Infectious Diseases: Causes, Types & Ways to Prevent Them

Infectious Disease and its Causes in Bangalore

Infectious diseases refer to illnesses caused by pathogens that get inside the body. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi are the most common causes of these diseases. These diseases are highly communicable and spread easily through contaminated water or food and bug bites. While the signs and symptoms of infectious diseases usually vary depending on the pathogen causing the infection, fever, and fatigue is considered a common symptom of these diseases. 

Some other common signs and symptoms of infectious diseases are:

  • Diarrhea

  • Fever

  • Muscle aches

  • Coughing

  • Fatigue

Causes of Infectious Diseases

  • Bacteria

These single-cell organisms are responsible for diseases, such as urinary tract infections, tuberculosis and strep throat.

  • Fungi

Fungi cause several skin diseases, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. They can also affect the nervous system or the lungs.

  • Viruses

Viruses are responsible for a plethora of infectious diseases, ranging from mild to severe, such as common cold and AIDS. 

  • Parasites

Infections caused by parasites, such as malaria, can become life-threatening if they are not treated quickly.

How to Mitigate the Risk of Infectious Diseases?

Although the prevalence of infectious diseases has declined considerably since the turn of the century, they still continue to affect millions across the globe. Moreover, these diseases are augmenting the health and economic burden of many countries, locking people into poverty and breaking resilience of communities. 

According to Dr. Ankita Baidya, Consultant – Infectious Disease, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Dwarka, monkeypox, a viral infection that is currently spreading like a wildfire across the globe, can cause myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle or myocardium), which can result in chest pain, irregular or rapid heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and shortness of breath. 

As infectious diseases can be caused by a wide variety of fungi, viruses, bacteria and parasites, the preventive methods for stopping the transmission of these diseases vary depending on the pathogen. However, there are some strategies that can be adopted in our daily lives to prevent the spread of these diseases, improve community health and reduce the economic burden of healthcare. Book an appointment at our infectious disease hospital in Bangalore for the best treatment.

  • Practicing Good Hygiene

Following good personal hygiene goes a long way towards reducing the chances of infectious diseases. Good personal hygiene includes:

  • Washing hands regularly

As we use our hands for touching objects (which are usually contaminated) and greeting people (handshakes), regular hand washing is considered an integral part of good hygiene. Our doctors recommend hand washing with soap after using the washroom, eating food, gardening, coughing, sneezing and petting animals. 

  • Covering coughs

Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or hands (if tissue is not available) when sneezing or coughing is necessary to prevent the spread of infections.

  • Washing and bandaging all cuts

  • All serious cuts or human and animal bites should always be examined by a doctor.

  • Sharing glasses, dishes and other eating utensils should be avoided to prevent the spread of infections.

  • Direct contact with tissues, napkins and handkerchiefs used by others should always be avoided.

  • Getting Vaccinated

According to the World Health Organization, around 1.5 million children aged below 5 succumb to vaccine-preventable diseases annually. This number can be greatly reduced by launching large-scale immunizations and raising public awareness about the significance of vaccinations across the globe as a large number of people are still hesitant to take jabs even for protection against life-threatening diseases.

For instance, as per Dr. Neha Mishra, Consultant-Infectious Diseases, Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road, there are still a large number of patients in the hospital’s outpatient setting who are hesitant to take the first dose of vaccine for protection against COVID-19. She also insists that vaccinations against COVID-19 should be made mandatory for people. 

                                          

Vaccines leverage the immune system’s memory of previous diseases or infections to generate a rapid response, which is usually in the form of B cells, T cells or antibodies when the pathogen attacks the body again. As per the WHO, vaccines are biological preparations that improve immunity against a particular disease and are one of the most cost-effective methods of disease prevention. Moreover, immunizations can significantly reduce the mortality rate of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, pneumonia, measles, and polio. 

