Diseases That Can Be Prevented by Social Distancing

Social Distancing is the most effective way to control the outbreak of a pandemic. Be it coronavirus or other infectious diseases, the implementation of NPI’s has always been helpful.

The existence of Human civilization is repeatedly challenged by epidemics and infectious diseases throughout the entire history of mankind and sometimes they even went on to put the entire world’s population on a halt. Nothing has devastated and killed people, more than an epidemic. Epidemics reshaped human societies and redrawn maps in a profound way. Out of all the epidemics that have occurred yet in history, some of them had overwhelming aftermaths on human society by annihilating more than half of the global population. With passing time, the epidemics faded and some of them were eradicated.

But, have you ever reckoned that what had history’s worst known infectious disease outbreak has to teach us? Well, two things for sure. First, humans are vulnerable and it does not take much for an epidemic to wipe us out of the globe and second if we don’t break the link between us and the disease, we’re never going to get alive out of it. If we don’t learn this time from the past, then we may not be able to uphold our future. The enemy is invisible and rapidly advancing which also has the power to unleash human suffering and magnify economic destruction on an unprecedented scale. But even when the situation went out of control and helpless, social distancing worked as an effective way to dampen the wave of deaths.

 If you take a look back at history, the occurrence of coronavirus could not have been any more predictable. But, this time it’s essential that we learn from the pandemics that have occurred already because the inherent behavior of humans remains constant when their lives are in danger. There is no vaccine or a certain treatment for coronavirus. The only way we can make through the coronavirus pandemic is by maintaining social distancing. Social distancing can be of great help in limiting the spread of a disease like a coronavirus as it tends to break the link between humans and the disease.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing creates space between people and slowdowns the expanse of a highly contagious disease. The ministry of health and family welfare defines social distancing as a non-pharmaceutical infection prevention and control intervention implemented to decrease the contact between those individuals who are infected with the disease-causing pathogen and those who are not, in order to stop or slow down the rate and extent of disease in a community. Social distancing leads to a decrease in the spread, morbidity, and mortality due to the pandemic. The disease spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, and infected droplets containing the virus, falls from their mouth or nose and are launched into the air or land into the mouths of other people who were in close contact with them. And this way the cycle of transmission continues.

In the case of coronavirus, where there is no human treatment available for coronavirus, social distancing is adopted by all the countries as per the suggestion of WHO. As the spread of a pandemic is very quick, it doesn’t take much time for the disease to enter the stage of community transmission. And it becomes very problematic to break the chain of people getting infected by coronavirus.

There are a lot of diseases that can be prevented though social distancing.

Social distancing is the most effective way to distance the disease from communities. The main objective of the governments of different countries is to keep sick people away from healthy ones.

Whenever humanity has been targeted by an unknown and invisible enemy in the form of a virus, the national and local authorities went to save the population of the world by means of social distancing. Here is a list of the diseases whose spread has been controlled by Social Distancing.

List of Diseases That Can Be Prevented By Social Distancing

1. Coronavirus

Despite increased surveillance for keeping the suspect of coronavirus in the isolation ward, the risk is enduring, as the number of cases infected by coronavirus reaches 2,240,191 worldwide. But a combined approach of both the government and the people could deter the national outbreak of coronavirus at considerably low levels of infectivity.

By maintaining social distancing through comprising quarantine, school closure, and workplace measures are the only and most effective way to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In the bacteriamidst of this global crisis, social distancing is being practiced across almost all countries around the world. As the virus has swept into 293 countries, it’s further expanding its reach and is wreaking havoc worldwide. By keeping social distancing or as the scientist says by ‘ flattening the curve’, we can crack the growing chain of the virus and put a halt to the global transmission of coronavirus.

2. Flu

The best way to prevent the spread of infectious flu is by running an annual vaccination program. But what if a new flu virus appears that can spread rapidly from person to person, creating a flu pandemic, a vaccine must not be able immediately? It may take time for the scientists and the doctors to analyze and create a vaccine, but what do we do until then?

Also Read: COVID-19 and past traumas : the pandemic bringing back blue emotions

We do social distancing!

Social distancing and closure interventions may be a little difficult to carry out across all the parts of a vast country but are the most effective way to stop or some the rate of expansion of the disease.

3. Ebola

The 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak, killed more than 4000 people and infected around 10000 people in Liberia alone. In order to limit the spread of the disease, the tool of social distancing and isolation of suspected cases played a vital role. Assembling rigid procedures for the examination of the cogency of the control measures enforced to stop an outbreak is of supreme importance. Most of the Ebola cases resulted from getting in touch with the person infected by the virus. Community distancing helped the most in limiting the virus to spread. The main purpose of social distancing back then was the same as it is today. It minimizes the physical contact between people and thereby reduces the possibility of new infections.

4. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis can stay suspended in the atmosphere for a long time with no ventilation. As it applies to all the cases, so as in the case of tuberculosis, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) is the only licensed vaccine against TB and has been in use since 1921. A person who has exposure to TB can infect 10-15 people in a year. TB is an airborne infection and that is why it is highly contagious. The bacteria of TB gets launched into the air when some infected person coughs or sneezes. Social distancing is an effective way to reduce the risk of infection. The spread of TB is reduced through the use of protective masks, ventilation systems and by keeping an appropriate distance from infected persons. As an individual is most likely to be exposed to TB bacteria if they come in contact with a person infected with TB, the best way to prevent yourself from the  is by social distancing.

5. Plague

For centuries, people have used containment methods to regulate the expanse of communicable diseases. These methods include surveillance, quarantine, and border controls. In the absence of pharmaceutical treatments and cures, the implementation of NPI is the most effective way to control the pandemic.

When the back plague was on its way to wipe out entire Europe, Venice founded the first quarantine island to save the people from the death wave. There is no proper data that provides information about the exact number of people killed by the disease. But historical accounts elucidate the longevity of NPI practices. The 1918 flu was one of the deadliest pandemics that has occurred in the world but is also the greatest example of the implementation of social distancing.

6. Smallpox

According to the World Health Organization, the variola virus, which causes smallpox is an airborne infection. Smallpox can now be prevented by the smallpox vaccine, but back then when the outbreak occurred and there was no vaccine available for the disease, the only option left to save the people from exposure to the disease was by social distancing.

7. HIV

Every time a disease outbreak occurs, it takes a test of our health systems and social bonds in unprecedented ways. Today, there are some tools and medications that can prevent the expansion of HIV. Currently, there is no vaccination available for the treatment of HIV infection. The best way to treat HIV infection is by taking the medicine, called antiretroviral therapy (ART), which lowers the amount of HIV in blood.

But if you think that you have possible exposure to HIV, you must maintain distance from your partner until you haven’t consumed the medicine.

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Social Distancing Tips

We are undergoing a global crisis, thus taking precautionary measures is very important to limit the spread of coronavirus. Here are some tips to practice social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak :

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people.
  • Avoid mass gatherings.
  • Stay out of crowded places.
  • Limit close contact with individuals
  • Cover your face and mouth when around others.
  • Follow guidance from authorities
  • Work from home
  • Keep yourself updated.

Tags: Social distancing rules, Social distancing at work, Social distancing tips

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for CheapMedicineShop.com. She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.