Stunts and health

The issue in public health that I think is hurting our younger generations is an array of dangerous health stunts which they are participating in. When my mom was a child she used to tell me stories of them doing crazy things like putting pop rocks in their mouths then chugging coca cola or pretending … Read more

The issue in public health that I think is hurting our younger generations is an array of dangerous health stunts which they are participating in. When my mom was a child she used to tell me stories of them doing crazy things like putting pop rocks in their mouths then chugging coca cola or pretending they were Evil Kneivel by jumping their bikes, skateboards and roller-skates over ramps, creeks and even each other. However, as dumb as the things my mother used to do, the things that kids are doing today are so much more dangerous. Kids are trying to do things like eating bananas and chugging sierra mist to see if they will vomit or eating a tablespoon full of straight cinnamon and try to keep from choking. The most dangerous thing of all would have to be the fact kids that are putting salt and ice cubes on their arms and seeing how badly they can get burned before they rinse it off.

This is a serious issue because we have learned that the choices we make when we’re young can change the rest of our lives forever. These stunts are not just something to laugh at and ignore because they can cause major injury or even fatalities and that can have a big effect on the community.  We are affected by the community in which we live, so this makes me want to look more into the health of the community where much of this is taking place. Through the windshield survey that my group did at the beginning of the year, a small portion of Alliance had a lot of boarded up houses, a lot of un-kept yards and unfortunately a lot of kids who looked like they should have been in school but were just out roaming the streets. I feel as though these community settings cause kids to pull these kinds of stunts that can seriously put their lives in danger because there is nothing else for them to do.

By: Amanda Perillo

Too old to drive?

How Old is Too Old? – Jennifer Benner With the recent ban on texting while driving, young drivers have been in the public health and safety spotlight. Yet, on the opposite end of the spectrum the following question arises: how old is too old when operating a motor vehicle? According to the American Academy of … Read more

How Old is Too Old?
– Jennifer Benner

With the recent ban on texting while driving, young drivers have been in the public health and safety spotlight. Yet, on the opposite end of the spectrum the following question arises: how old is too old when operating a motor vehicle? According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) aging drivers is among the less noted public health issues (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2012). However, concerns on the road become evident with age. Factors including impaired hearing and vision, changes in attention and physical abilities all contribute to the decline in safety among elderly drivers. As a result, risks are increased for not only older citizens but all drivers in general.

Because many impairing issues can come about with age I think it is especially important to monitor the driving of elderly individuals. Although some may consider them more experienced with age, different factors come into play when analyzing the safety of a community as a whole. In response, I feel it is necessary for drivers over the age of 70 to have some type of test to determine if they are still eligible to obtain a driver’s license. Whether it is a written test, driving test or both, I believe ensuring one’s ability to drive safely is an important factor in maintaining a safer environment.

The following link offers a checklist to address what types of things or behaviors should be considered when asking the question; “Am I a safe driver?” This checklist, as well as many others, is available at the AAFP website.

http://www.aafp.org/online/etc/medialib/aafp_org/documents/clinical/pub_health/agingdriver/safedriver.Par.0001.File.tmp/publichealth_safedriver.pdf

Meningitis

Meningitis

As of October 8, 2012 there have been 90 reported cases of meningitis in the United States. Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms usually come on quickly and may include fever, chills, mental status change, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, severe headache and a stiff neck. … Read more

As of October 8, 2012 there have been 90 reported cases of meningitis in the United States. Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms usually come on quickly and may include fever, chills, mental status change, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, severe headache and a stiff neck. Other symptoms that could appear are agitation, bulging fontanels, rapid breathing and poor feeding in children. Meningitis is not a common disease in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has informed people that this outbreak has affected 7 different US states — Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.  It started because patients became ill with meningitis after receiving injections in their spines with a preservative-free steroid which was contaminated with fungi. The steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, is used for the treatment of inflammation and pain. In lab results of nine patients, two types of fungi were found, exserohilum and aspergillus. The CDC has reported that the bad steroids were made by The New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. They have now recalled all of the steroids and contacting all their customers about this outbreak to inform them right away. Treatment includes a series of antibiotics but does not work in viral meningitis. This meningitis outbreak has caused seven deaths already and if it’s not treated right away, more will come.

