Treatment of Infectious Diseases

Acute Diseases:

  • An acute disease is a disease which lasts for just a short time but can begin rapidly and have intense symptoms.
  • Example: Common cold, Influenza, malaria, cholera, etc.

Characteristics of Acute Diseases:

  • The onset of the acute disease is usually abrupt and is from a single cause
  • This type of disease develops quickly and worsens rapidly, such as an infection, trauma or injury.
  • The symptoms and acute pain last for few days only, and after healing of the patient, the symptoms disappear.
  • Such diseases can be diagnosed and treated accordingly.
  • Once treated these diseases generally do not have any long-term effect.
  • There is a possibility that the healing may take place on its own. and the patient returns to normal within a few days.
  • The disease usually isolated to one bodily area
  • If acute disease lasts longer than three months, it may lead to chronic disease.

Types of Acute Diseases:

  • Common short-term infections: common colds, influenza, sore throat, acute sinusitis, ear infection, urine infection, etc.
  • Severe diseases: pneumonia, bronchitis, encephalomyelitis.
  • Physical injury: a cut, broken bone, muscle tearing, sprain, burn or trauma
  • Organ failures: a heart attack or kidney failure

Treatment of Acute Diseases:

  • For minor illnesses such as the common cold medical treatment is not necessary. If the disease is more serious medication and in some cases, a few days of hospitalization is required.
  • Information about these diseases is available easily and precise laboratory testing, medication, and surgical procedures are available. Hence most of the acute diseases can be treated and cured and the patient returns to normal life.

Chronic Diseases:

  • A chronic disease is a disease which is persistent. It lasts for a long period of time and might recur.
  • Examples: asthma, arthritis, tuberculosis, cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.

Characteristics of Chronic Diseases:

  • The onset of the chronic disease is commonly gradual.
  • This type of disease develops slowly and worsens slowly over a long period.
  • The duration of chronic diseases is lengthy and indefinite.
  • Diagnosis of chronic diseases is often uncertain and takes a long time and a lengthy process for accurate diagnosis.
  • Once treated these diseases can have long-term effect and possibility of recurrence is there.
  • There is no possibility of auto-healing. A proper long medical treatment is required.
  • There are multiple causes for the diseases including generic and environmental.
  • Chronic disease is the major cause of deaths.

Treatment of Chronic Disease:

  • Effective treatment of chronic disease requires that the physician and patient work together on a long-term basis. The physician, observes symptoms over a period and interpret the condition, trend and the rate of change of the diseases in the patient.

Sign and Symptoms of Disease:

  • A symptom is any subjective evidence of disease, while a sign is any objective evidence of disease. Thus, a symptom is a phenomenon that is experienced by the individual affected by the disease, while a sign is a phenomenon that can be detected by someone other than the individual affected by the disease.
  • For examples, anxiety, pain, and fatigue are all symptoms can be experienced by an individual suffering from the disease. While a bloody nose is a sign of injured blood vessels in the nose that can be detected by another person. Rashes, swelling of glands, change in colour of skin and eyes, oedema, etc. are other signs which give the doctor a good idea about diseases. For e.g. a yellowish colour of skin and eye can be due to hepatitis. Red sticky eyes are due to conjunctivitis, etc.


  • When we suffer from a disease, we feel unwell because some part or parts of our body are not working normally. This indication of diseases can be perceived by us only. These indications are called symptoms. Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms. General signs and symptoms common to a number of infectious diseases include fever, diarrhoea, fatigue. muscle aches, coughing.
  • Patient has to tell the symptoms to the doctor because the doctor cannot see or feel them.
  • Symptoms only indicate that the patient is suffering by diseases but they do not indicate what disease.


  • Diagnosis means a process of identifying the disease from symptoms and signs.
  • Apart from knowing symptoms and observing signs, a doctor may measure temperature, blood pressure, the body weight of the patient.
  • The doctor on this basis of initial diagnosis may prescribe some initial tests like complete Blood Check (CBC), urine routine, stool routine, blood and urine sugar level, etc. to narrow the possible diagnostic options and choose initial treatments.

Treatment of Infectious Diseases:

For Reducing Symptoms:

  • This treatment is done only for the comfort of the patient because this treatment does not cure diseases but reduces symptoms. For e.g. If the patient is suffering from pain can be given painkiller. The painkiller does not remove the cause of the pain or treat the diseases but reduces the perception of pain. Similarly, a cough syrup clears the respiratory tract but does not act on the cause of the infection.
  • The diseases like influenza do not have a cure. In this case, medication which reduces the aches and fever are prescribed.

For Elimination of Disease:

  • The agents causing infectious diseases are viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoan, parasites, and worms. They differ from each other in many ways. A single drug cannot kill them all.  Hence in such treatment doctor has to focus on each type of infectious agent separately.
  • Biochemical Pathway: A number of biochemical processes going on inside the living cell. During these biochemical processes energy and some chemical substances are produced. The energy and the substances produce are essential for the proper life function of the cell.  Scientists study the biochemistry of the infectious agent to find out which of these processes can be attached by the drug. The drug should be such that it should not harm the biochemical processes of the human being or animal to whom the drug is administered.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are the drugs which are used for curing of diseases produced by bacteria. There is a wide range of antibiotics which attack different processes and structure in bacteria to kill them or to stop their growth. Antibiotic Penicillin stops the production of a compound needed for making cell wall in bacteria. The cell content of bacteria grows but the cell was is prevented from expanding due to unavailability of the material for it and under pressure from internal content, the cell bursts and the bacteria is killed. Other types of antibiotics act on other processes in bacteria such as protein synthesis.

Antibiotics Do Not Work on Viruses:

  • Viruses are not cells. They are genetic material inside protein cover.   They do not have cytoplasm or cell organelles, hence no biochemical processes occur in the. To multiply they enter the cell of a living organism (hos).
  • Viruses use resources of the host to produce their copies. Antibiotics act on biochemical processes of the infecting agent. As the biochemical processes are absent in viruses, there is no effect of antibiotics on viruses.

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