Infection is a term used to describe the invasion of microorganisms causing diseases in the human body. When microorganisms enter the person’s body, their multiplication and the reaction of host tissues to these pathogens and their toxins will determine the severity of the harm they cause.
Most of the time, the body’s immune system fights these pathogens when they invade the body, and diseases result when infectious agents overpower the immune system. These diseases are commonly known as Infectious diseases transmissible diseases or communicable diseases.
Infectious diseases usually spread from person to person, through contaminawaterfood, water,r or soil, and through bug bites. Some infectious diseases are minor while some are very serious.
CAUSES OF INFECTION
Pathogens that cause infectious diseases are:
Bacteria are microscopic single-celled organisms that thrive in diverse environments all over the planet. They can be found in the soil, the water, and inside the human body.
Bacteria can enter the body through any opening, natural or unnatural. They are responsible for illnesses such as urinary tract infections, tuberculosis, and strep throat.
Viruses are smaller than bacteria. Viral infections are common as they range from influenza to herpes and can be easily spread. Unlike bacteria, viruses need cells to keep them alive, allowing them to reproduce and spread, that is they enter healthy cells and attack them to grow and multiply.
Many skin diseases such as ringworm, and athlete’s foot, are caused by fungi. The lungs and the nervous system of the human body can also be infected by fungi. Inhaling fungal spores is one of the most common ways to develop an internal fungal infection.
These are tiny organisms, parasitic infections are spread by either bugs or smaller microorganisms, for example, malaria is spread by mosquitoes. Other parasites may be transmitted to humans from animal feces.
EXAMPLES OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs)
- Food Poisoning
- Respiratory Tract Infection
- Skin and Ear Infection
- Common cold
- COVID 19
- Vaginal candidiasis
MODE OF TRANSMISSION
This refers to how pathogens and infectious agents are being transferred from one person, object, or animal to another. There are three main ways, namely
- DROPLET TRANSMISSION: Droplets produced by an infected person while coughing or sneezing can contact the mucous membrane, that is, the eye, nose, and mouth of people within a one-meter radius.
- AIRBORNE TRANSMISSION: Aerosols containing particles produced by an infected person coughing, sneezing, talking,g or breathing or through procedures ( suction, nebulizer use) can remain suspended in the air for long periods and can be dispersed in air currents. Microorganisms can be transmitted when susceptible people inhale contaminated air.
- VECTOR TRANSMISSION: This is a mode of transmission in which microorganisms or pathogens are introduced by another organism, such as an arthropod ( mosquito, flea, or tick ) or rodent.
- CONTACT TRANSMISSION: This is a common mode of transmission, mostly through touch or contact with blood or body substances or objects. There are two types of contact transmission, these are
- Direct transmission- this is a transfer from one person to another, eg. from a patient to a health worker via contact with blood, secretions or excretions, and unprotected cuts on the skin.
- Indirect transmission- This can otherwise be called vehicle transmission, This train transmission occurs through a contaminated intermediate object ( fomite) or pe. g. e.g. via needles, equipment, contaminated surfaces,e or objects, or hands after inadequate hand hygiene).
These are control measures necessary to reduce the risk of transmitting infectious agents from both recognized and unrecognized sources of infection. The safe and approved method is by applying the Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs) which consists of ten elements, namely;
- Patient with cement/assessment of infection risk
- Hand hygiene
- Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
- Personal protective equipment
- Safe management of the care environment
- Safe management of care equipment
- Safe management of healthcare linen
- Safe management of blood and body fluids
- Safe disposal of waste (including sharps)
- Occupational safety/managing prevention of exposure (including sharps)
Domestically, there are also ways of handling and preventing infection, which are :
- Proper hand hygiene
- Handle and prepare food safely
- Regular environmental sanitation
- Avoid crowdy places
- Drink clean water
- Personal Hygiene
- Practice safe sex
- Get vaccinated
- Don’t share personal items
- Avoid touching wild animals
- Sleep under a treated mosquito net
- Proper waste disposal
- Prophylaxis of exposed individuals
- Quarantine of contacts
- Control of vectors
- Safe injection practice
WAYS IN HANDLING INFECTIOUS DISEASES
Should one contract infectious diseases, measures should be taken to prevent it from escalating.
- Proper laboratory tests should be carried out to ascertain the disease condition
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as antibiotics can be administered
- Tepid sponge or take prescribed antipyretic drugs to reduce fever
- Eat healthy such as fruits and vegetables
- Stay hydrated
- Take enough rest
- In critical conditions, the individual should seek medical aid
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
This varies from person to person and also varies based on the communicable disease. In as much as there are clinical manifestations, there are some infectious diseases that are asymptomatic, the individual shows no sign until it gets critical. Therefore below are some of the signs and symptoms of these transmissible diseases
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches
- Weight loss
- Nausea or vomiting
Depending on the type of microbe and the host’s immunological response, infections can range from mild, self-limiting disorders to severe, life-threatening diseases. Fever, discomfort, redness, swelling, exhaustion, and loss of function in the infected organs or tissues are typical signs and symptoms of infection. One method for preventing and treating infections is good cleanliness. Other methods include vaccinations and antibiotic medication.