The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out urgent health-related self-awareness for most people. The carefree days of just doing what you want regardless of consequences are slowly fading away. People are starting to become more cautious of their health and surroundings, especially since the World Health Organization’s record of COVID-19-related deaths worldwide has already accumulated to 4,666,334 as of September 20th, 2021.
But even though the avoidance of contracting COVID-19 should be well considered in your daily life, there are still several diseases you could get infected with at any time. Here are four of the scariest diseases you could contract, their surprisingly mundane causes, and tips on how you can avoid getting them.
Too much protein can cause cancer.
Scientists and medical professionals are still finding ways to prevent and cure cancer perfectly. Even with the pace that technology is advancing, the disease at which cells grow out of control is still shrouded with a lot of mystery until now. And as the world tries to uncover the secrets of this frightening illness, more shocking discoveries are surfacing.
Significant data found on various researches suggest that middle-aged people who have heavy and high-protein diets have a 9% increase in chances of dying of cancer than those who are on low-protein diets. According to WHO, the health risks of uncontrolled high-protein diets can be compared to the risks caused by smoking. This is primarily due to the Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 or IGF-1’s function of influencing the growth of both healthy and cancer cells.
You should not avoid protein altogether. The source of protein plays a vital role in this matter. Based on the same research, the mortality rate decreases by avoiding too much meat consumption. So, switching from pork, chicken, and beef on your daily menu to a diet focused on plant-based protein would be safer to get the nutrients you need while minimizing health risks. For more severe cases, targeted protein degradation services can also be availed to destroy disease-causing proteins.
You can get Hantavirus in your basement.
Many febrile hemorrhagic diseases can be caused by a virus found in rodent saliva, urine, and droppings. Hantavirus infection has a high mortality rate because of three reasons. Firstly, it can become airborne by simply sweeping rat droppings. The second reason is the fact that there is currently no discovered cure or vaccine for the virus. And lastly, since the symptoms can appear as that of the flu, people often fail to recognize it until it’s too late.
To avoid the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, it’s a must to ensure areas where rodents can live are always kept clean and sanitized. Rubber gloves and masks that cover your nose and face are also necessary when cleaning said areas.
Your contact lenses can carry parasites that induce blindness.
Acanthamoeba Keratitis is an eye infection that can result in permanent vision impairment. The cysts of this parasite are airborne since they can travel through the dust. They are also commonly found surviving in bodies of water. This means using tap water to clean your lenses or swimming and showering while wearing your lenses can lead to the parasite finding residence in your contacts.
Since Acanthamoeba Keratitis’ symptoms can be similar to those of other eye infections, it is highly advised to consult an eye doctor if you experience eye pain and redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, or feeling the sensation that there’s something in your eye constantly.
The best way to avoid this infection is through proper contact lens handling, such as using proper storage cases and cleaning your lenses with the proper solution before and after usage. Sanitizing your hands before handling your contacts, especially removing them before any contact with water, is also important.
Lakes, rivers, and hot springs are home to zombie amoebas.
No, they won’t make you crave brains. Naegleria fowleri, however, will digest its way into your brain tissue. This free-living amoeba, popularly known as the brain-eating amoeba, causes a fatal disease of the central nervous system called Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis.
Contrary to other amoebas that can infect you through drinking contaminated water, Naegleria fowleri exclusively enters your body through the nose and travels to the brain within 1-9 days since the exposure. The first stage of PAM includes severe headaches, fever, and vomiting. Stage 2 inflicts seizures, hallucinations, and more before ultimately leading to the death of almost everyone afflicted by it within 18 days.
With the current lack of studies regarding this disease and its cause, there are no guaranteed and standardized prevention methods for it other than avoiding water-related activities in warm freshwater. But since that can be quite impossible to achieve 100%, it would be best to avoid putting your head underwater in untreated hot springs and other fresh bodies of water with high temperatures. Using nose clips and refraining from stirring up sediments in warm freshwater areas are also suggested.
It should go without saying that avoiding contracting such diseases should be prioritized all the time. But living life fearful of these common causes can also be harmful to your mental health. The key is to be knowledgeable and aware of such things so you can proceed with caution, live your life to the fullest, and even help people prolong theirs.