I believe this is a serious matter at hand for the United States as a whole. We can’t let this outbreak keep spreading like it is, so I think everyone needs to pay attention to signs of meningitis and stay clean and healthy. As long as the people that already have it do their part in quarantining themselves from the rest of the world and take antibiotics then this outbreak should stop rather quickly.

Author: Ian McFarland

Swartz MN. Meningitis: bacterial, viral, and other. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 437.

“90 Meningitis Cases, Outbreak Update Issued By The CDC.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 8 Oct. 2012. Web.8 Oct. 2012. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/251232.php

 

 

The economy is making me sick!

The economy is making me sick!

Most of the time, people are not aware of public health since most people are healthy. When people become sick, they think of their individual health. Also, public health is hardly ever in the news. All the news talks about now are the presidential election and the economy. However, with the recession, public health becomes … Read more

Most of the time, people are not aware of public health since most people are healthy. When people become sick, they think of their individual health. Also, public health is hardly ever in the news. All the news talks about now are the presidential election and the economy. However, with the recession, public health becomes worse. Epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson believes that there is a direct correlation with public health and the economy stating that “Unemployment is bad for your health…The evidence from studies looking at the closure of factories is that everybody who lost their job saw their health go down regardless of how healthy they were to start with, (Daloni Carlisle, 2008).” When the unemployment rate is 8.2%, that equals over 25 million people. That is a lot of people who do not have health insurance.

Another link between the economy and public health is that people eat cheap food, specifically fast food. A full meal at McDonalds can cost less than $5 while the ingredients to a good at home meal may cost the same, but isn’t as easy to make. Sometimes ignorance is not bliss, not being informed of your health or the community’s health around you can make times like these, much, much worse.

Author: Jim Powers
Resources: Public Health in a Recession (2008)
http://www.nursingtimes.net/public-health-in-a-recession/1931623.article

Whoop, whoop

Whoop, whoop

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Author: Morgan Huffman

The prominence of once common infectious diseases have waned in recent years due to the availability and increased usage of vaccinations. Many diseases that commonly affected children such as polio, measles and diphtheria have been successfully prevented due to the introduction of vaccines. Illnesses that stem from diseases that can readily be prevented by vaccines have seen a 99% reduction in reported cases (“Immunizations”, 2009). Throughout the year, the public is reminded to keep up with the necessary vaccinations to maintain their health. The influenza vaccine is the most popular, along with Hepatitis B, shingles, tetanus and smallpox. Some diseases are often overlooked because they are rarely diagnosed today but if we fail to vaccinate ourselves because a disease is no longer prominent, that is when “herd immunity” can be compromised. Herd immunity is defined by the CDC as: “a situation in which, through vaccination or prior illness, a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease, making its spread from person to person unlikely.”

The whooping cough epidemic is a recent example of what happens when the public fails to obtain their vaccines. There has been an increasing number of cases of children and adults being diagnosed with pertussis, which is more commonly known as whooping cough. The vaccine against whooping cough was first administered in the 1940s. At that time, there were up to 200,000 reported cases and 9,000 deaths occurred as a result. Since the vaccine has been in existence, the number of diagnosed cases has decreased dramatically to 10,000 diagnosed cases each year. Infants are the most likely to contract this disease, although it is still possible for adolescents and adults to be diagnosed with whooping cough.

Pertussis begins with symptoms that are similar to the common cold and then develops into painful and lengthy bouts of coughing. The coughing is so intense that it often leads to vomiting and  unconsciousness occasionally. Whooping cough is transferred from person to person through tiny droplets that are released from the nose or mouth through either sneezing or coughing. A person infected with pertussis can infect up to 15 people throughout the time they have the illness, which usually ranges from 5-6 weeks in length. Whooping cough is curable, but it often causes patients to be hospitalized for an extended period of time and can result in death. Infants are the most susceptible to death after contracting pertussis; their fragile immune systems and developing bodies can quickly be ravaged by the cough. An effective way to prevent your infant from contracting whooping cough is to be vaccinated during the second or third trimester of the pregnancy, and have those who interact with the infant regularly be vaccinated, too.

