WHAT IS A DISEASE?Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They're normally harmless or even helpful, but under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease.
Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by bites from insects or animals. And others are acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.
Signs and symptoms vary depending on the organism causing the infection, but often include fever and fatigue. Mild infections may respond to rest and home remedies, while some life-threatening infections may require hospitalization.
Early one morning, Dani woke up to find that he has a very high temperature and pains at his joints. He was also tired. Because of this he was unable to go to school. He was unable to do any work. At the hospital, the doctor examined him. The report shows he has a disease which made his body not to work properly. From the above, we can say that a disease is anything or sickness that prevents the body from working properly.
WHAT CAUSES DISEASE?Diseases are caused by many agents. The most important of these agents are the germs. These germs are very tiny substances that we cannot see with our naked eyes. We can however, see them with the help of an instrument known as the microscope. Another agent that can cause diseases is called parasite. A parasite lives and feed on other animals. On feeding on other animals, it injures them thus causing diseases. Tiredness and over-work can also cause diseases. In some cases exposure to much cold can cause diseases. Starvation or lack of good food can cause some diseases. Accident can be the beginning of a number of disease such as tetanus (lock-jaw).
HOW DISEASES ARE SPREADDiseases are spread by air, contaminated food, waters, insects and other small animals and by contact between affected and other unaffected persons.
Examples of air-borne diseasesare :small-pox, measles, mumps, common cold,
Cough, pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Examples of disease contaminated food are:dysentery, food poisoning, typhoid and worms.
Examples of water-borne diseases are:dysentery, typhoid and liver flukes.
Examples of diseases spread by insects and other small animal:malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, sleeping sickness and filariasis.
Examples of diseases spread by contact:ringworm, yaws, leprosy and scabies.
Examples of broken skin diseases:tetanus (lock-jaw).
HOW DO DISEASES GET INTO THE BODY?Except for a few cases, germs must enter the body before they can cause diseases. There are a number of ways through which they can do this.
THROUGH THE SKIN:disease germs can easily enter the body through damaged skin. For example, when we fall or have accidents, the skin is damaged. If by carelessness, we do not cover or bandage the wound, in a short while, germs will go into the body. Germs that cause tetanus or lock-jaw enters the body through this way.
(b) When mosquito pierces the skin, it may inject germs of malaria or yellow fever into the body. The hookworm enters the body by piercing through the skin.
THROUGH THE MOUTH AND NOSE:germs that enters the body through the mouth and nose are mainly those that are spread by air. Examples of diseases caused by germs entering the body in this way are common in colds, measles, chicken pox, small pox, pneumonia, tuberculosis and mump.
THROUGH WALLS OF STOMACH AND INTESTINES:dirty food and water contain disease germs. When such food and water are taken, the germs are sent into the stomach and intestines. From these places, the germs pass into the body. In some cases, the germs damages the walls of the stomach and intestines thus giving rise stomach-ache and pains. The diseases caused in this way are dysentery, worms and cholera.
GENERAL WAYS OF PREVENTING DISEASES.If one is to remain healthy, he must at all times eat good food and remain clean. In addition he must carry out the following:
1. Keep his hands and objects from his mouth. Food that is dirty or is infected should not be taken. Food that has been drooped on the floor should not be eaten. Dirty and contaminated water should never be taken. Where there is no tap water, all drinking water should be boiled.
2. Before eating the hands should be washed with soap and water, especially immediately after using the toilet. All raw food and fruits must be thoroughly washed before being eaten since they are likely to be contaminated in the farm. Do not eat uncooked or half-cooked food. Always cover your food to keep away flies and other disease carrying insects.
3. Have good toilet or latrines. These should be located a good distance from the house. It should always be kept clean and well covered. Excreta should never be placed at unauthorized places.
4. The feet are the most likely places to be wounded than other parts of the body. One should always wear shoes. The practice of removing shoes when one is walking through water or over dirty places is not good. Shoes should always be put on to protect the feet from cuts and from the entry of worms. In case of cuts, immediate treatment with antiseptics should be given. The wound should be covered with a bandage.
5. Destroy all stagnant water. Some disease-carrying insects live and breed there. Spray the house with flit, shelltox, etc. regularly to kill all dangerous insects.
6. It is dangerous to sneeze, cough and spit about. Where there is a cough always cover it up.
7. Certain diseases such as small pox, cholera, tetanus, yellow fever, etc. can be prevented by immunization. Go to the health centres to do so. When this is done then you cannot be attacked by these diseases.
8. Always stay away from people who have infectious diseases such as cold. All infected persons should see the doctor. After receiving treatment they should always stay in bed, avoid crowded places such as cinema houses, classes and buses.
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