Everyone strives to be healthy, so people are willing to spend thousands of dollars eating organic, trying herbal therapy, and using vitamin supplements. However, despite these lucrative measures, there’s still a chance you may get sick. On average, a person has about 200 colds in a lifetime. Contracting an infection depends on several factors, including your hygiene, nutrition, and immune system strength.
Certain diseases present around us are not only widespread but also highly contagious. By knowing about them, you’ll be in a better position to protect yourself and prevent the pathogen from causing you harm. Here’s a deep dive into some illnesses that you should know about:
- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS is a life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This is the last and most painful phase of the infection cycle. HIV impacts your immune system, taking away its ability to fight the disease. In 2021, over 1.2 million people lived with HIV in the US, with over 30,000 infections annually. So when you contract this virus, your health progressively worsens until it becomes fatal. This pathogen gets transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected person and by sharing needles, whether for drug abuse or administering medication.
An infected mother may also pass the illness to the child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. The first known case of AIDS came to light in 1981, and despite over four decades passing, this condition has no cure. It’s essential to understand the distinction when studying AIDS VS HIV because if you have HIV, it doesn’t necessarily have to turn into AIDS. You may only have symptoms of HIV, which you can control through antiretroviral therapy. But you must catch the illness in its early stages, or else your condition will start to deteriorate. The symptoms of AIDS include sweats, chills, a recurring fever, and spots on your tongue.
By the end of 2019 and 2020, over 180 countries, including China, were impacted by the novel coronavirus called SARS-Cov-2. This outbreak initiated in Wuhan and steadily spread globally, resulting in a pandemic. Since this was a relatively new condition, information about the disease remains updated as multiple strains are coming into. So far, the world has witnessed three waves of Coronavirus with varying levels of severity. However, there is speculation about a pending fourth wave. Symptoms of Corona expressed themselves in the respiratory region. If you have Corona, you may experience a mild to severe respiratory infection coupled with breathlessness, hoarse voice, dry cough, and in some cases, diarrhea.
The elderly with chronic conditions such as diabetes had a greater chance of contracting Corona with severe symptoms. As of right now, there are vaccines available for your safety. These vaccines don’t prevent you from getting the virus; instead of strengthening your immune system to fight off the virus. The CDC-approved vaccines include Johnson’s and Johnson’s Janssen, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna. Adults over the age of 18 can get any of these vaccine shots. While children from five to seventeen are suitable for the Pfizer-BioNTech. Other preventive measures include maintaining social distance, wearing a face mask, and washing hands frequently.
- Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)
Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of your eye’s transparent membrane. This infection can occur due to bacteria, viruses, animal dander, or exposure to any chemical irritant like chlorine. In the US, between three and six million cases of conjunctivitis occur annually. You may feel redness, itching, pain, crusting eyelids, and pus-like discharge once you get this condition. These symptoms can stay for a week or settle down in a few hours. Pink eyes can give you vision problems and may even make it hard to open your eyes, so you must see a doctor right away.
If you have bacterial conjunctivitis, antibiotic drops are sufficient to cure this condition, while viral infection doesn’t require medicine. You may also need to follow specific preventive measures such as washing your hands to prevent the disease from spreading, avoiding touching your eye, and using a clean washcloth or disposable cloth to wipe the crust. You also cannot wear eye makeup or lenses and may need to discard any item you used when you had the infection. Conjunctivitis spreads mainly in the winters since these microbes are airborne. Therefore, if you have the disease, limit meeting people and avoid physical contact like shaking hands until your eye clears up. There are no long-term consequences of pink eye, and within a week or two, you’ll be all good.
- Food Poisoning
About 48 million Americans have food poisoning annually. This occurs when you consume a meal made from contaminated products or one that has become foul because of improper storage. Contamination can occur at any point in production, from growing and harvesting to storing and shipping. Even ready-to-eat meals and snacks like cookie dough can expire within the package. If you keep raw meat without any covering with other products, you also risk the chance of cross-contamination. Many bacteria are involved in causing food poisoning, such as the campylobacter in poultry and meat, which can make you sick within five days.
Other pathogens include Salmonella and E.coli. When you don’t store, cook or clean ingredients adequately and consume semi-cooked meat, you risk getting food poisoning. The symptoms may start mild but gradually become severe with vomiting, diarrhea, cold sweats, and loss of appetite. Generally, the disease goes away, but you should try hydrating yourself by drinking electrolyte-rich beverages like Gatorade or having dry salts. You may also have crackers and fibrous meals to supplement your diet. You should only see a doctor if you have a weak immune system, a weak kidney, persistent diarrhea going over weeks, and if you’re pregnant.
Diseases are all around you. While you can’t stay in a bubble and ultimately make your surrounding germs accessible or save yourself from infection, knowing firsthand what you’re dealing with can help. Learning about various conditions and symptoms can make you vigilant about different illnesses. This lets you put a stop to them before they escalate. These diseases happen and are occurring on a vast scale. So keep yourself safe and healthy with the power of your knowledge. The minute you detect something is wrong, always get help right away.