Preventive measures to take against airborne diseases
With thousands of people getting infected by Coronavirus, many people have become aware of the severity of airborne diseases in humans, especially the seniors. Airborne diseases are the kind of diseases that one can catch during the simple process of breathing.
These diseases are caused when small pathogenic microbes discharge in the air. This can happen when a person who is infected by an airborne disease coughs or sneezes. They can even spread if a person talks in a way that spurts out their nasal or throat secretions into the air. If you breathe in this infected air, the pathogenic organisms enter your body. You can also easily pick up germs by touching an infected surface.
Airborne diseases are very difficult to control as they travel in the air. So it is essential that you learn about some common types of airborne diseases, their symptoms, and the precautionary measures you need to take.
Common airborne diseases
When the pathogens enter the body, they keep on multiplying and eventually results in a disease. These are the most common types of airborne diseases:
Coronavirus or COVID-19 is spreading rampantly in the world today. They are a huge family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from a typical cold to severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
This is the most common type of flu and spreads easily from person to person. It can spread even before one notices the initial symptoms. Individuals with weak immune systems can easily spread it to others in less than a week.
- The common cold
Although there are several viruses that can cause a cold, it’s mostly caused by a rhinovirus. Every year, a million cases of common cold occur in the country; children and the elderly are more susceptible to it.
Mumps is a contagious viral disease that can spread even before the symptoms are observed. They affect the glands located below the ears, resulting in swelling or loss of hearing in extreme cases. Vaccination is extremely important to prevent the disease.
It’s another very contagious disease, particularly in crowded areas. Measles can be caused by contact with an individual infected by measles virus or inhaling particles from their cough or sneezes. Just like mumps, getting vaccinated significantly reduces the chances of getting affected by the disease.
- Whooping cough
This is a contagious respiratory illness that results in swelling of the airways. The persistent cough can generally be treated with antibiotics to prevent further damage to your body.
Airborne diseases are quite common among the elderly, children, and people with weak immune systems. The most common symptoms of airborne diseases are similar to those of common cold or influenza. These include:
- Runny nose
- Swollen glands
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
- Inflammation of nose, throat, sinuses, or lungs
For the elderly concerned whether they are infected from coronavirus disease or not, they need to understand that the symptom can range from mild and can even lead to severe illness or death. Fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the three most common symptoms that may appear within two weeks of getting infected by the virus.
How to prevent spreading an airborne disease?
Even though it is very difficult for any individual to completely avoid airborne pathogens, there are always a few things that you can do to reduce your chances of getting infected by an airborne disease.
- Strictly avoid close contact with anybody who shows symptoms of an airborne disease.
- It is best if you stay indoors when you’re sick and don’t allow vulnerable people to come near you.
- Don’t touch your face or other people with unwashed hands. Use sanitizer as much as possible.
- If you’re around other people, wear a face mask so that you don’t breathe in germs or spread them.
- Remember to cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing. You can cough over a tissue or your elbow and avoid transmitting germs on your hands.
- Thoroughly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing.
Getting vaccinated is also a great way of lowering your chances of contracting airborne diseases. Vaccines are available for the following airborne diseases chickenpox, diphtheria, influenza, measles, mumps, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.
Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent Coronavirus or COVID-19. The only way to prevent illness right now is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The preventive measures for coronavirus are pretty much the same as other airborne diseases; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) don’t recommend non-infected people wearing a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19. Facemasks should instead be worn by people who are experiencing the symptoms of coronavirus disease.
It is crucial that people experiencing any kind of symptoms of airborne diseases visit the doctor if they don’t feel better in a few days. Even though airborne diseases are quite common, it won’t result in serious complications if you identify it at an early stage and take appropriate measures.