As an individual, you are responsible for ensuring your health by taking care of your body and going to the doctor regularly. However, the job isn’t only up to you. Public health plays a part as well. People who work in the public health field are responsible for helping to protect communities from getting sick while they learn, work, and play. Unfortunately, the biggest threat to human health is human behavior.
Armed conflicts prevent communities, states, and entire countries from being as healthy as they could be. Hospitals and other health facilities often get destroyed during war, making it harder for officials to protect citizens from infectious disease and other health hazards.
War can also affect people who are nowhere near ground zero. Those living in war zones often do so in crowded and unhygienic conditions. When forced to migrate to other countries, they can bring disease with them or find it and cause it to spread when they reach their destination. This is exactly what happened in 1994 when the Democratic Republic of the Congo faced a cholera outbreak after the Rwanda crisis. As many as 800,000 people crossed the border and drank from a contaminated lake. Nearly 50,000 refugees died in just one month.
- Poor Animal Care
Animals raised in improper conditions can lead to the spread of harmful organisms. When the animals go to slaughter and hit the grocery store shelves, those organisms go with them. Perhaps the most well-known instance of a public health emergency because of livestock occurred in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. During this time, bovine spongiforming encephalopathy — better known as mad cow disease — spread throughout the area. Eventually, it began affecting humans. Many who ate contaminated meat contracted the human form of the disease, known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Other parts of Europe and America also saw some cases.
- Incorrect Antibiotic Administration
Antibiotics are common for treating a variety of bacteria-based illnesses. However, improper use of them allows some bacteria to become resistant to the medications. Parasites and other viruses can also develop resistance when antibiotics are not used properly, making it harder to treat serious diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Improper use includes such problems as over-prescribing, under-prescribing, not taking recommended doses of medication, and using the same antibiotics to treat animals and plants that are used to treat humans.
- Combatting the Problem
Officials work to combat how human behavior affects public health in several ways. Researchers such as those at USC reveal trends among diseases and determine the cause of the trends as well as seek out test subjects for drug trials. They then work to find ways to minimize the spread of disease. Doctors work to find the best treatment plans. You can help by getting your degree in public health. Universities around the world, including the University of Cincinnati online, provide world-class programs taught by experienced public health professionals. Education is the key to many of our problems in this world.
New or drug-resistant diseases regularly pose a threat to public health, but talented and knowledgeable researchers and doctors work just as quickly to curb threats and keep communities safe. Using natural antibiotics and remedies can also be a useful tool to fight many common illnesses and therefore helping to avoid the over use of prescription medications. Working to ensure health safety in your own home or community is a start, but learning how to help others is even better.