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3 Common Illnesses You Can Catch as an Adult

Updated: Jan 16

If you have exciting plans coming up soon—whether you’re planning on seeing some old friends or taking your family on a trip—you probably feel ecstatic about having a good time. However, life might have other plans, and you could fall sick. The best way to fight an illness is to prevent it beforehand. Here are three common illnesses you can catch as an adult—stay smarter with your health!

Common Cold or Flu

Considered a contagious respiratory illness, the cold or flu is among the three common illnesses you can catch as an adult. The common cold originates from several viruses such as rhinoviruses or parainfluenza, while the flu exclusively comes from influenza viruses.

The flu is known to have worse side effects than the cold, but both cause stuffy noses, coughing, and sneezing. However, the differences vary in degree of severity and longevity. If you catch a cold, you’ll have gradual symptoms such as fatigue, sneezing, coughing, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat. Meanwhile, the flu has an abrupt onset of symptoms, including a fever, chills and aches, chest discomfort, headaches, and weakness. It’s best to rest, stay hydrated, and take over-the-counter medications to speed up the recovery process.

Food Poisoning

Every adult should become aware of the many different types of foodborne illnesses. It’s also essential to know what foods can affect you and give you infections such as Salmonella. Food poisoning results from ingesting contaminated, toxic, or spoiled food, which causes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms can resolve in about a week, but some cases can last as long as eight weeks.

Other foodborne bacteria include E. coli, Campylobacter, Shigella, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria, and Clostridium botulinum. So make sure to nourish your body with hydration and rest while considering some over-the-counter medication to ease the pain.


Conjunctivitis can come from either your own body or someone else. The inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and part of the eyeball, can come from a bacteria or viral infection, an allergy to pollen or animal dander, or chemical irritants. Some symptoms—which can redness, burning, itching, pus-like discharge, or crusting on the eyelids—can last from a few hours to several weeks.

Prevention is a vital step for conjunctivitis. Tips such as washing your hands frequently, not touching your eyes, discarding used eye makeup, washing your clothes and linens, and avoiding contact lenses can decrease the spread. You can treat bacterial cases with antibiotic eye drops from your local pharmacy.

Becoming sick doesn’t get any easier as you get older. With life becoming more demanding and hectic, staying in your best shape requires a proper, balanced diet; reading food labels; and washing your hands.

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