How Infectious Diseases Spread

Acquiring an infectious disease is like breathing, it’s THAT easy. Everyday, we encounter a lot of potential infectious disease hazards ranging from a sniffing seatmate on the bus to raw chicken on your cutting board. Germs are very common and can be found everywhere; protecting yourself against harmful microbes should be a habit.

What you can do first is to be aware on how germs spread. Here is a guide on how infectious disease is transmitted.

Direct contact

Coming in contact with someone who has an infectious disease is one of the most common and one of the easiest ways of catching it. It can either be a person, a living animal or, for an unborn baby, its mother.

Person-to-person contact is the most common way of transmission of germs, wherein it occurs when an individual with the bacterium or virus touches, coughs on, kisses, or exchanged fluids (through sexual contact or blood transfusion) with someone who is not infected.

Meanwhile, being bitten or scratched by an animal-including your own pet-can lead to sickness and, in extreme circumstances, even death. Handling animal waste, such as scooping your cat’s litter box, can also be hazardous.

Indirect contact

Harmful organisms can also be acquired through indirect contact such as touching ordinary items-like a tabletop, doorknob, faucet handle, even money-that picked up germs. You can also get infectious diseases through your unwashed hands coming in contact with other body parts such as your eyes, nose, or your mouth.

Droplet transmission

Infectious diseases can also spread through the air. An example of which is through droplet transmission, wherein you inhale droplets of contaminated mucus released after a person near you sneezes or coughs. You could also get infected through your eyes and moth with these harmful droplets.

Particle transmission

Another way of air-borne transmission is through tiny particles that remain suspended in the air for extended periods of time. These particles range from dust (which are actually solid wastes from dust mites) to pet hair.

Insect bites and stings

Some germs are carried by insects like mosquitoes, fleas, lice, and ticks. These carriers are known as vectors. Each insect can carry a wide variety of infectious organisms that you can acquiring through its bite, sting, or even having it accidentally eaten. A mosquito, for instance, can carry the malaria parasite, the West Nile virus, or dengue virus.

Food contamination

Sometimes referred to as "common-vehicle transmission" or "food poisoning", acquiring an infectious disease through contaminated food and water allows germs to be spread to as many people as possible through a single source.

Food becomes contaminated with harmful microbes if it is not cooked properly or was spoiled. Meanwhile, water that was drawn from a very dirty source and has not been boiled properly can also carry millions of infectious bacteria.