Saturday, January 28, 2012

Public Health a review

Now that i have calmed down from my earlier spat, i think a bit of history is in order.
One of the very first public health acts occurred during the Roman Empire with the building of a sewer system, this prevented organisms from sick people infecting healthy ones.
Of course the Roman did not get everything right cause they delivered drinks in lead goblets, what we must learn.
This became a habit of large metropolitan areas to build sewer systems, Paris and London are good examples, but there is more.
There is the case of adding chlorine to water to kill organisms, which has saved many millions of lives simply by killing bacteria which can cause us harm.
There is the case of tracking down and eventually restraining "typhoid Mary" because she carried an organism and would pass it on feeding people in taverns.
These are only a few examples, but present the heart of public health.
It is not medicine, it is not treating disease, it is preventing or educating people about issue to prevent illness or harm.
Now a days we have become much more aware, but many forces stand against taking proper action, still today.
There is always a struggle.
Sometimes the struggle is with knowing too much...
people don't want chlorine in their water because chlorine is toxic.  They do not want vaccines for their children because they think the children should get immunity by having the disease.
These people are very short sited and have forgotten that many millions of people died or had serious debilitating consequences from getting disease that were preventable by these simple steps.  Can we learn new ways that are still safer?
And that is the crux of public health, learning new ways and methods of protecting the public as a whole.
Things which cause cancer are a much more difficult item to deal with.
This is because most cancer does not occur with a single exposure, but exposure over a lengthy time period and not all people react in the same way.
This then is the question about pesticides.
I asked a question for general basic info from the Westchester County Health Lab that tests water and they had no information for me because "Homeowners do not ask for a pesticide test".
As we struggle in Stamford, this ostrich like "hide your head in the sand" approach frightens me.
Public Health means asking questions, sounding gongs and making people aware and trying to get appropriate action taken.
That is all

Friday, January 27, 2012

What is public health?

This  is an extremely important question and oneas of late has created deep reactions inside me so this almost was posted on my other blog.
It is a valid question because some of the arguements i have had as of late revolve around this question and what a Health Department does.
The last heated discussion revolved over the role of a health department giving vacines.
To me this is a no briner, but was being challenged, so again the question what is public health?
I am looking for answers here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A day in the life of a Health Department

there have not been many samplesa lately 918 or so) and i have been lloking at data, the kind of data not everyone gets to look at.
I see that the incidence of Lyme disease and the rate of infection in ticks has dropped together.
I see an increase in sypilis and chlamidia.
I have noted rabies cases begining in an exposure out of the country (in NJ)
and i have seen a lower than normal year for influenza.
Each has significant implications and require information to be shared. outreach to be honed and hopefully bring about education and a decrease in the diseases.
AIDS is still a major issue, but the statitics are not covered by what i have.
Lots to do.

questions, not answers

i have been pondering information that has been presented to me and my question is how to determine if there is a way to verify the information.
This is what i try to do, not always successfully, so i ask questions.
The question is about major, unmarked dumps placed around the area in the past.
Now i believe that many people have "dumped" and still do, what are the consequences?
What is left behind?
These are two major questions that must be asked and of course there are more.
I believe the pesticide residues seen in well water is how we have in the past used and abused and then dumped the substances when they were available.  The residual is dieldren, the longest lasting of these and trace amounts are left in the ground to be be drawn down into drinking water wells by the actions that wells do, draw water.  The consequences are that people now drink that water and therre is a poential for illness to occur.
dumps from buildings or corporations oroil takes leave behind substances that can still be seen today and would be found in drinking water wells near these spots.
The testing that Stamford is offering will include pesticides and VOC testing and it should find trace amounts from any of this.
Since i get to look at this, i will get a better idea and perhaps be able to answer these questions better.