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Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases affect one’s ability to breathe and involve the airways as well as the lungs. There are many bacteria and viruses that can be spread by breathing in infectious droplets. Examples of respiratory diseases include pertussis, influenza, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and respiratory syncytial virus. These respiratory illnesses are spread from person-to-person by respiratory droplets released during talking, coughing, laughing or sneezing. Influenza and other respiratory viruses may also be spread by direct contact with contaminated objects and then touching one’s mouth or nose. The spread of pertussis through contaminated objects occurs rarely if at all.

How to prevent respiratory diseases:

  • Good hygiene habits prevent and reduce the transmission of influenza and other respiratory viruses by:
    • Covering your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when sneezing or coughing,
    • Disposing of tissues properly,
    • Washing hands frequently, and
    • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers if hands are not visibly soiled.
  • When sick with a fever and cough:
    • Stay home from work, school, church, or other daily activities outside of the home,
    • Avoid other crowded areas or events like shopping malls or sports arenas,
    • Do not visit nursing homes, hospitals, or other long-term care facilities,
    • Do not visit people at increased risk for severe flu-related complications.

Please use the links for additional information about selected respiratory diseases:

Influenza
Enteroviruses
Tuberculosis
Legionellosis
Pertussis
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) 

External Resources: 

Bronchitis (Chest Cold) (CDC)
Common Cold (CDC)
Sinus Infection
(CDC)

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