Common Airborne infections in the US
Airborne infections are infections that are caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses which spread through the air. It is spread when you encounter an infected person –through sneezing or coughing. It left those microbes in dust particles, air, or water droplets. While most of the symptoms are curable and go away on their own. Some need early treatment to manage them. You can also prevent this infection by following the tips mentioned above. Talk to a specialist for infectious diseases if you have any concerns.
There are many types of airborne diseases available in the environment according to the type of organism, degree of exposure, and individual factors. The most common ones are:
- Coronavirus (Covid-19): This is one of the most dangerous and known airborne diseases in the world that has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths globally in 2020. While it is not an airborne disease, in some situations, its virus acts like an airborne pathogen. It also includes spreads through clinics and hospitals where people receive their treatment. It usually spreads through respiratory droplets after a person coughs or sneezes; however, these droplets are larger than an airborne disease. Its common symptoms are fever, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, visit the doctor immediately.
- Common cold: Another most common airborne disease that infects millions of people every year is in the United States. Most adults get colds 2 to 3 times a year, but most children get them easily and frequently. While many viruses can cause colds, rhinovirus is the most common. Over-the-counter medications and plenty of rest can easily relieve the symptoms of the common cold.
- Chickenpox: This disease is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Its most common symptom is a rash that spreads a day or two after the infection. To fully develop the disease, it takes up to 21 days (about 3 weeks) after exposure. Most people only get this disease once in a lifetime, in case the virus reactivates again, you can get a painful skin condition called shingles. It goes away on its own after 1 or 2 weeks.
- Influenza: If you experience flu/influenza, it can spread easily and it is very contagious. You can notice symptoms on the first day and it stays contagious for another week. It spread faster in people who have weak immune systems. Its strains are still being discovered and its symptoms are constantly changing, making it difficult for your body to develop complete immunity against it. It is important to take vaccines to manage its new strains.
- Measles: It is another contagious disease like chicken pox. Most people get this disease once in their lifetime. This virus can stay active in the air or surfaces for up to 2 hours. You can even transmit it to other people 4 days before and after its rashes appear. It is also the leading cause of death among children worldwide. It killed 140,000 children in 2018. Its vaccine has prevented over 23 million deaths from 2000 to 2018. Most people with a weak immune system or those who are not vaccinated get this condition.
- Tuberculosis (TB): TB is also an airborne disease that is caused by a bacterium. Even though it isn’t transmitted that easily until a person makes close contact with the infected person for a long time, you can transmit TB without even developing its symptoms. 1.4 billion people worldwide have TB. Most of them are not sick. 10 million people (about half the population of New York) have symptoms of TB. Old people, children, and people with weak immune systems have the highest risk of developing this disease. Symptoms usually appear several days after exposure. But in some cases, it takes months and years to activate and produce symptoms. When it’s active, it attacks your lungs, and through your bloodstream, it can even spread to your bones and skin. Treatment can help you manage your symptoms.
- Whooping cough (pertussis): This type of cough is persistent and is caused by a respiratory illness that leads to swelling of the airways. It can stay contagious for 2 weeks after the coughing starts. 24.1 million cases of whooping are found every year worldwide with 160,700 deaths. Treatment is necessary to prevent its complications.
Want to know more about airborne infections? At Doral Health and Wellness, we have specialists for Infectious Diseases that can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at https://doralhw.org or contact us at email@example.com if you have any queries.