Community wellness goes beyond access to timely treatment and impressively stocked pharmacies. The population needs constant reminders, education, and guidance on maintaining their surroundings and health.
Prolonged neglect will have devastating effects on the climate, and the health of communities may encounter a host of problems as a result.
Fluctuating temperatures, an outbreak of new diseases, and increased infant mortality are just the tip of the iceberg.
The COVID-19 virus is an excellent example of how fundamental disregard of science and protocols leads to an out-of-control pandemic.
All it took was for some individuals to refuse the vaccine. Soon after, a whole population suffered the consequences of this act, causing the virus to thrive and mutate.
This demonstrates the urgent need for public health professionals to ensure that communities make informed choices and have the best information and motivation.
Communities have mutually shared problems, among which obesity, infectious diseases, and lack of awareness take precedence.
You can remedy these issues by educating, providing services, and ensuring the public has always access to the latest research on the subject in a digestible form.
Here are some other ways you can help improve public health in your community:
1. Educate On Common Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases are so prevalent that over 7 million Americans visit the physician’s office to get treated for them annually. The main reason for this troubling statistic is that the general public still doesn’t know enough about these diseases.
Therefore, the best way to combat these infectious illnesses is advanced education and training. As far as education goes, getting a Public Health master’s degree online will help you study the effects of good and poor healthcare policymaking in detail.
Your coursework will expose you to the latest research on the subject, helping you make connections to design public health programs and implement them. In this manner, you will learn valuable skills that you can then impart to the communities to work in.
Armed with the requisite knowledge, you should look into speaking at schools, presenting at community centers, and utilizing the media to discuss common cases like salmonella, HIV, and the flu.
Consider diving into details such as signs, symptoms, and preventive methods. For instance, what whooping cough means and how vaccines were created that prevent such illnesses from impacting your health. You may also talk about the perils of antibiotic resistance.
Supplement this education by setting up free vaccination centers and encouraging public health nurses to provide a basic health checkup.
You should also publish your findings on platforms like Elsevier Journals or The American Medical Student Research Journal to further disseminate your results.
2. Work On Reducing Air Pollution
In 2020, Over 70 million tons of pollution were put into the atmosphere in the United States alone. Many contributing sources to this pollution include cars, wildfires, and burning plastic.
Exposure to these pollutants is disastrous for the community. Short-term repercussions include frequent asthmatic attacks, poor fetal development, and an outbreak of pneumonia.
However, long-term consequences of pollution are far more hazardous, resulting in extensive hospital stays and a compromised lifestyle.
According to the WHO, one out of eight deaths globally is due to air pollution. These include a stroke, chronic pulmonary diseases (COPD), and lung cancer.
As a public health professional, you should not ignore these numbers and establish sustainable remedial measures.
You should encourage the public to carpool and use public transport more than individual car rides. Restaurants and grocery stores should also upgrade and use paper instead of plastic.
Encourage the community to use filters in chimneys and air conditioners whenever possible. You may also advise the community to wear face masks and limit interaction with harmful fumes by avoiding polluted areas.
While you cannot eradicate air pollution, you can restrict complicating the matter further.
3. Address Issues Related To Substance Abuse
About one out of every eight Americans battle both drug and alcohol abuse. Substances like cocaine, heroin, alcohol, and crystal meth get abused frequently.
It doesn’t take long for harmless usage to morph into a full-blown addiction. Many health-related issues stemming from substance abuse include a weaker immune system, liver damage, and neurological problems like depression and anxiety.
Substance abuse also opens the doors to domestic violence, self-harm, and in extreme cases, suicide.
As a public health professional, you have your work cut out while tackling substance abuse.
Approaching victims of substance abuse is a delicate process. You will be met with resistance, denial, and even anger. But you must persevere. However, your intervention is necessary for helping affected communities rebuild themselves.
You should try talking to victims of substance abuse by counseling them and offering emotional support through their journey.
Provide them with a list of reliable rehab centers which come at an affordable cost since weaning substances is part of treatment. On a state level, impose more robust policies on obtaining and selling drugs with heavy penalties.
Don’t forget to support families impacted by substance abuse through group counseling, guiding them to therapy, and getting social services involved in critical cases.
You will also need to speak to doctors, to monitor prescribing painkillers like oxytocin. This may ultimately help address this long-standing public health issue.
4. Tackle Obesity
Obesity was prevalent in over 40% of US adults in 2018. It is a public health concern since it leads to diseases like stroke, diabetes, and even cancer.
The average calorie intake for the population should be between 2,000-2,500 calories. However, consuming processed meals regularly far exceeds this healthy guideline. Coupled with a lack of physical activity, these eating habits wreak havoc on many communities.
As a public health professional, your intervention will help take care of obesity and elevate substantial pressure from the healthcare sector.
You should explore different ways to get calorie intake under control. One can be advising the obese population to seek nutritionists to get their calorie intake under control. Another method could be speaking to schools and revamping the entire school menu by introducing healthier meals.
When it comes to weight and physical activity, encourage the population to get their BMI and waist circumference measured by a doctor. This will inform the population individually if they are at risk for obesity-related illnesses.
Adults and children need physical movement too. While children need 60 minutes of dedicated exercise, adults need over 150 minutes, spread over 30 minutes for less than a week.
Activities like aerobics, cardio, and hot yoga should be introduced to promote movement in public. You should also introduce gyms, exercise centers, and online home exercise videos.
A genetic disease called Prader Willi syndrome, which affects one in ten thousand globally, can lead to uncontrollable weight gain. This is because one of the side effects of this condition is insatiable hunger.
However, the chances of the public having this syndrome is very small. While some people can inherit a large appetite, exercise and dieting can help bring them back on track.
There is much you can do to help improve a community’s public health outcomes. Neglect and disregard of one’s health lead down a disastrous route. So, intervention is necessary.
Some of the key concepts you should explore are infectious diseases, air pollution, substance abuse, and obesity. For each topic, you need to educate the public, guide them to the necessary facility and wait for public health to improve.
These cases are avoidable and only require regular doctor visits, monitored lifestyles, and better choices. Public health outcomes will improve once you get through to the community and impress upon them the necessity of a well-lived life.