  • Staying at home

Staying at home or home quarantine is one of the most effective strategies for preventing the transmission of infectious diseases. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for staying at home to prevent the transmission of diseases from infected individuals to healthy ones. Additionally, people should always avoid leaving the house or limit the time they spend outdoors, especially if they have a cold or fever. 

  • Practicing food safety

Foodborne illnesses including gastroenteritis (also known as stomach flu and caused due to transmission through contaminated water or food) are mainly caused due to the contamination of food or water by viruses, bacteria, chemicals, toxins and parasites. Thus, prompt refrigeration within 2 hours of food preparation is necessary for preventing contamination. Additionally, the use of separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables is crucial for preventing cross-contamination. Furthermore, our doctors recommend the washing of all fruits and vegetables before consumption. 

  • Safe use of antibiotics

The consumption of antibiotics as per a doctor’s prescription or under the supervision of a doctor helps prevent the transmission of infectious diseases. Moreover, the excessive use of antibiotics can lead to a reduction in their efficacy against common infections, which can, in turn, make otherwise mild infections deadly for the masses.

  • Practicing safe sex

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a form of infectious diseases that spread through sexual intercourse. These infections can be prevented by using condoms and other forms of protection during sexual activities. In addition, limiting the number of sex partners also helps reduce the chances of STIs considerably. Consult with an infectious disease specialist in Bangalore before the infection takes the form of a disease.

  • Mitigating the chances of animal-borne diseases

Zoonotic diseases, such as monkeypox and COVID-19, are more common than a lot of people realize and can cause severe illness and death if not prevented. Thus, to reduce the risk of these diseases, regular vaccinations must be carried out. Moreover, pet animals must be regularly checked for infections and vaccinated. In addition, homes and offices should be kept clean, and areas, where rodents could build nests, must be eliminated. 

  • Reducing the risks of nail fungus

Nail fungus infections are quite common and usually cause thick, fragile, and discolored (white, brown, or yellow) nails. Moreover, these infections are generally accompanied by an athlete’s foot, which is a fungal skin infection that affects the area between the toes. Those most at risk for these infections include people with diabetes, weakened immune systems, nail injuries, or blood circulation problems. These infections can be prevented by:

  • Keeping hands and feet dry and clean

  • Always wear shoes or some kind of footwear in public places like locker rooms

  • Avoiding the use of nail clippers used by others

  • Ensuring that nail clippers and other personal hygiene instruments are not shared and sterilized before use 

  • Preventing insect bites

This is considered the best defense against various ailments, ranging from mild itching to severe complications. Moreover, as the diseases caused due to mosquito bites, such as malaria, west Nile and dengue, can be life-threatening, they must be prevented at all costs. 

  • A good insect repellent must be used regularly to keep ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes away.

  • Pets must be regularly checked for ticks and fleas.

  • The accumulation of water must be avoided as standing water in buckets, old tires, planters, bird baths, wading pools, and sagging or clogged gutters can attract mosquitoes. 

  • Swampy areas must be covered with dirt or water-loving plants or shrubs.

  • Lemon balm, catnip, and rose-scented geraniums should be planted near outdoor seating areas for keeping mosquitoes away. In addition, citronella candles can be used or soybean oil can be rubbed on the skin for keeping mosquitoes away.

  • Avoiding the use of drugs or tattoo needles used by others

Hepatitis B and C are two of the most common infectious diseases and they spread through sexual intercourse or contact with bodily fluids, contaminated blood, or by the sharing of tattoos or drug needles. These diseases can cause liver damage or liver cancer and thus, must be prevented at all costs.

  • Direct contact with infected persons, animals, or surfaces touched by them must be avoided, especially by people who have weakened immune systems. 

  • Hands and surfaces should be frequently washed and cleaned to inhibit the transmission of the virus.

  • Unsafe sex with the infected person must be avoided.

Department of Infectious Disease

Manipal Hospitals

Appointment
Health Check
Home Care
Contact Us
Write to COO
review icon Review Us
Call Us