Last updated on January 21st, 2023 at 08:15 pm
Certain illnesses are highly contagious and can be contracted just by breathing them in. Known as airborne diseases, these illnesses can spread when an infected person releases droplets from coughing, sneezing, or even speaking. The virus or bacteria is then secreted into the air and lands on individuals or objects.
When these pathogens are inhaled, they take residence inside the body and cause illness. They can also be contracted by touching entry points in the body, including the eyes, mouth, and nose, after you’ve touched a surface with the germs.
Since these illnesses move through the air, they’re notoriously challenging to control. Discover some examples of these infections and tactics for stopping their spread below.
What Are Some Examples of Airborne Diseases?
Quick Jump Table
Perhaps the most noteworthy example of airborne diseases is COVID-19. This disease, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is spread from person-to-person, including those who may not be showing symptoms, through the transmission of respiratory droplets. The main symptoms of the illness include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
In addition to COVID-19, other examples of airborne diseases include:
- The flu
- We all face a cough or cold (flu), at least once in our lives. This flu starts affecting us even before there are any visible symptoms. It spreads throughout the body and weakens the immune system. As there are multiple forms of flu, and they can evolve, it becomes difficult to identify them and provide vaccinations for such diseases.
- The common cold
- It is the most common type of airborne disease. Everyone is susceptible to catch cold many times in their life.
- Chickenpox spreads through the Varicella-Zoster virus. The symptoms appear after 21 days with rashes, such viral infection mostly happens only once to everyone in a lifetime. Due to certain reactions, it may develop again in the form of shingles. These are very painful. It can also cause chickenpox to someone, who has never had chickenpox.
- Another highly communicable disease whose virus keeps suspending in the air or sits on contaminated surfaces for hours is measles. It can infect a healthy person before or after four days of the occurrence of rashes.
- The mumps virus spreads through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat. Mumps transmission can occur before or after the salivary glands swell.
- Whooping cough
- Also known as Pertussis, whooping cough enlarges the air ducts and transforms into a deadly cough. It is highly infective in the first couple of weeks of cough.
- It is a kind of disease that spreads through bacteria. It is a communicable disease. It is seen that one can get infected with TB without feeling sick or spreading it to others.
- It attacks the esophagus and the lungs. Also, it can cause harm to the nervous system, kidneys, and, heart. It is also known to spread majorly in kids and cause death. Due to the invention of the vaccine, it has become a rare disease.
- There has been a rapid growth in the spread of novel coronavirus. After the first case appeared in China in 2019, it soon became a pandemic affecting the entire world. It is also a kind of evolving airborne disease that mutates with time. Even scientists are still trying to understand its behaviour. Every day there seems to be new information regarding its symptoms. The common symptoms are dry cough, high body temperature, fatigue, and difficulty in breathing.
What are the Common Symptoms of Airborne Diseases?
Many airborne diseases have the same symptoms as flu or the common cold. Symptoms for airborne disease include:
- Running nose
- Chest congestion
- Body aches
- Loss of strength
- Stuffy throat
- High body temperature
How Can You Control the Spread of Airborne Diseases?
While airborne diseases can spread rapidly, there are several things you can do to minimize your risk of contracting an illness and preventing transmission to others if you do get sick.
For COVID-19, the CDC recommends the social distancing advisory of staying six feet apart from other individuals. Due to the rapid spread of the illness as well as its severity, they have also encouraged people to stay home as much as possible.
When it comes to preventing the spread of any airborne illness, commonsense practices can help reduce transmission. For example:
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces often, including tables, doorknobs, keyboards, and phones.
- Wash your hands frequently using warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important before eating, after being in a public place, and before touching your face.
- Stay home if you’re feeling sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick. If you’re sick, stay away from high-risk populations, including seniors, pregnant women, and individuals with compromised immune systems.
What are the treatment for Airborne Diseases?
Treatment of airborne diseases varies with the type. Some common treatment methods include:
- Symptom Management: Through regular medication, the spread of airborne disease is controlled somehow. Common cold medicines are mostly used to treat these diseases.
- Rest: Long and proper rest effectively helps to recover from these airborne diseases.
- Hospitalization: In certain scenarios when the disease becomes life-threatening, proper hospitalization is the only option. This happens mostly in the case of COVID–19 or Pertussis.
As airborne diseases spread quickly, it is very difficult to control them. Only through correct precautionary measures or vaccination, the rate of its progression can be slowed down.
How the Airborne diseases spread?
Airborne infections are spread when bacteria or viruses travel on dust particles or small respiratory droplets that are aerosolized when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Healthy people can inhale the infectious droplets or the droplets can get into their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Is Ebola an Airborne Disease?
No, the virus that causes Ebola is not spread through the air. The Ebola virus is not spread by small droplets that linger in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes, as it is with a cold or the flu.
Is Airborne Viruses Enter the Ears?
It is possible through the eyes, but probably not through the ears. As with the nose and mouth, doctors say that the eyes can be a route of infection if someone with the virus coughs or sneezes nearby.
Are Antibiotics are Effective For Airborne Diseases?
Antibiotics are useless against viral infections. This is due to the fact that viruses are so basic that they rely on their host cells to carry out their functions. Therefore, antiviral drugs work differently from antibiotics, by interfering with viral enzymes.
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