Overview infectious diseasesAn infectious disease will be all the more likely the greater the number and the attacking power of the invading pathogens that attack the human being unprepared. In most pathogens, the human body will cope with a certain amount.
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Every human being can be infected at any time, that is to say, colonized with microorganisms without being affected. There are, among other things, completely healthy carriers of diphtheria pathogens and healthy excretors of germs that could trigger an intestinal infection. We are all surrounded by a variety of microorganisms, of which only a small part can make us sick.
Some microorganisms do not even penetrate us, they can not exist in the human milieu. Others are harmless subtenants of our bodies, to which we even depend. A number of them cause diseases in plants and animals without harming humans, or vice versa. What this style specificity is based on, we do not know until the last detail.
Different forms of pathogens
We distinguish four major groups of pathogens: First, the schizomycetes, which occur in various forms, in the form of rods as bacilli (bacteria), such as the causative agent of dysentery, typhus, tuberculosis and others, in the form of pus in grape or Chain arrangement, in the form of a sperm as a cause of pneumonia, meningitis and trippers, as fungi, such as the common pathogens of athlete's foot, or in Korkenzieherform, including as a causative agent of syphilis.
Another group of pathogens are the types of viruses, which are very common and so small that they can not be detected in the usual microscope. You pass even the finest filters. They can only be grown on living cells and can be visualized by electron microscopy. They prefer to infect certain tissues, the jaundice virus, for example, the liver cells, the polio virus certain neurons, the influenza virus cells of the upper respiratory tract.
The Rickettsia, another group of microorganisms, are of the order of magnitude between virus species and schizocarps. They cause, for example, typhus. The fourth group of pathogens, the protozoa, cause as a unicellular animal life a tropical form of drought and malaria.
Infectious diseases have always been of great importance in the lives of all peoples, especially when they have reached epidemic epidemic. From none of the past periods of human history are these diseases unimaginable. For the individual, too, the type, severity and timing of an acquired infectious disease are important factors for his mental and physical development as well as for his classification in society. Severe infectious diseases in childhood, such as a brain and other nervous system illness, often leave a mental and physical disability for life.
History of the Discovery of Viruses & Bacteria
At any time, people have dealt with the experience of infectious diseases differently. If their interpretation was originally based on demonic beliefs, the believing and fatalistic man later thought of recognizing, in an illness that had occurred, the direct intervention of a higher power, a divinely ordained punishment, a rewarding or vengeful hand. In the 19th century, the perception of living pathogens gradually spread, but it made it seem a coincidence if and when a person could take in the pathogens and get sick.
Today the co-shaping effect of the environment is a known factor. The human being is practically not separated from the environment by his outer skin, but everything around him belongs to him, so also the microorganisms. We are sometimes even dependent on them. They live with us in a shared life, a symbiosis, especially on the mucous membranes of the externally open body cavities, such as the mouth, the intestine and the female sexual organs. Diseased microorganisms belong to our environment. But when does her presence lead to illness?
Infection by germs, viruses and bacteria
Here are a number of factors play a role, factors that depend partly on humans, but in part on the pathogens. An infectious disease will be all the more likely the greater the number and the attacking power of the invading pathogens that attack the human being unprepared. In most pathogens, the human body will cope with a certain amount. If, for example, typhus germs have entered the food during cooking by the unclean hand of a cook in tropical countries, then eating the soup will not, for example, cause any disease. But if this soup has been standing for hours and the Typhus sponges in the soup have multiplied rapidly, after the consumption of the soup a typhus disease can develop.
In some viral diseases, however, it is sufficient to take a small amount of infectious substance. This is the case, for example, with measles, chickenpox and smallpox. If disease germs are particularly vigorous or virulent, that is, they multiply rapidly and quickly form toxic metabolic products called toxins, then an infectious disease will develop rapidly.
For the development of an infectious disease, the responsiveness of the human body to the pathogens is decisive. A strong, healthy, reasonably-living person will dismiss an infection rather than an ailing couch potato. An exhausted, strained organism will be more susceptible than a fresh, rested one. Doctors and amateurs not infrequently see hypothermia as the cause of colds, bronchitis, or pneumonia, but these are actually true infectious diseases. In this case, cause and effect are easily confused by shivering, freezing or, even chills, which indicate the onset of an infectious fever, to an external cooling.
However, we do not want to deny that hypothermia can significantly affect the responsiveness of the body, as the blood flow to the mucous membranes and limbs deteriorates under the influence of cold and wet. A condition that promotes the occurrence of infection if the corresponding pathogens are present. However, humans are able to form antibodies against certain pathogens or toxins, the so-called immune bodies. Immunity is the increased preparedness of an organism for certain germs.
