A disease is basically a specific abnormal condition that negatively impacts the function or structure of a part or all of an organ, and this isn’t because of any direct external injury to the organ. Diseases are also often understood to be closely related to certain physical symptoms, and their etiology is often traced to the affected organs. For example, a disease which affects a patient’s lymphatic system and/or white blood cells (leukocytes) in a specific pattern is called lymphatic disease. Diseases that affect the nervous system or the brain directly, as in diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, are called neurologic diseases.
A disease can have many causes and can affect different individuals in varying degrees. In order for us to avoid contracting diseases, it is important that we know what kind of organisms cause them. Some infectious diseases are caused by fungi such as rotaviruses, salmonella, e-coli, listeria, staphylococcus, hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus. Other infectious diseases are caused by viruses including herpes, shingles, Epstein-Barr and rabies.
Other infectious diseases are caused by bacteria such as staphylococcus, streptococcus and a few others. These organisms may be airborne, ingested or inhaled; or they can develop in a person after coming into contact with contaminated food or water. Examples of bacteria that cause infections include anthrax, food poisoning and yeast infections.
All these organisms need a host in order to survive, and thus, when they die or cease to function properly, they sometimes leave behind potentially harmful pathogens, for which the body has to fight off. These pathogens, in turn, can cause various forms of infections and may also trigger allergies, rashes, skin conditions, headaches, fatigue and other symptoms. Sometimes, the body’s immune system may be weakened because of the presence of these pathogens. If this happens, it may trigger an outbreak of an infection when the body tries to fight off these germs. This cycle of infection and resistance is what causes most cases of food-borne diseases.
Food-borne diseases are difficult to prevent in certain situations because they are easily spread and may occur right after ingestion. For example, if a person is using pesticides while gardening, he may transfer these chemicals to the fruits and vegetables he is eating, resulting in infections from their touching. Another example: if you are using a nail polish to color your nails, you may accidentally rub your eyes with the polish, which can transfer the germs to your face.
The best way to prevent acquiring these types of diseases is to limit the number of germs you get into contact with. Make sure you wash all your hands every time you handle food, and always wash your hands thoroughly whenever you touch surfaces to which you may be exposed. Make sure your hands are clean before you eat. Use plastic hand covers instead of your regular towels to avoid passing on bacteria. If possible, choose unspoiled fruits and vegetables whenever possible. You can also buy plastic bags to keep the cut fruits fresh until you need them.