What is an Infection?
An infection is an invasion of an organism’s body tissue by disease causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of the host tissues to these organisms and the toxins that they produce.
Infectious diseases, also known as transmissible diseases or communicable diseases, are illnesses resulting from an infection. Despite there being a variety of medicines present to treat the different form of infections; infectious diseases have resulted in the death of more people worldwide than any other single cause.
Causes of an Infection:
An infection is caused when a person is exposed to infectious agents. This exposure may occur directly, through the touching, eating, drinking or breathing of a germ covered substance. Or indirectly, when an agent is transmitted through an insect or animal bite. Listed below are the different types of infectious agents:
- Bacteria. These single celled organisms multiply quickly and are responsible for illnesses such as strep throat, urinary tract infections, and tuberculosis.
- Viruses. Even smaller than bacteria, viruses can cause a multitude of infectious diseases — ranging from the common cold to AIDS. A virus spreads an infection because of its ability to use host’s cells to multiply.
- Fungi: Are biologically primitive plants that cause diseases such as ringworm and athlete’s foot.
- Are single celled organisms that may be transmitted through a host of avenues, the most common being through the bite of an insect?
Symptoms of an Infection
Each infectious disease has its own set of signs and symptoms that may manifest themselves mildly or severely, depending on the immunity of the person who is infected. However, there are general signs and symptoms common to a number of infections which include, but are not limited to:
- Muscle aches
Getting an infection can be a painful and tedious process, resulting in one’s ill health and an inability to perform even simple everyday tasks. Despite the ease with which agents are spread, and the detrimental effect that they can have on a person’s health, there are ways in which you can keep yourself germ free. A series of simple steps, when performed habitually can not only reduce your chances of getting an infection; but also prevent you from spreading one as an asymptomatic carrier.
- Washing your hands. This is especially important before and after preparing food, before eating, and after using the toilet.
- Getting vaccinated. Immunization can drastically reduce your chances of contracting many diseases. Make sure to keep up to date on your recommended vaccinations, as well as your children’s.
- Staying home when ill. Don’t go to work if you are vomiting, have diarrhea or have a fever. Don’t send your child to school if he or she has these signs and symptoms, either.
- Preparing food safely.Keep counters and other kitchen surfaces clean when preparing meals. Cook foods to the proper temperature using a food thermometer to check for doneness. For ground meats, that means at least 71 C (160 F); for poultry, 74 C (165 F); and for most other meat, at least 63 C (145 F).
- Not sharing personal items. Use your own toothbrush, comb, and razor. Avoid sharing drinking glasses or dining utensils.