This immune body gets the newborn from the maternal organism for a short period of time. For later periods, every organism must develop these immune bodies themselves, either by surviving an infectious disease - after measles, there is generally lifelong immunity - or by vaccinations that force the body, at least temporarily, to form these immune bodies through a weakened or shortened course of infection,
Symptoms, complaints & signs
Typical symptoms of an infectious disease include fever, pain and swelling, as well as inflammatory redness and itching. In addition, the affected organs react by defensive reactions such as cold, cough and hoarseness, as well as spasmodic complaints or nausea. The degree of manifestation of symptoms depends on the individual immune system as well as on age.
With a bacterial infection and a viral infection, symptoms such as diarrhea, dysphagia and headache can occur as well as body aches. In addition, a conspicuous urination with urine discoloration is possible. Also chills, rash and tiredness as well as breathing difficulties can occur. Timely assignment of these symptoms can be problematic.
The signs appear in certain infectious diseases until after a long time after infection with pathogens as in Lyme disease. In some of the infectious diseases, the classic symptoms are weak and therefore difficult to classify. In other cases, the symptoms are more likely to aid in the initial assessment of the condition.
Indications of respiratory infections are predominantly clear from coughing, runny nose and throat infections as well as hoarseness and difficulty swallowing. Likewise, with gastric and intestinal infections diarrhea, malaise and vomiting occur as typical symptoms of the disease. If there is an unpleasant burning sensation while urinating, these symptoms indicate an infection of the urinary tract. Symptoms of an infectious disease can be limited to certain parts of the body or be detectable throughout the body.
Whether it comes through infectious diseases to severe discomfort or even complications can not be universally predicted in general. In many cases, infectious diseases can be relatively well limited with the help of antibiotics and other drugs, so that no special complications arise. However, these can occur if the treatment is not initiated fast enough.
This can lead to irreversible damage to the internal organs of the patient. Most people suffer from severe fever and fatigue due to the infectious diseases. The resilience of the patient drops drastically and there is also a greatly reduced quality of life. As a rule, the immune system of the patient is significantly weakened, so it can also lead to other infections or inflammation.
The treatment of infectious diseases in most cases with the help of drugs. Whether it comes to complications depends, however, on the particular disease. Not always does a positive course of disease occur. There may be damage to the internal organs, so the patient will need a transplant. Life expectancy can also be reduced by infectious diseases.
When should you go to the doctor?
Many common infectious diseases, such as a cold or gastrointestinal infections, resolve themselves within a short time and do not require medical treatment. However, high fever, circulatory problems, impaired consciousness or severe abdominal pain should give rise to a visit to the doctor. A medical examination is also advisable if the symptoms do not improve over the course of days or in case of a cold with severe cough with shortness of breath. Other infectious diseases begin insidiously and show only nonspecific symptoms: A doctor should be consulted if there is a prolonged increase in body temperature or fever episodes occur without apparent cause, even fatigue, loss of performance, physical weakness or unwanted weight loss may indicate an infectious disease in need of treatment.
Some childhood illnesses are accompanied by characteristic rashes: Due to the high risk of infection, unvaccinated children should be referred to a pediatrician as soon as possible if such lesions are associated with a fever or a general malaise. In adults, a visit to the doctor is recommended for painful redness and swelling that spreads rapidly. Antibiotic therapy is necessary for the treatment of Lyme disease: It is typical of a flat skin redness that occurs some time after a tick bite and is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms. If headaches are accompanied by fever and neck stiffness, there is a suspicion of life-threatening meningitis, which must be treated promptly.
Treatment & Therapy
If one asks about the nature of an infectious disease and proceeds from the clinical point of view, then one imagines a disease that generally takes place in a relatively short time, usually has a favorable outcome, and displays phenomena that are repeated on a case-by-case basis. Characteristic of an infectious disease, however, is its transmissibility. From the time of infection to the onset of the disease, a certain period of time passes by for each illness, which we call the incubation period. In this time there is already the possibility of infection.
In scientific research, two epochs have been significant in the identification and treatment of infectious diseases: first Robert Koch's time with the discovery of the pathogens, the epidemiological findings and the first attempts at salvation, and secondly the time of the discovery of chemical and antibiotic ones Remedies that are closely linked to the names Domagk and Fleming. Through the introduction of antibiotics, a change in the appearance of infectious diseases has been initiated, as in the timely and correct use of such substances, the infection in the organism can not spread and therefore at times significantly shorter and milder.
In the control of infectious diseases, we have two important tasks to fulfill: treating the diseases that have occurred and protecting the healthy from possible infections. Therapy and prophylaxis must be understood as a unity, because the isolation and treatment of infectious diseases eliminates a possible source of infection. An epidemic that has occurred can best be contained in this way. The prerequisite for a successful treatment is always the identification of the pathogen and its response to applicable remedies.
