Infectious diseases are causes by organisms like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi. Many organisms tend to live inside and outside our body. Usually these organisms are harmless and can even be helpful but sometimes certain organisms may also result in a disease.
Infectious diseases can sometimes be passed from one person to another. However, sometimes they may even be transmitted by insect or animal bites that are infected with the organism. Other infectious diseases can be contracted via the intake or contaminated water or food or other environmental mediums, such as the air.
Signs and symptoms of infectious diseases vary, but usually include fever and chills. Mild cases may be treated with home remedies; however, severe conditions may require immediate hospitalization.
There are many infectious diseases like chickenpox and measles that can be prevented with vaccines. You must also include a proper hand washing regime into your daily routine to ward of infectious diseases.
Signs and symptoms
Every infectious disease has its own set of signs and symptoms. Generally, signs and symptoms of many well-known infectious diseases include the following:
- Fever and chills
- Fatigue or weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
When to seek medical attention
See your doctor if you:
- Are having difficulty breathing
- Get bitten by an animal
- Are coughing for more than a week
- Have a severe headache along with fever or fever with seizures
- Have unexplained fever
- Have a rash or swelling
Infectious diseases are caused by:
- Bacteria. This are single-celled organisms that typically cause illnesses like strep throat, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, cholera and diarrhea
- Viruses. Viruses are smaller than bacteria but can cause many diseases from common cold to HIV/AIDS
- Fungi. Skin infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot occur from fungi. Sometimes certain fungi may also affect the nervous system or the lungs
- Parasites. Parasites can cause diseases like malaria which is transmitted via an infected mosquito bite. In other cases, parasites can be transmitted from animal feces to humans
Ideally you must be able to determine what type of organism is causing the infectious disease you are suffering from with a doctor’s diagnosis to find out what treatment method is appropriate.
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics are taken to combat bacteria that are grouped into types such as E. coli or streptococcus. Certain types of bacteria are vulnerable to certain classes of antibiotics. Therefore, treatment can be sought more precisely if the type of bacteria that has infected you is identified by your doctor. It is important to note that antibiotics are ineffective in treating infectious diseases caused by viruses. However, sometimes it is difficult to find out what organism is causing the illness, such as in the case of pneumonia, in which some types are caused by viruses while others occur from bacterial infections. Overuse of antibiotics can result in antibiotic resistance, making treatment more difficulty, therefore, always follow your doctor’s instructions and never overuse or underuse a drug
- Antivirals. There are certain drugs that can treat certain diseases caused by viruses such as herpes, hepatitis B and C and influenza. However, not all viral infections can be treated.
- Anitfungals. These treat fungal infections that as those involving the mucous membranes of the mouth or throat or the lungs.
- Anti-parasitics. Parasites cause diseases such as malaria. While there are drugs that treat parasitic infections, many parasites develop resistance. Therefore, the best idea is to prevent infections by modifying your lifestyle and environment.