You can’t deny it, but Coronavirus is here. Restaurants and bars are closed. Supplies are barely on the shelves as stores are picked clean from panic buying. We barely know what COVID-19 is, all we know is it is scary. What people don’t know is the diseases lurking in the shadows are much, much scarier then Coronavirus.
Influenza and Pneumonia are the top respiratory infections in the country. 3 million people are diagnosed every year with these conditions. The reason I combined is that they are like twins. If you catch one and it gets bad you’ll get the second one. They are airborne diseases spread with contaminated cough droplets. We hear influenza begin discussed in great lengths today because it has symptoms similar to that of COVID-19. Pneumonia occurs when the mucus sacs in the lungs begin to overfill. Even though people today died from flu complications treatment for such illnesses is available over the counter at almost any store. If you need help picking a medication to ask the pharmacist for assistance. They will gladly help you find the right treatment for your Influenza, so it doesn’t become Pneumonia.
Is a disease that lives in contaminated food and drink. You get it by consuming such products. Like Polio, Cholera is primarily found in water. It causes diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea which leads to dehydration. Cholera is developed by a bacteria called Vibrio cholera. Today cholera is still active, resulting in 4 million cases a year. There are medication and a vaccine available to the public, so it is no longer the death sentence it once was. The most famous outbreak occurred on Broad Street in England in 1850. This one significantly important because this is where John Snow scientifically proved the virus was waterborne making it a huge discovery at its time. John realized all the infected people were getting water from one particular pump in town. He pleaded with the city to permit him to remove the pump handle. Out of options, the town agreed to it. Once the pump handle was removed all cases stopped in the area. The pump today is a unique tourist attraction, but be careful because the virus is still active inside the waterline.
Polio is a water-borne disease that ravaged in the country in sporadic epidemics all through the 1900s. It causes a decrease in muscle mass leading to an inability to move. Polio survives and multiplies in the blood and lymphatics of the body. It is a lifelong disease that once you get it, you get it forever. There is a vaccine available today that is usually administered during our youth. The vaccine was invented by John Salk in the 1950s. But, before we could irradiate it as we did with Smallpox it is developing an immunity to it causing doctors to improve on Salk’s design. The anti-vaccination movement is also helping this newly developed form of Polio as more and more parents are opting their children out of these medication programs.
It is an infectious bacterial fever spread through contaminated food and drinks. The bacteria that carries it is called Salmonella typhi. This virus is very unique because people can be carriers of this disease without even realizing it. One famous case about a human carrier is the story of Typhoid Mary who was an Irish cook. At the time it was unusual for cooks to wash there hands before preparing meals. This is how Mary was able to carve a path of destruction throughout New York. At the time modern medicine was new so not a lot of people believed the doctors trying to push this new antibacterial concept. It got so bad in Mary’s case that they locked her up on a prison island just to get her to stop cooking for other people. Too bad Mary wasn’t alive today because a medication is available to the public. This doesn’t stop the virus though as the CDC report 16 million cases a year.
Killed: 1.6 million
This is one of the top 10 viral killers in the world today. It is a contagious infection spread via droplets much in the way flu works. A patient coughs spreading viral cells everywhere. Symptoms are a severe heavy cough with blood in the sputum. Today, 95% of cases are found in developing countries that have very little access to modern-day medications. In the 19th century, America was hit hard with this as more people headed West. It was given the name The White Plague. Tuberculous was romanticized at the time for how slowly it killed you because it gave you enough time to get your affairs in order. A lot of pioneers often caught it which lead to the slur ‘lunger’ in these old west towns. This was because doctors were few and far in between it could take weeks before you could reach a medical professional. There are several treatment options available to help you manage your symptoms better, and a vaccine to prevent it in the first place.