Discussing contagious diseases
Infectious diseases, also called public diseases, are caused by microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Even though science is getting better all the time, infectious diseases are still a problem for the whole world. They are one of the main reasons of human suffering, and the number of people who get sick and die from them has been rising throughout human history (Jackson et al., 2021). This paper looks at a disease that can be spread, in this case influenza, focusing on its causes, symptoms, way of spreading, consequences, and treatment.
We also go over the profiles of people who are at risk, the factors that affect health, the epidemiological triad of a communicable disease, and the role of the nurse practitioner in taking care of an infectious disease.
A Look at an Infectious Disease
Influenza, or “the flu” as it is often called, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the influenza viruses. There are mild and severe forms of the disease. In some cases, the serious forms lead to hospitalization and, in the end, death. (CDC, 2020) There are three types of flu viruses: A, B, and C. People of all ages can get moderate to serious respiratory illnesses because of influenza type A. It can spread to both people and other animals. People have learned that wild birds, especially ducks, can spread the influenza type A virus.
Influenza type B tends to cause weaker flu symptoms than influenza type A, and young children are most likely to get it. Since influenza type B is more stable than influenza type A, it has less antigenic drift and, as a result, immune stability. This is why it only affects people. Influenza type C, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to make people sick very often. This may be because most cases don’t cause any symptoms. Flu usually causes a sore throat, fever that comes on quickly, headache, cough that doesn’t clear the airways, and muscle pain. Most of the time, the fever comes on quickly, and the patient may even be able to remember the exact time it started. Flu can also cause chest pain below the breastbone, runny nose, and eye problems like sensitivity to light and eye pain.
Influenza can lead to complications like pneumonia, Reye syndrome, which mostly affects children and almost never affects adults, and myocarditis. The most common and common side effect of influenza is pneumonia. The Reye syndrome is common in kids who take aspirin, and it usually happens when they have influenza type B. It makes people confused and make them throw up a lot. If the brain continues to swell, the person may fall into a coma. WHO reports that less than one person dies from flu for every 1,000 cases of the virus. There are two ways to deal with the flu: vaccination and medicine. In the U.S., there are two kinds of vaccines: the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) and the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) (Rockman et al., 2020). Vaccinations normally make people immune for less than a year. There are a number of antiviral medicines that can be used to treat the flu. Rimantadine, amantadine, oseltamivir, and zanamivir are the four antiviral drugs that can be used in the U.S. The first two are not often suggested, though, because U.S. flu samples have been shown to be resistant to them.
Children under the age of 59 months, pregnant women, people over the age of 65, people with immune-suppressing diseases like cancer and HIV, and people with long-term health problems like pulmonary and cardiac diseases are most likely to get the flu or have serious illness and complications from it. (Jackson et al., 2021) Studies have shown that 5 to 7 outpatient visits for flu are made for every 100 children every year. The CDC says that the number of deaths caused by flu usually depends on the type and subtype of the virus, the year, and the age group. It is also said that flu leads to an average of more than 200,000 deaths per year, with about 37% of these happening to people younger than 65 (CDC, 2020). In nursing homes, however, the attack rate is as high as 60%, and as many as 30% of the attacks end in death.
What Makes Someone Healthy?
Healthy People 2020 says that the things that determine health are social forces, policy-making, biology and genetics, individual behavior, and health services. All of these things are important in figuring out who gets influenza. People usually end up with bad health because of the way they interact with their surroundings. Whether or not someone is likely to get the flu depends on their physical and social surroundings, including how they get around, how good the schools are, where they live, and how safe their neighborhood is. Flu can also spread in homes and public places that are dirty and have too many people.
In terms of biology and genetics, things like age, HIV status, inherited conditions, or a family history of long-term diseases like heart disease could make a person more likely to get the flu. Some things people do can make them more likely to get the flu virus. These include not washing their hands and using smokes or any other inhaled drug. When you wash your hands, you stop the virus from going from one person to the next. On the other hand, smoking makes it hard for the body to breathe properly. Having access to health services is also important for fighting the flu bug. Proper health services will make sure that people are immunized against the flu virus and that those who get the flu have choices for treatment.
Any infectious disease generally has a host, a cause, and an environment. These three things are called the epidemiologic triad. As a susceptible host, a person is a person who can get the sickness. Taking into account things like biology and traits that affect health, some people are more likely to get sick from the flu virus than others. For example, children younger than 59 months and people older than 65 are the most likely to get sick from the flu virus. The Hemophilus influenza virus is the microbe that spreads the virus. This microbe is called the agent. The disease spreads because the world is a good place for it to do so. Again, keeping health factors in mind, busy places and places with poor hygiene make it easier for the flu virus to spread.
What a Nurse Practitioner Does
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) says that a nurse practitioner’s job includes, but is not limited to, assessment, ordering, performing, supervising, and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests, making diagnoses, starting and managing treatment, coordinating care, counseling, and educating patients, their families, and their communities (AANP, 2015). Taking all of these roles into account, nurse practitioners play a very important part in dealing with the flu virus. As part of their preventive and promotional services, nurses teach patients, their families, and the community about how to avoid getting the flu. These include washing your hands and being clean when you cough or sneeze. They also help children and people get vaccinated (Wiley, 2016). Nurse practitioners can also help people get better. For example, they can give preventative drugs to people who have the flu. Nurses also keep an eye on how infections are spreading and report back to the health team with possible ways to stop the spread.
American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2015). Scope of Practice for Nurse Practitioners. Retrieved from https://www.aanp.org/advocacy/advocacy-resource/position-statements/scope-of-practice-for-nurse-practitioners:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine –Preventable Diseases. Retrieved fro https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/flu.html
Jackson, M. L., Scott, E., Kuypers, J., Nalla, A. K., Roychoudury, P., & Chu, H. Y. (2021). Epidemiology of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Across Five Influenza Seasons Among Adults and Children One Year of Age and Older—Washington State, 2011/2012–2015/2016. The Journal of Infectious Diseases 223:1, 147-156
Rockman, S., Laurie, K. L., Parkes, S., Wheatley, A., & Barr, I. G. (2020). New Technologies for Influenza Vaccines. Microorganisms 8:11, 1745.
Wiley, S. K. (2016). Nurses’ most important role this flu season: Get Vaccinated. National Library of Medicine, 46(10): 58-60. Retrieved from https://doi:10.1097/01.NURSE.0000494656.90248.0d
World Health Organization (2021). Influenza: Burden of Disease. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/influenza/surveillance_monitoring/bod/en/
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