Infectious Diseases: Types, Causes & Treatments

What are infectious diseases?

Infectious diseases are transmitted from one person to another through respiratory droplets, liquid, mucus, semen, saliva, or breast milk. Infectious diseases by the type of pathogen are divided into viral, fungal, bacterial, or parasitic diseases.

Types of infectious diseases

1. Viral Infections diseases

These particles spread easily, through person-to-person contact or touching contaminated surfaces. Virus cells multiply rapidly and cause various diseases, some of which are simple and some of which can be fatal. Treatment of viral infectious diseases involves relieving symptoms until the immune system removes the infection from the body.

Infectious diseases due to viruses include a long list of them:

  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Infections of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Infections of the central nervous system
  • Skin infections

Other viral infectious diseases

Zika virus: a virus that is spread by mosquitoes and causes birth defects.

Middle East syndrome coronavirus: the virus responsible for a fatal respiratory infection.

Ebola: the virus spreads through contact with infected body fluids which can cause an often fatal disease called Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

Human immunodeficiency virus: the virus responsible for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Hepatitis C virus: the virus causes long-term infection of the liver.

2. Fungal infectious diseases

Fungi feed on decaying substances, food, and living organisms.

  • Ringworm infection
  • Skin fungus (such as foot fungus)
  • Aspergillus
  • Valley Fever
  • Histoplasmosis

3. Bacterial infectious diseases

Bacteria live on the skin, in the intestines, and in many other body sites. There are types of transitional pathogens that range from mild to life-threatening and include: 

  • Infections of the upper respiratory tract, mouth, and ear
  • Lung infection (eg: Legionnaire's disease, anthrax, whooping cough)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (such as: chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.)
  • Urological diseases and prostate infections
  • Gastrointestinal infections and food poisoning
  • Skin infections (cellulitis is the most common skin bacterial infectious disease)

4. Parasitic infectious diseases

A parasite is an organism that depends on a living host for its survival, where the parasite derives all the benefits from infection at the expense of the host, and it is these parasites that cause infection with communicable diseases:

  • Malaria
  • Dengue fever
  • Intestinal parasites

How do infectious diseases spread?

The infection of infectious diseases occurs mainly due to the occurrence of the condition, which involves the transmission of the pathogen to a healthy person, and then its entry into the body of a healthy person and attack the tissues and organs of the body. This infection and its transmission occur through contact with the infected person, such as using his own tools, eating contaminated food, inhaling droplets resulting from sneezing or coughing of the infected individual, and others.

People most susceptible to infectious diseases

Patients with impaired immune systems, the elderly (over 65 years of age), newborns, pregnant women, and people taking immunosuppressive drugs, the most famous of which are steroids and chemotherapy drugs, are most at risk of contracting communicable diseases, and they are also more prone to complications of infectious diseases.

Symptoms of infectious diseases

Common symptoms of most infectious diseases include:

  • Fatigue and stress.
  • Fever.
  • Headaches.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Chills.

Diagnosis of infectious diseases

The diagnosis of infectious diseases is based on a number of laboratory and radiological examinations, including:

  • Laboratory examination of blood and urine.
  • Laboratory cultivation to find out the causative agent.
  • Lumbar puncture, through which a sample of spinal fluid located in the spine is taken.
  • X-ray imaging.
  • Computed tomography (CT Scan)and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • A histological biopsy is examined laboratory.

Treatment of infectious diseases

All patients with any of the infectious diseases need adequate rest and plenty of fluid intake (unless otherwise prescribed by the doctor). The doctor may prescribe drug treatments based on the organism causing the infection, in cases of:

  • Bacterial infection, the doctor prescribes antibiotics.
  • Viral infection, the doctor may prescribe some antivirals in some cases.
  • Fungal infection, you need to prescribe antifungals.

The doctor may also prescribe analgesic and antipyretic drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, drugs that relieve nasal congestion and runny nose such as antihistamines, and cough medicines.

Prevention of infectious diseases

Prevention of infection with infectious diseases lies through:

  • Avoid contact with people with various infections.
  • Maintain personal hygiene.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating after using the restroom.
  • Commitment to giving children the vaccines specified by the competent authorities.
  • Avoid eating contaminated food.
  • Follow the safe means of preserving and cooking foods.
  • Cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Give the body time to heal.

The importance of vaccines

Vaccines are essential tools to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that can recognize and fight disease-causing microorganisms.

She helped to eliminate or reduce many infectious diseases, such as smallpox, polio, and measles. Vaccination is a crucial step in protecting yourself and others from infectious diseases.

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