Airborne disease refers to any disease caused by small pathogenic microbes (like viruses, fungi or bacteria). It spreads through the microbes, which are discharged in the air, when an infected patient breathe, coughs, sneezes, laughs, talks or even exhales.
Water droplets generated through the aerosolization of such microbes usually cause this problem due to which it is sometimes also called as droplet disease.
The person with less immunity contracts the disease when he inhales such microbes or get into contact with mucus membrane or when he touches the secretions sticking to the surface.
The problem is generally referred to as ARI (acute respiratory infections).
Causes and Symptoms
Malnutrition (generally attributed to poverty), usage of bio mass fuels (like firewood, cow dung, coal overcrowding), unsanitary living conditions (like residing along the gutters, ditches), low birth weight and other infections are the reasons for the people to get infected with this type of disease.
The problem is becoming so worse that it kills millions of people each year, especially kids in the age of 5 years and below.
The symptoms for different airborne diseases range from simple coughing, fever, diarrhea, sore throat, chills, head ache, body ache, muscle pain, fatigue, excessive night sweats, weight loss, tiredness, rashes, light sensitivity, vomiting blood or phlegm.
Types of Airborne Disease
Some of the airborne diseases may lead to fatal conditions, if not properly treated at initial stages.
Some instances are fungal disease arising on account of mold spores, pathogenic fungi, involving lungs and various toxins in the atmosphere. These are some common types of airborne diseases:
- Tuberculosis (TB) or Pulmonary Tuberculosis
- H1N1 Flu or swine flu
- Chicken pox
- Anthrax (Inhalational)
Some other diseases in this category include neonatal tetanus, pertussis and poliomyelitis.
Precaution and Prevention of the Disease
In most cases, microbes and viruses which travel in air is the main cause of getting these diseases. It is therefore hard to control or prevent these types of diseases.
Certain precautions and preventive measures should be practiced by the patients themselves, in the interest of his attendants or others around him do not fall a prey to this contagious.
Certain preventive measures also need to be followed by the attendant or other persons around the patient as safeguard.
As such there are various types of vaccination and immunization methods that helps in treating the problem. There are also certain preventive methods which when utilized can help prevent the disease.
Here we discuss some helpful precautions and preventive measures which can be followed to control the airborne diseases.
- If certain social and respiratory manners are meticulously followed, spread of the disease can greatly be controlled.
- Keep the environment clean; do not accumulate things like garbage, biological wastes
- The patients should not move out of home, when ill with such airborne disease.
- The patient should cover his mouth with his own hands or tissues, just before he tends to cough or sneeze.
- Do not be in close contact with the patients; or limit the duration to minimum with such contacts.
- Ensure good hand washing, wherever necessary and wherever possible. Use appropriate hand sanitizer.
- Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks/ gloves/ gowns/ respirator/ eye protector. Also make sure that you clean or replace them periodically.
- Environmental controls include proper ventilation using ventilation devices, local exhaust, filtration to remove infectious particles, ultraviolet germicidal, irradiation, airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIR).
- Environmental management with HVAC (Heating, ventilation and air conditioning) expertise and engineering alternatives may help reduce the transmission of water droplets aerosolized pathogens.
Having followed the above tips you can avoid getting airborne diseases to much extent. But in case you are affected with these types of diseases, it is good to visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Generally, doctors do not prescribe antibiotics for patients to control viral infections. However for flu patients, doctors prescribe antibiotics for controlling or preventing bacterial secondary infections or to combat the pneumonic plague and similar air-borne bacterial primary infections.
How Installing Air Purifier Helps?
Frankly speaking there is no air purifier which is 100 per cent effective in removing airborne pathogens. But use of a good air purifier can help make the interiors healthy and hygienic. So considering a good air purifier is a must for all, especially for those who are suffering from breathing problems.
HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) filters are not similar to pore-sized filters used in the laboratories to culture microbes; hence they cannot handle particle size of 0.3 micron. These are therefore not much efficient to insulate us from airborne viruses.
However there are many automated air purifiers which can respond to chemicals and particle levels and are thus recommended.
Germicidal air purifier are also sometime recommended as it ensures continuous high power operation (noise pollution is a problem here) which can be effective in combating airborne pathogens. It will be more useful for safe or sick room applications.
Some HEPA cleaners may stand the test of germicidal purifiers as well and can be considered.
Ultraviolet air purifiers or UV air cleaners are now getting popular which comes with feature to sterilize the filter, forgetting the main aim of reducing airborne pathogen density. Air purifiers with UVC light is the proven technology for air disinfection; but seldom it is applied in air purifiers.
PCO – Photo catalytic oxidation is another great emerging technology which is. It considers all the aspects like UV powered, germicidal filtration, self cleaning and low maintenance.
With so many various types of air cleaners on the market, it is often hard to get one that suits your particular requirement. However with a bit of research and patience you can surely find the best air purifier for germs, bacteria and viruses in the air.
Just get the best one for your family to ensure that they breathe healthy and can keep themselves free from various health problems caused due to airborne diseases.
How Installing Humidifier Helps?
Experts suggest that moist air is more helpful than dry air for avoiding many airborne pathogens to grow, like the ones causing flu and cold. Additionally, moist air in the room also helps in relieving many respiratory troubles by soothing inflamed and irritated airways efficiently.
Installing a good branded room humidifier may therefore help people suffering with respiratory issues, especially during the cold winter months when the air becomes too dry and is susceptible to carry more germs, bacteria and viruses.
Too dry indoor air is also the cause for dry skin problems in winters. Humidifiers can therefore helps in keeping the humidity of the air in optimum control i.e. not too moist or not too dry.
However it is worth noting that humidifiers (especially central humidifiers) sometimes allows the airborne pollutants to grow or expel in the form of aerosol droplets, enabling them to breath by people in the home.
Preventive measures (such as regular cleaning and maintenance) is therefore important for a humidifier, to keep them in good working conditions without imposing any health risks.
Whatever may be the causes, practicing hygienic living in Eco-friendly shelters and taking cautious steps will help keep you away from all types of airborne diseases. Invest a bit to make your family completely safe!
Eliana is a nurse by profession who loves writing online, spending time with her family and caring for seniors. She has already worked as an associate editor on various mom, baby, home appliances, kitchen and healthy living blogs. In her spare time she also enjoys drawing, reading/writing kindle eBooks and improving her skills a bit.