months of the year. 

Most people who get the flu get better with time and rest. Within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms, antiviral drugs can be taken to decrease symptoms and the length of your illness.

People with the flu may be contagious one day before developing flu symptoms and up to seven days after symptoms appear. This time period can be extended for children or people with weakened immune systems. Tips to defend yourself against influenza include:

  • Get the flu shot before the end of October
  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Build your immune system by exercising
  • Practice relaxation techniques, like yoga, so your body can repair itself with limited stress

Ebola virus

The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth) with bodily fluids of an infected person, including blood, stool, urine, vomit, semen, saliva and sweat. It can also be contracted through needles and syringes that have been contaminated with Ebola, and through infected animals. Ebola is not spread through air (like the flu) or by water.

Ebola symptoms

  • Fever (higher than 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

Symptoms of Ebola can appear between two and 21 days after exposure. Ebola symptoms closely mirror the flu, so it is important to notify your healthcare provider if you have been to certain African countries, including Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Senegal.

Treating Ebola

There is not an FDA-approved vaccine or medicine for Ebola. However, early interventions, like maintaining oxygen levels and blood pressure, ensuring adequate hydration through IV fluids, and treating any complications that arise can greatly improve chances for recovery and survival.

The CDC reports that once someone recovers from the Ebola infection, they develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years. Also, they can no longer spread the virus.

Enterovirus

There are over 100 different types of enterovirus, and there are about 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections in the U.S. each year. Many people with enteroviruses have symptoms similar to the common cold or flu, while other people have no symptoms. However, enteroviruses can present serious symptoms that require hospitalization and/or progress to hand-foot-and-mouth disease or viral meningitis.

Enterovirus symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Lethargy
  • Mild fever; sometimes no fever
  • Runny nose, sneezing and/or cough
  • Skin rash
  • Body and muscle aches
  • Mouth blisters

Some enteroviruses, such as enterovirus 68 (EV-D68) typically cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Young children and people with asthma are particularly vulnerable. These respiratory symptoms can progress quickly.

Preventing and treating enterovirus

It is difficult to prevent enteroviruses because many infected people do not have symptoms. However, these tips may help keep your family healthy:

  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, touching and sharing items with people who are infected.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • Stay home when feeling sick, and consult with your doctor if your child is experiencing symptoms.

Infection control

Infection prevention is a high priority at Eastern Idaho Regional. In fact, our aggressive infection control measures earned the hospital the State of Idaho “Qualis Health Award of Excellence in Healthcare” for reducing the spread of MRSA, a virulent strain of antibiotic-resistant staph. We were the only Idaho recipient of that award.

We follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other regulatory agencies’ requirements to make your hospital stay safe. Our staff is continuously updated and trained on new infection prevention practices. We put these in place, evaluate our outcomes and make any necessary adjustments to make Eastern Idaho Regional the safest medical environment possible.

How you can help prevent the spread of infectious disease

You can help prevent and control infections with good hand hygiene. It is important to clean your hands before you eat, after coughing, sneezing and using the bathroom, as well as after they become dirty.

To prevent infection at a surgical site, shower before your surgery following the hospital’s instructions; do not shave the surgical site; control your blood sugar if you are diabetic; and talk to your doctor if you have a history of infection. It is also important to not let other people tough the surgical dressing and to stop smoking before your procedure. Quitting even 2 weeks before your operation decreases your chance of infection.

To prevent infection related to catheters, clean your hands before doing catheter care and do not pull on the tubing. Keep the urine collection bag below the level of the bladder, and ask your doctor each day if the urinary catheter is still necessary.

Learn more

For more information about infectious diseases, visit the CDC website or call the Eastern Idaho Public Health District at (208) 533-3152.

If you have questions or concerns, talk to your nurse or contact the Infection Control Department at (208) 529-7392.