Certain illnesses are highly contagious and can be contracted just by breathing them in. Known as airborne diseases, these illnesses can spread when an infected person releases droplets from coughing, sneezing, or even speaking. The virus or bacteria is then secreted into the air and lands on individuals or objects.
When these pathogens are inhaled, they take residence inside the body and cause illness. They can also be contracted by touching entry points in the body, including the eyes, mouth, and nose, after you’ve touched a surface with the germs.
Since these illnesses move through the air, they’re notoriously challenging to control. Discover some examples of these infections and tactics for stopping their spread below.
What Are Some Examples?
Perhaps the most noteworthy example of airborne diseases is COVID-19. This disease, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is spread from person-to-person, including those who may not be showing symptoms, through the transmission of respiratory droplets. The main symptoms of the illness include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
In addition to COVID-19, other examples of airborne diseases include:
- The flu
- The common cold
- Whooping cough
How Can You Control the Spread of Airborne Diseases?
While airborne diseases can spread rapidly, there are several things you can do to minimize your risk of contracting an illness and preventing transmission to others if you do get sick.
For COVID-19, the CDC recommends the social distancing advisory of staying six feet apart from other individuals. Due to the rapid spread of the illness as well as its severity, they have also encouraged people to stay home as much as possible.
When it comes to preventing the spread of any airborne illness, commonsense practices can help reduce transmission. For example:
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces often, including tables, doorknobs, keyboards, and phones.
- Wash your hands frequently using warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important before eating, after being in a public place, and before touching your face.
- Stay home if you’re feeling sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick. If you’re sick, stay away from high-risk populations, including seniors, pregnant women, and individuals with compromised immune systems.