All control measures against contagious diseases, which are content of the epidemic law, are incumbent on the national health and hygiene offices and the Federal Ministry for health. Only then can control measures be initiated if the aforementioned health care facilities are informed immediately of the outbreak of such diseases. Therefore, there is a general obligation to register for various infectious diseases. Most infectious diseases require isolation, which means that the patient has to be admitted to a hospital ward where he is isolated from the general public and treated accordingly. In general, he may only be released from hospital treatment if, at his doctor 's discretion, there is no longer a risk of infection in his surroundings after his recovery.
In the event of a disease, and especially in epidemics, quarantine measures in the vicinity of the patient are extremely important, so that the disease germs are not further abducted. Vaccinations are precautionary measures that should be carried out as completely as possible in order to protect children and vulnerable people from the outset. Vaccination leads to the longest possible immunity of the vaccine, as a result of which some illnesses, such as polio and smallpox, have almost completely disappeared. Recommended vaccinations for children are vaccination against diphtheria, polio, whooping cough and tetanus. Furthermore, a vaccination against the measles and in flu times an additional comprehensive flu vaccine is planned.
Our modern health care system is constantly striving to curb or even eradicate diseases of all kinds. In this endeavor, it is supported by the health and hygiene offices and by the Federal Ministry of Health, whose core areas for epidemic control direct scientific research in the field of infectious diseases and epidemic disease into the railways, whose goal is a comprehensive protection of our population against infectious diseases whose success depends on the insight and willingness of the population.
Outlook & Forecast
Infectious diseases usually have a favorable prognosis. Although the risk of infection is very high, in many patients the symptoms gradually heal even without the use of medical care. In the case of a weak flu or other common diseases, a complaint-free status is achieved within a few weeks. Especially with mild infections, a doctor is not always needed.
As the course of the disease progresses, the organism becomes severely weakened. By the use of drugs, the pathogens are prevented from reproducing. The immune system is additionally supported so that the germs eventually die within a few days or weeks and are transported out of the body. Subsequently, a recovery is also expected.
People whose body's immune system is already weakened often experience chronic disease development. The infectious disease further weakens the general health of the patient and can lead to a worrying condition. There is a possibility of permanent impairment. In addition, the relief of the symptoms can often occur only after several months. In particularly severe cases threatens the affected premature death.
The prognosis is worsened in patients who suffer organ damage due to the infectious disease. Lifelong dysfunctions are possible here. In addition, organ failure and the need for transplantation can occur.
Infectious diseases often need good follow-up after their healing. It is aimed at strengthening the immune system, the recovery of those affected and above all the goal of avoiding a resurgence of the disease. Depending on the disease area, the aftercare for infectious diseases looks a little different and is ideally discussed with the attending physician.
In the case of superficial infection, for example in the case of wounds, care must be taken to ensure that the affected skin area remains free from soiling. This is achieved by carefully covering the area, but also by leaving a scab on the skin until it falls off by itself.
In the area of internal infections, which primarily affect the gastrointestinal tract or the respiratory tract, the body's defenses can be strengthened by a host of measures that are themselves in the hands of the patient. These include a healthy diet, sufficient drinking and enough sleep. It is also important not to start sports activities too soon if the person concerned is not yet capable of doing so.
Often, the intestine is impaired in its function by drugs that have been given as part of the infection. This applies in particular to the administration of antibiotics. Here, after-care helps with a non-stressful diet. Yogurt products are often able to rebuild a disturbed intestinal flora.
You can do that yourself
An infectious disease does not always have to be treated by a doctor. An ordinary infection can be treated independently by physical protection and a temporary change in diet.
In case of a cold or flu, classics such as chicken soup and rusks are just as suitable as herbal tea (eg fennel, chamomile or linden blossom) and a vitamin-rich diet. In case of fever, bed rest and warmth apply. Chills, for example, can be counteracted by warm clothing or blankets. For sore throat helps gentle inhalation (such as salt water or essential oils). Coughs and runny nose can also be treated with essential oils of menthol or camphor applied overnight to the chest and back. A good alternative are neck wraps or wet wraps. In influenza infections, various natural remedies have proven to be effective: lime blossom and willow bark against inflammatory pains and marigold blossoms to strengthen the immune system.
After the acute phase of the disease, the weakened organism slowly gets used to regular exercise. Lightweight gymnastics or a walk in the fresh air strengthen the circulation and increase the well-being. Depending on the type of infection, there are a number of other measures available. However, what the sick person can actually do for an infectious disease should always be decided by the family doctor.