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Communicable Disease Symptoms

By Skyler White ; Updated August 14, 2017

Communicable diseases quickly spread amongst a population, as they are extremely contagious. These diseases are common conditions such as the flu, pinkeye or the cold. They have a variety of origins, most notably bacterial and viral. Several symptoms indicate whether contraction of these transient diseases occurred. Preventative measures of washing the hands before eating or touching the face and mouth can significantly reduce the spread of these diseases.

The Flu: Fever and Headache

Although the flu shares similar symptoms as the common cold, it is generally accompanied by a fever or headache not present during a cold, according to MedlinePlus. The flu is an upper respiratory infection caused by several viruses that pass through the air and invade the body through either the mouth or nose. Although the flu can be quite uncomfortable, it is rarely dangerous for healthy adults. However, the flu in individuals with suppressed immune systems, young children and the elderly can quickly progress and cause severe health complications including pneumonia. Doctors, hospitals and pharmacies offer yearly flu vaccinations to circumvent contraction.

The Common Cold: Sneezing, Sore Throat, Stuffy Nose and Coughing

The common cold is by far the most common illness in the United States. Medline Plus says that over a course of a year, people will endure one billion colds. Sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose and coughing may be similar to flu symptoms, however, it rarely causes headache or fever. There are over 200 different viruses responsible for the common cold, some of which are mild and some that are not. Rhinoviruses, for example, cause approximately 30 to 35 percent of all adult colds, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Contraction occurs at entry points of the mouth and nose where a contaminated hand or airborne virus enters the body. Always wash the hands and avoid crowded areas to prevent illness.

Ringworm: Itchy Red Ring-Shaped Raised Scaly Rash

Contracting ringworm starts when the fungus tinea infects the skin or the lungs. Fungi reproduce through tiny spores expelled through the air. Humans inhale these spores and the disease goes unnoticed until expressed on the skin, according to MedlinePlus. Ringworm is extremely contagious and appears as itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that often blister and ooze cellular fluid. Surrounding skin is often darker or lighter in color and forms a distinct “ring.” Ringworm of the scalp causes bald spots as the fungus infiltrates healthy hair follicles and induces hair loss. Antifungal treatments are essential in controlling ringworm. Refraining from scratching, picking or associated behavior minimizes the spread to the rest of the body as well as to others and pets.

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