The importance of continued vaccinations cannot be stressed enough, whether it be the influenza, polio, meningitis, or whooping cough vaccine. We are responsible for our own health which can directly affect the health of those surrounding us. If one person in your household contracts an illness, those living there can be exposed to the bacteria and contract the illness in a matter of days, which is what happens to parents of young children who are not vaccinated against pertussis. Vaccinations are the key to preventing diseases and maintaining the health of yourself and those around you.

References

Center for Disease and Control. (2010, August 26). Centers for disease control and prevention.     Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/signs-symptoms.html

Immunizations. (2009). Healthy States: A CSG initiative. Retrieved October 9, 2009 from             http://www.healthystates.csg.org/Public+Health+Issues/Immunizations/

Pertussis – PubMed Health. (2012, August 2). National Center for Biotechnology Information.             Retrieved October 9, 2012, from        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002528/

 

Suicide: A National Problem

Suicide: A National Problem

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Suicide is the third leading cause of death of those between the ages of 15 and 24 in the United States.  In Ohio, the “Ohio Department of Mental Health reports that over 20 percent of high school students have seriously considered suicide, 14 percent have made a plan, and 8 percent have made a suicide attempt” (Suicide Prevention Education Alliance, 2012).  Adolescent and adult suicide can have many different risk factors attached to it.  These risk factors can include trouble in academics, peer pressure, self-esteem, depression, a mental illness and even relationship issues.  It is reported that “youth experiencing difficulties in terms of grades, attendance, and behavior-related problems were at risk for suicide” (Sharaf, A.Y., et al., 2009).

Suicide is a tragic experience and is an event that can be prevented.  It is important for family members, young people, those who work in academia, etc., to understand the warning signs that are associated with suicide.  The only way that the community will begin to have knowledge of the warning signs is to receive proper education.  How many more lives could be saved if better education was provided?   “Fundamental to addressing youth suicide is the availability of high-quality, evidence-based information accessible to the public, health providers, and policy-makers” (Szumilas & Kutcher, 2009).  As a growing professional in the realm of public health, it is my goal to help others remove the negative stigma about suicide that has been implanted in their minds and give them the opportunity to learn more and assist in reducing the numbers of adolescents that suffer from suicidal behaviors.

For more information about what others are doing in regard to suicide prevention, please check out the Suicdie Prevention Education Alliance of the Greater Cleveland area.  Their web site is:  http://helppreventsuicide.org.

Author: Professor Leslie Shaffer

Resources:

Suicide Prevention Education Alliance (2012).  Teen Suicide Facts. Retrieved from:  http://www.speaneohio.org/about-teen-suicide-and-depression/youth-suicide-facts

Sharaf, A.Y., Thompson, E.A. and Walsh, E., (2009).  Protective Effects of Self-Esteem and Family Support on Suicide Risk Behaviors among At-Risk Adolescents.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 22(3).  Pp. 160-168.

Szumilas, M. and Kutcher, S. (2009).  Teen Suicide Information on the Internet:  A Systematic Analysis of Quality.  La Revue canadienne de psychiatrie, Vol. 54(9).  Pp. 596-604.

What is public health?

What is public health?

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What is public health? My non-public health family and friends were always asking me that when I was in school, and it’s not an easy question to answer. Public health includes the environment (like air and water quality), health care, disease prevention, epidemiology (disease detectives, like in the movie Contagion), biostatistics (the numbers and research that shows us what health problems exist and how well our prevention programs work), health education (like your high school health teacher) and the psychological side of health (that tells us why people make unhealthy choices). Check out the video for other answers to the question of what public health is!

Welcome!

Welcome!

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Welcome to the class blog for PBH 101, Introduction to Public Health! Public health professionals are always sharing information about health needs and health news; blogging makes that mission easy to accomplish. Throughout the last part of the fall semester, my students will be posting blogs related to public health topics that interest them. We hope you enjoy and learn something from these blogs!