Top 3 Safety Concerns for Public Health Professionals

Written by on December 28, 2012 in Health - No comments | Print this page

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The world is a dangerous place, and it’s up to public health workers to try and make it more habitable for the rest of us. These professionals study up on mankind’s biggest problems and try to find solutions for all of them. Issues like preservation of natural resources, food sanitation, and hazardous working environments affect every individual on this Earth. Without advances in this field, humans would be a lot more mortal than they already are. Public health professionals have a lot on their plate, but the following issues get priority since they pose the greatest safety risks to humanity.

1) Infectious Diseases and their Vaccination

Infectious diseases have wiped out more people on this planet than all of the major wars combined. If it wasn’t for advances in science, technology, and medicine, diseases such as smallpox, measles, polio, diphtheria, and even the flu might still be killing tens of thousands of people each day. Thanks to our scientists, vaccines have been developed over the years that have rendered many of these once deadly diseases harmless.

While we have eliminated many major infectious threats, many new ones continue to surface daily. Old strains can also mutate into aggressive and lethal new strains. The only way to combat pathogens and other microscopic invaders is to keep making new leaps in medical research and technology. The Center for Disease Control is the leading authority on infectious diseases, and it is the job of its employees to do everything in their power to control contagions.

2) Lack of Exercise, Poor Diet, and Obesity

Illness caused by obesity is one of the top reasons for premature death in the United States. Weighing far above a healthy weight range is very hard on the organs. When major organs fail, people die. It’s sad and ironic that people in America are dying of overeating, while the rest of the world is starving to death. Why is this? Well, there are many factors at work here. It’s up to public health professionals to inform the public of these issues.

First, the US is a wealthy and powerful nation. Nearly everything is available here, including an overabundance of food supplies. Unlike in other countries where people have to gather their food on a daily or even meal-by-meal basis, we in America can drive two minutes away to a supermarket or fast food joint to get our fill. Food is simply so readily available that we can have it anywhere, anytime–and many of us do. All of the food advertising on TV, the radio, billboards, and the internet don’t help either.

Secondly, there is a physiological reason why we tend to eat such large quantities of unhealthy foods: taste. Bad foods tend to taste very good because they contain high amounts of sugar, salt, and fat. Naturally, the body wants to pack on as much fat as possible in the case of an emergency where we would have to live off of our energy stores. Chemicals in the brain make eating foods high in these fats, sugars, or salts very pleasant to our taste buds, so we are more likely to continue to eat such foods to pack on more body fat.

Next, emotions contribute to a poor diet as well. Stress and anxiety can lead to depression, which can cause eating disorders. While some depressed individuals skip meals, others engorge themselves with food to cushion the pain. Traumatic happenings can also cause people to eat for comfort. The pleasure that these people get from eating regularly temporarily counters the sadness that they feel on the inside. Many pack on tremendous amounts of weight before they even realize what they’ve done to themselves.

Another major cause for obesity is physical inactivity. Most people exercise far less than they should. Some can’t seem to find the time because they are so busy with work and taking care of the kids, while others are just too lazy to get off the couch.

3) Water Purification and Maintenance of Fresh Water Reserves

There are very few things on this planet as important to human beings as water. Aside from oxygen and food, water is absolutely essential for survival. The problem is that humans cannot tolerate unclean water very well. We can get sick or even die drinking from supplies that have been contaminated with chemicals, microbes, or other hazardous substances.

Another problem is the rapidly shrinking reserves of fresh water on the planet. There has been talk of trying to convert our salty oceans into fresh water, finding a way to melt glaciers, or searching for other underground reservoirs. Water is essential to human life, therefore, maintaining our supplies will always be a critical public health concern.

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This is a guest post.  Francis Lawson is a public health official and guest author at Best Public Health Schools, where she co-authored the guide to the Top 10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Health Programs.

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