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Influenza and Other Infectious Diseases

Infectious disease is understood in medicine as a process caused by microorganisms impairing a person’s health. An infection is the invasion of and replication in the body various microbial agents.

Influenza, more commonly known as flu, is a viral infection that's most common during the winter months and can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat and muscle aches - as well as more dangerous complications. It occurs when people breathe in liquid droplets containing the influenza virus that has been sneezed or coughed into the air, or when people touch objects contaminated with the virus. Influenza viruses cause the flu and are divided into three types, designated A, B, and C. Most people who get the flu recover completely in one or two weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications which can occur at any age.

Influenza is different from the common cold, in which the symptoms tend to come on gradually, usually affecting only the nose. Cold is characterized by a “running nose”, coughing, and sneezing. The illness may be accompanied by laryngitis or bronchitis, and may predispose to bacterial infections of the ear, particularly in children (“otitis media”). Cold weather does not “cause” colds but infected people do.

An influenza vaccine is not 100% effective and it must be re-administered every year to maximize protection. The best way to avoid flu or cold is to keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, getting enough rest and relaxation and avoid smoking. If it is possible, you should stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing. Antibiotics are of no use in treating the flu. Anti-viral medication is usually prescribed by a GP for some people of risk groups. It is to be taken early to stop the virus multiplying, and may only reduce the symptoms rather than treating the infection.

Germs called viruses and bacteria can cause different diseases e.g. meningitis, scarlet fever and others. Inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, is known as meningitis. While viral infection causes a relatively mild illness, bacterial meningitis is a life-threatening condition that demands immediate antibiotics treatment.

Scarlet fever, also called scarlatina,is an acute infectious disease caused by streptococcal bacteria. It is called so because of the red skin rash that accompanies it. A sore throat is the main characteristic of this disease. Scarlet fever can affect people of all ages, but it is most often seen in children. Before the antibiotics were invented, scarlet fever was an extremely serious, long lasting disease with many dangerous complications, and even death. Children with scarlet fever used to be immediately isolated and quarantined. Recovery is rapid and complete when antibiotics are administered promptly.

Rubella (German measles) is not usually considered as a serious illness in children or adults, but it can cause birth defects or the loss of a fetus if a mother becomes infectedin the early stage of pregnancy. Rubella was distinguished from more serious infectious diseases in the early 19th century. The rubella virus was first isolated in 1962, and a vaccine became available in 1969.

Only in certain individuals natural immunity to infectious diseases may exist. An artificial immunity is known to result from prophylactic vaccination, which is carried out against a number of infectious diseases in our country.


Date: 2015-12-12; view: 134; Нарушение авторских прав

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