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?
Always!
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
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