India’S Deadliest Infectious Diseases To Protect Yourself Against In 2021

The pandemic has indeed upended every aspect of our lives, be it healthcare, education or the economy. Seeing the danger that hovers over your own as well as your loved one’s may have often shaken you to the core.  While there are often situations where you just can’t fight disease, being aware of the perils that come with such a disease can surely help you deal with such ailments. Apart from the ongoing COVID-19, there are many other conditions that you need to keep yourself safe from, the most common being infectious diseases. 

Infectious diseases have altered the course of human development. They cause sufferings, deaths and economic losses. In the past four decades, there has been a multifarious increase in the number of such diseases. Ebola virus, Nipah virus, Zika virus and the latest Coronavirus. These infectious diseases neither respect borders nor boundaries. They affect one and all. What makes them worse is that about 70% of the world is just not prepared to tackle them efficiently and effectively. 

With global boundaries dissolving with fast means of transportation, urbanization and changing human behaviour, these infections don’t take long to spread like wildfire. It is only a matter of 24 to 48 hours that a virus trots across the globe.

Deadly diseases not only pose a threat to the person infected but also take a toll on the family and loved ones. That is why it becomes crucial to get the right treatment at the right time. Proper health care for such infectious diseases is costly, which makes it all the more crucial to take appropriate precautions beforehand.

 Deadliest Infectious Diseases of 2021

Following are some of the deadly diseases that one must watch out for this year. They can be fatal so timely knowledge and prompt action when necessary can go a long way in keeping you and your loved ones safe.

  1. Coronavirus

This pandemic has been creating havoc for the past one and a half years and there are hardly any signs of it leaving us anytime soon. As per the report of Johns Hopkins University, Covid has claimed over 2 million lives and infected about 95 million people all across the world, as of January 18, 2021. It has hard hit individuals who have a weaker immune system or those with underlying medical problems like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases. It spreads predominantly through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose of an infected person.

Watch out for these symptoms of Covid-19

Covid-19  causes different symptoms in different people. Most patients suffer from mild symptoms and don’t require hospitalisation. Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Aches and pains
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Diarrhoea

Some serious symptoms can be-

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of speech or movement

How can Covid-19 be prevented?

We have already witnessed two waves of this deadly infection. The saying, “Prevention is better than cure” is befitting now more than ever. It has become extremely important to follow the precautions and safety guidelines issued by the Government of India. By following the advice provided by local health authorities one can not only protect themselves but can also prevent the spread of the disease. We can not afford a third wave, be it socially or economically.

Here are the simple precautions you can follow to keep this infection away: 

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Maintain social distance from other people
  • Always wear a mask
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose, especially when outside your home
  • Cough or sneeze in your bent elbow or a tissue, and then dispose of the tissue in a closed dust bin
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Avoid closed spaces. Be in a well-ventilated room
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Stay isolated if you feel unwell
  • If you experience fever, cough or breathlessness, seek medical assistance
  • Get vaccinated

Timely action can help you to be healthy and prevent the spread. If we make these simple precautions our habit, it can definitely help in containing the extent of the virus any further. 

  1. Tuberculosis 

Tuberculosis is the most infectious and probably the most ancient disease of humankind and people still suffer from it. It is among the top 10 deadly infectious diseases across the world, second only to HIV. It is a bacterial disease that predominantly affects the lungs and spreads when an affected person sneezes or coughs. Poor sanitation and a weak immune system contribute to the spread of this disease which can affect people of any age. If it is left untreated it has a mortality rate of 50%.

Watch out for these symptoms of Tuberculosis:

A person with latent or inactive tuberculosis may not show any symptoms. This simply means that the bacteria in the body is still not causing harm. Symptoms can only be seen in cases of active TB, which are: 

  • Pain in the chest while breathing
  • Cough that lasts for more than three weeks
  • Coughing of blood is a symptom of TB of the lungs
  • Pain in bones suggests that bacteria has invaded the bones
  • Fever
  • Night Sweats
  • Loss of appetite and hence weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes

In case of exposure to TB, a skin or blood test is recommended by healthcare providers. 

