With the recent acceptance by WHO on the airborne spread of COVID-19, there is a great deal of fear among all, wondering on what the future of this virus could be? However, it is not just coronavirus that we should be worried about as various other diseases can be easily transmitted through different mediums. Demarketing three modes of transmission here are contact, droplet and airborne. Read below to understand the characteristics of each transmission-type and diseases that come under those respective transmission categories.
The most talked-about airborne disease at the current hour is COVID-19. But what is an airborne disease? Those diseases which happen due to the spread by tiny pathogens in the air are categories as airborne diseases. What makes this more dangerous is that it can happen to anyone, anywhere. One of the most effective preventive methods in such cases becomes evident that one needs to maintain social distancing and also stay indoors. Diseases that happen due to airborne transmission have some common traits/symptoms:
- Persistent cough
- Congestion in chest
- Runny nose
- Need to sneeze again and
- Sore throat
- Body ache
- Notable changes in appetite
- Pain and swelling in tonsils
Very similar to airborne are droplet borne diseases too. Hence, one must know that droplet-borne diseases spread due to the respiratory droplets present in the air or surfaces like tabletops, on hands, clothes, etc.
Listed below are some common airborne diseases:
All we talk about these days is COVID-19, a topic which has replaced everything else on meal tables while having a hot cuppa in the evenings or even before sleeping. Known to all, coronavirus refers to a virus that affects the respiratory tract. It begins with a common cold, which, after some time, impairs the ability of the entire respiratory system to function. However, with various incidences, now there are exist various asymptomatic cases. What makes COVID-19 scarier is that in most cases, it is only the underlying or co-morbid conditions that lead to deaths. Also, the recent development of coronavirus being an airborne disease is undoubtedly the start to control the pandemic with a different approach. Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi explains how it is common for people to get confused between fever and coronavirus, “Those who have viral may show symptoms like cold, fever, cough, etc. Medications like paracetamol can control the temperature. But, in COVID-19, the patient doesn’t need to show any of these symptoms while some may display symptoms like sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, etc. The only thing awaited when we talk about COVID-19 is an effective vaccine to see hope in the decline in the virus spread.
The common cold is one of the most common health concerns which happens during seasonal change. It usually stays for a few days, until then its symptoms start to subside. Sometimes it is difficult to even for doctors to find out whether the patient has influenza or common cold or something else. Common cold mostly causes a sore throat, a runny nose. After two to three days, cough starts. Adding trouble to the patient is a headache and a fever, which leads to weakness. The common cold is cured within a few days, and after a week, all symptoms disappear. Some signs of a common cold include:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Sore throat
- Cough and congestion
- Body ache and mild headaches
- Fatigue and generally feeling of being unwell
Very similar to common cold, influenza or flu mainly when the weather changes. Besides, the probability of getting infected from one person to another is quite high. Some recover from the flu in 7-10 day, while some take a longer time to heal. Since many reasons can cause the flu, it is challenging to find out the exact cause. Some signs of influenza include fever, dry cough, sore throat and headache. One should note that these symptoms are very similar to that of the common cold. Hence, before taking any medication, one must consult a doctor for the right diagnosis. Some causes of flu listed below are:
- Children or older adults are at the highest risk of getting flu.
- Flu is most likely to occur in people who have a poor immunity. If a person has diabetes, heart diseases, blood pressure, etc., then they should take special care of their health so that they do not get the flu.
Chickenpox happens due to a virus named the varicella-zoster virus, which leads to acute infection. It mainly affects children under 12 years of age. Nearly all individuals develop lifelong immunity after chickenpox infection. The virus can remain dormant in the body, and many years later can happen again in the form of herpes zoster. It starts with fever and appearance of rashes on the skin that first are nothing but flat scars and later turn into painful blister-like bumps on the skin. These blisters last for three to four days, then dry up and form a scab. It usually takes two to four weeks to get completely cured. Consult the doctor to understand the situation, and follow their advice to get rid of the symptoms with the use of medication
Some basic tips to prevent airborne diseases:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and keep a sanitiser handy
- Maintain cleanliness in your surroundings. Disinfect and clean frequently touched surfaces and also those which are kept outdoors.
- Your immunity matters the most, hence maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to be safe from such diseases.
- Avoid going to crowded places. If out, then always wear a face mask so that transmission can be prevented.
- Maintain social distance, a new thing which was emphasised during these pandemic times, but this remains to be one of the best ways to prevent airborne diseases.
Contact or direct transmission of disease happens when the infectious agent comes in content to a susceptible host. This happens due to skin to skin contact and physical closeness. Those diseases which occur due to contact with soil or vegetation may also come under this category of transmission. This is when we say not to be in close contact with those if anyone is suffering from these below-listed health concerns:
Conjunctivitis is a type of inflammation - transparent mucous membrane (transparent mucous membrane) that covers the white part of the eye. Inflammation and redness in the eye are the causes of conjunctivitis, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Non-infectious causes include allergies, external body infections, and chemicals. It mostly happens when an infected person touches his eye and other objects with the same eye. Viral conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis) can also occur with common viral upper respiratory infections such as measles, flu, or the common cold. This pink eye usually affects both eyes and have symptoms like itching, heavy discharge, watery eyes, and red bumps under the eyelids.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
One of the most common examples of direct contact diseases is STDs. These happen when two people come in close physical contact and get infected with diseases including HIV/AIDS, human papillomavirus infection, herpes, hepatitis, HPV etc. The results of these diseases are terrible, hence should not be taken lightly. For example, due to syphilis, more than two million children worldwide die either in the womb or soon after birth. If these children are saved, then later they become blind and even facial paralysis. Therefore, there is a need to understand the responsible reasons behind the increase such diseases for proper management and care. Hence, it is always said that one should be careful before coming in physical with anyone, to know everything about their health and even keep a check on hygiene too.
Common precautions to take to avoid contact diseases: Do not come in close contact with anyone suffering from direct/indirect contact diseases. Immediately consult a doctor if any such instance of a close connect takes place. Also, keep a check on food storage too diseases transmitted through food can be listed under indirect contact diseases. Hence, ensure that necessary precautions are taken to avoid any discomfort.
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