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Causes of Common Communicable Diseases

By Eliza Martinez ; Updated August 14, 2017

Hillendale Health describes a communicable disease as one that is passed from human to human through direct or indirect contact. Common ones include chicken pox, ringworm, influenza, scabies, lice, pinkeye and hepatitis. Prevention includes good hygiene skills, safe sex and using reputable sources for tattoos, piercing and blood transfusions. There are several things that cause a communicable disease and knowing the risk can help a person take measures to protect themselves and those they come into contact with.

Bodily Fluid Exchange

According to the Oregon Department of Health, communicable diseases can be spread through unprotected sex, sharing needles for drug use, blood transfusions, tattoos or piercings and bites from a child. Pregnant women can pass a disease to their children as well. Prevention of spreading communicable diseases through bodily fluids is achieved through hand washing, safe sex and using clean needles for drug use and tattoos and piercings. The most common communicable diseases spread through bodily fluids are HIV and Hepatitis B, C and D.

Direct/Indirect Contact

Contact with people suffering from a communicable disease, either directly or indirectly can cause the spread of that disease. Direct contact includes skin to skin, which can spread ringworm and scabies. Indirect contact refers to germs being spread through coughing, sneezing or spitting onto a person who then transfers the germs to their mouth, nose or eyes. The Oregon Department of Health says that good prevention practices include frequent hand washing, keeping hands off the face, and isolating a person who has a communicable disease. The most common diseases that are spread through contact are the common cold, influenza and whooping cough.

Airborne Germs

Airborne germs are spread by being suspended in the air by the sick individual through a cough or sneeze and then inhaled by another person. The most common communicable diseases that are transmitted through airborne germs are tuberculosis, measles and chicken pox. Prevention methods include vaccinations and isolating a person who is ill to prevent them from spreading the disease to another person.

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