Precautions :

Tuberculosis is a contagious disease that doesn’t take much time to spread. Follow these simple tips to prevent it further:

  1. Take your prescribed medicines regularly and religiously
  2. Always cover your mouth with a tissue while coughing or sneezing. Seal the used tissue in a plastic bag and dispose of the bag safely.
  3. Wash your hands after coughing and sneezing
  4. Do not go to work, school or any public place till the healthcare provider approves of it
  5. Avoid close contact with anyone
  6. Air out your room so that the germs in it do not infect any other person
  7. Keep all of your appointments with the doctor

Active TB can be treated with a combination of antibacterial medicines within a period of six to twelve months. Not completing the entire course of your recommended medication can lead to drug-resistant TB.

3. Dengue

This is a peculiar disease of tropical and subtropical regions of the world, India being one of them. The mosquito-borne viral disease dengue is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which is also called breakbone fever. It generally takes 4-10 days of incubation, after the bite of the infected mosquito before the symptoms start to appear. The flu-like symptoms of Dengue can last for 4-7 days.

Watch out for these symptoms of Dengue

The symptoms that come with dengue, may be mild in some cases, hence may be mistaken for flu-like illness. Symptoms in young children are generally not so severe. Listed below are some of the most common symptoms to watch out for:     

  • Sudden high fever
  • Severe headache
  • Unusual bleeding (nose and gums)
  • Mild to severe vomiting
  • Mild to severe nausea
  • Pain in bones and joints
  • Rashes or red spots on the skin
  • Loss of appetite

Precautions 

There is no vaccine available to prevent this disease. The best method of protection against dengue is to avoid being bitten by mosquitos. Follow these simple steps to stay safe-

  • Use mosquito repellent both indoors and outdoors
  • Reduce the population of mosquitoes by getting rid of their breeding areas
  • Wear long sleeves clothes and tuck your long pants inside the socks
  • Use screens or windows and doors. Repair holes in screens
  • Use air conditioning instead of opening the windows
  • Empty the items often, that holds water like- pools, buckets, birdbaths, trash containers

Getting rid of unsanitary conditions is pivotal in eliminating dengue from India. Clean and hygienic living conditions must be maintained at all cost.

4. SARS Infection

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is a viral respiratory disease that is caused by SARS-associated coronavirus. It is an airborne disease that spreads through small droplets of saliva that enters the air when the infected person talks, sneezes or coughs. It is a new disease that has emerged in the 21st century and is severe and highly transmissible. It can even spread indirectly through surfaces that have been touched by the person infected by the virus. With the fast means of transport and frequent travelling in this interconnected world, this disease has the capacity of spreading like wildfire within a few days.

Watch out for these symptoms of SARS

The symptoms are similar to the symptoms of flu and include: 

  • High fever
  • Dry cough
  • Pain in muscles
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Headache
  • It can also lead to pneumonia and liver failure

Senior citizens and people with diabetes or hepatitis are more vulnerable to this disease.

Precautions

Sadly, there is yet no available cure for SARS. The only protection is minimising the chances of getting infected in the first place. Try to follow these guidelines: 

  • Don’t touch eyes, mouth or nose with dirty hands
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Wear a mask and gloves when you are near an infected person
  • Disinfect the surfaces which are often touched by people
  • Avoid crowded places

Conclusion

Nothing is permanent, but change and our world is changing fast. We, humans, have altered our relationship with our environment including how we live, how we act, how we interact with nature, to the extent that we have altered the climate too. All this has set a perfect stage for the outbreak of infectious diseases. It has become crucial that we grab every opportunity to prevent and find a timely cure for these diseases.

These infectious diseases require proper medical treatment. Currently, all across the country the health workforce and medical resources are stretched thin. Health providers are sincerely dedicated to combating the Covid pandemic. The only way to keep ourselves safe is to lead a healthy life and take proper sanitation measures. One basic thing that this virus has taught us is that we must work as partners to curb this virus from spreading further. Each one of us should act responsibly and refuse to be the spreader of the infection. Every life matters and every effort counts. Together, we must address the current Covid situation and be prepared for emerging infectious disease threats.

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