Common Infectious Diseases

By Sam Buch

Bacterial Diseases

Occasionally, pathogens will enter your body and cause diseases. Most of the time, your immune system will fight off the infection. There are four infectious diseases caused by bacteria and they are strep throat, Lyme disease, meningitis, and tuberculosis.

Strep throat

Strep throat is common among teenagers. It is usually found in the throat and nose and can be spread by contact with mucus from an infected person.

Lyme disease

Being infected with Lyme disease is caused by being bitten by an infected tick. Symptoms of Lyme disease include red rash where the bite is, fever, chills, and body aches.

Bacterial Meningitis

An infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. Symtoms include high fever, headaches, vomiting, and a stiff neck.

Tuberculosis

A highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs. It is transmitted when droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze are inhaled.

Treating bacterial diseases

If your doctor determines that you have a bacterial disease, they will treat you with an antibiotic. An antibiotic is a drug that inhibits or kills bacteria.

Viral diseases

Some diseases are caused by viruses that enter the body and multiply. Viral diseases include the common cold, influenza, pneumonia, and hepatitis.

The common cold

The common cold is a group of symptoms that is caused by a number of viruses. Colds spread when a person touches a contaminated object or inhales droplets from a sneeze or a cough.

Influenza

The flu is a common viral infection of the upper respiratory system. It is spread by airborne droplets and contact with contaminated objects.

Pneumonia

In people who are elderly, or who have heart disease or breathing problems, flu may develop into pneumonia, a serious infection of the lungs.

Hepatitis

A group of viruses that infect the liver can cause hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver.

Treating viral diseases

In most cases, there is no particular medicine that can cure a viral infection. The best treatments for viral infections are rest, a well-balanced diet, and plenty of fluids.

Preventing infectious diseases

You can protect yourself from infectious diseases in three ways, avoiding contact with pathogens, making sure that our immunizations are current, and choosing healthful behaviors.