Given that most of our efforts to control viruses and bacteria focus on cleaning surfaces, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to airborne transmission. Chances are that unless you’ve worked in healthcare, you haven’t given much thought to what diseases stay in the air other than THE infamous virus. Keep reading to learn how to prevent them and the different types.
Certain diseases can spread when a person with the infection coughs, sneezes, or talks. This disperses nasal and throat secretions into the air which can either hang in the air or land on other people or surfaces. You can get sick from breathing in these pathogenic organisms, or by touching surfaces that harbor them and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
A disease is airborne when you can catch it simply by breathing.
There are some personal measures anyone can take to prevent spreading airborne diseases such as staying home when sick, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, avoid touching your face, and wearing a face mask.
Another way to reduce the spread of airborne pathogens is to invest in an UV-C air purifier. At UV CAN Sanitize, our top-selling Tulip 2 and Cosmos Wall Mount air purifiers are not only equipped with a HEPA filter and activated carbon filter, but also germicidal UV-C lights that inactivate (aka, “kill”) viruses and bacteria, reducing their concentration in the air indoors.
Tulip 2 UV Air Purifier
Tulip 2 is the best portable air purifier for your home or your desk in the office as it disinfects and purifiers the air at a rate of 41 to 65 ft³ per minute.
Cosmos Wall Mount disinfects at a rate of 588 ft³ per minute making it perfect for your large office space, boardroom, waiting room, or reception area.
While research has come a long way in developing vaccines to eradicate and prevent many harmful pathogens from spreading, some are still pervasive in the community, households, or workplaces. By reading the list below, you can learn which types of pathogens (such as viruses or bacteria) cause which diseases.
1. Neisseria Meningitidis – Invasive Meningococcal Disease
The bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis can invade the blood or meninges, causing an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (Meningitis) and/or blood infection (Septicemia). These illnesses are very serious and can infect others. Antibiotics are used to stop the bacteria from spreading.
2. Influenza Viruses – Influenza (Flu)
You can get flu symptoms 1 to 4 days after exposure to the virus with the most common ones being fever, cough, and muscle aches and pain. The infection can range from mild to very serious. You can treat flu symptoms with rest, fluids (like water), and medication that reduces fever and aches.
3. Rhinovirus – Common Cold
Rhinovirus was first discovered in 1956 and accounts for more than 80% of common colds between September to November in temperate climates. The common cold still spreads year-round to people of all ages. However, children under 7 are more susceptible than adults.
4. Bordetella Pertussis – Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Whooping cough is caused by bacteria and happens every year all around the world. Between 1,000 and 3,000 people in Canada fall ill from pertussis each year. The coughing fits can be so serious, that a “whooping” sound happens when you try to catch your breath.
5. Coxiella Burnetti – Q Fever (Query Fever)
Q Fever spreads from animals to humans and is especially concerning for workers that have contact with animals, animal products, or animal waste. Infections can start from breathing in as few as 10 bacteria microbes. The most common symptoms are like a serious case of the flu.
6. Chlamydia Psittaci – Psittacosis
Bacteria cause Psittacosis which spreads from infected birds to humans, and has mild flu-like symptoms. Humans get infected when breathing in the bird’s secretions, such as urine or dried feces, that are aerosolized (i.e. dispersed in the air as dust or fine droplets). It is an occupational health hazard for people who work with birds.
7. Group A Streptococcus – Strep Throat
Strep throat can range from mild symptoms such as pain and inflammation in the throat to severe including a fever and difficulty swallowing. It is especially common for children 5 to 15 years old. The bacteria that cause strep throat also cause scarlet fever and other diseases.
8. Group A Streptococcus – Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever can include the symptoms of strep throat accompanied by a fever of 38.3º C (101º F) or higher, strawberry-like appearance of the tongue, and a characteristic red rash. It is caused by the same Group A strep bacteria that cause strep throat and is treated with antibiotics.
9. Varicella Virus – Chicken Pox
Varicella is a very common and contagious virus that mostly affects children and is found worldwide. The defining symptom is skin lesions all over the body. It has the potential to spread among 65%-87% of susceptible household contacts.
10. Mumps Virus – Mumps
Mumps is a very contagious virus that causes painful swelling in the cheeks and neck. While it spreads very easily, it is less contagious than measles or chickenpox. The best way to prevent it is with the mumps vaccine.
Staying informed is the first step to preventing airborne transmission. If you are looking to incorporate other preventative measures, check out our UV air purifiers, Tulip 2 and Cosmos Wall Mount for your home or workplace respectively.
UV CAN Sanitize is a proud member of the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA). If you want to read more about what is UV and how it works to disinfect, we highly recommend this article from them. We also answer FAQs about UV light devices on our own website here.