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Airborne Diseases: ’Tis the Season!

June 07th, 2005

By Stal Herz

Perhaps there is not the same excitement level you may have had back when the start of summer meant no school for two months and trips to the local pool and, perhaps, a first summer romance. No, this is now the time when maybe you have squeezed away just enough to take a summer getaway to free yourself from the stress of life and allow your body a chance to breathe. Befor

e you pack your bags and start making animated lines on the map, the change in the climate brings about a new health threat. Airborne diseases and viruses are at an alarmingly increased level of possibility during the warmer months of spring and summer.

While the American health care system has done an amazing job staving off infections such as the ones infiltrating Africa (See the recent news of the Ebola Virus that has resurfaced in Angola), there are a number of other threatening viruses that are spread by insects (West Niles) in these upcoming months. It is important to protect and educate yourself before a sickness sets in.

You need to do more than just put up a mosquito net and spray repellent on you and your loved ones.

If you have any unopened containers of stale water either laying around or outside of your house, you need to dispose of them or cover them tightly. Open, moist areas are not only a breeding ground for mold and mildew, but for mosquitoes as well.

These months bring about an elevated alert of West Nile Virus as well as mutations of similar diseases. You can bet that since it has been around for some years now, there are new strands that are becoming stronger with each generation of the virus.

A dirty sink is a breading ground for disease, not only attracting mosquitoes, but ants and roaches as well. As it heats up more outside, bugs will crawl in to structures looking for food and a cooler place to live. If you have dishes with food particles on them lying around in your kitchen, infections you don’t even realize are there can become airborne in your house, causing you sickness or severe fatigue.

The Airborne transmission of a disease occurs when a large amount of dust or pollen is present in the air and acts as a carrier that causes a virus to spread. With the increase in sensitivity to allergies for the spring and summer season the infection window opens even wider.

When someone blows their nose, coughs, sneezes or even laughs, they let out little drops moisture that can easily travel through the air and spread disease quickly. These drops of moisture settle on the millions of dust particles that are lying dormant on your floor or in your carpet and get kicked up into the air and into your body.

During the aftermath of floods or earthquakes, much of the death toll comes from infections that travel in the form of airborne diseases created by lack of proper sanitation.

Spring cleaning just got a little more important.

Lat week we discussed the dangers of mold spores becoming airborne and spreading infection. We received so much attention to that that we decided to expand on the dangers that exist around your house and possibly your work area to keep you from being healthy and productive. Often times finding out about a disease is done when it is already too late because it has already settled in and taken hold of your system.

This time, when taking care of your spring cleaning, you may want to throw away your old bedding or linens, as dust mites tend to live inside fabrics or materials that develop moisture and sweat. These are the perfect conditions for the spread of disease.

So then, how can you protect yourself from diseases that are constantly in the air? Make sure you are keeping your immune system at high levels with plenty of vitamin C and exercise. Coffee, alcohol and smoking in the summer carry an increased risk level because there are a greater number of hazards flying around in the air.

You should be on code orange because viruses are mutating in an attempt to penetrate your body and make you sick. It is their nature. They are looking for a feeding source, so if your immune system is weak, it becomes easier to attack.

Build up the inside of your body and keep your home clean. It may do more than just give you a fresh outlook for the summertime - It could make the difference between a vacation and sick leave.

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