Monday, June 21, 2010

Allergic Disorders Are an Important Public Health Problem

Not until 1915 did bronchial asthma, hay fever, urticaria and certain forms of eczema or inflammation of the skin come to be called allergic disorders. At that time the idea of sensitization and reaction of the body to certain foreign substances was established as a reality. Later other conditions such as serum sickness, reactions to drugs, and some blood vessel disturbances were added to the list.

Allergy today is conceived to be the results of contact of a foreign substance with its specific antibody in the human system. Repeated exposure to the foreign substance or allergen sets up the excess sensitivity.
Experts distinguish certain allergic disorders as atopic-meaning a strange disease-because they are largely hereditary, because the allergens which set them up are nontoxic substances like pollens or foods, and because the first manifestation is a swelling with accumulation of water in the tissues. The diagnosis of the condition is made by putting the allergen on the skin, whereupon a blister or wheal forms. This accumulation of fluid is due to the release of a substance called histamine. As a part of our progress we have developed antihistaminic drugs. If these are given before making the skin tests, the wheals do not develop.
The majority of people who develop atopic conditions do so before they are twenty years old. The real allergic conditions appear usually after the person affected is thirty years of age or older. Dr. Harry Alexander points out that a child who becomes subject to asthma at the age of five almost surely is hypersensitive to a specific allergen which it inhales or swallows.

Because of the reactions that occur in the skin the use of tests for determining the nature of allergic conditions is standard.

Bronchial Asthma
When a person has bronchial asthma, the bronchial tubes are narrowed by spasm of the muscles and excess secretion from the mucous glands. As air is forced through these narrowed tubes a wheezing sound is heard. Air is more easily drawn in than expelled. Since part of the air is trapped, it accumulates and the lungs grow larger. The still air in the lung makes oxygenation more difficult and the blue color that denotes lack of oxygen appears.

This form of asthma runs in families. The patient with bronchial asthma usually reports that he had eczema or hay fever when younger or was sensitive to various substances. The symptoms usually come on and are worse at night. The secretion accumulates at night. Because of the difficulty in breathing, the asthmatic person sits up and bends for -ward with elbows on the table, in which position he breathes more easily.

The asthmatic attack may last for hours or days. It is relieved by the use of epinephrine or adrenalin. Dr. Harry Alexander distinguishes three types of bronchial asthma. The mild form is limited merely to a persistent cough with a few paroxysms of bronchial spasm and wheezing. The second form is most serious, beginning with sieges of coughing at night and proceeding to severe bronchial spasms with shortness of breath. The patient finds difficulty in eating and sleeping and drinking and loses weight rapidly. In the third type, secondary infection comes in and is responsible for additional symptoms.

Bronchial asthma should be treated promptly and seriously in order to prevent the permanent changes that develop in the lungs in long-continued cases. Everything possible must be done to detect and eliminate the sensitizing substance.
Hay Fever
About 3,000,000 people in the United States have hay fever. Most cases are due to sensitivity to ragweed pollen. These pollens may be blown as much as fifty miles from their sources. Every area has its own pollens, and charts have been prepared showing the prevailing pollens in each portion of each state.

The allergists say that some time is required to sensitize the individual with hay fever. The antibodies get in the mucous membranes of the nose, in the skin, and in the bronchial tubes so that some asthma may accompany hay fever, and the skin tests are positive for the offending allergens.

For the hay fever patient the first step is to find the pollens to which he is sensitive. This may be done by a series of skin tests. He then has the choice of moving out of the area to a place where he will be free from such contact, or of being desensitized with injections of the offending substance. Usually treatment is begun a few months before the hay fever season begins. Gradually the strength and amount of the injections are increased, so that the patient is receiving large doses by the time the season begins. In some instances treatments are given every two or three weeks all through the year. The use of such methods requires skill and experience, because patients sometimes react most seriously to injections of large doses of the substances to which they are sensitive.

Among other measures used for hay fever is the use of air conditioning, air filters, masks and covering of windows to exclude pollen. Most physicians now supplement the specific treatment with use of the anti-histaminic drugs, which are often remarkably effective in stopping the most annoying symptoms. Vasomotor rhinitis is a condition like hay fever due to sensitivity to dusts or food substances.

Other Allergies
In addition to the allergies that localize in the nose and the bronchial tubes, such reactions may come in the stomach and intestines, in the skin and in the joints. They may manifest themselves as headaches and in disturbances of the blood vessels.

The reaction to foods is manifested by swelling, excess secretion, and spasm of the bowel. This is not nearly so frequent as commonly thought. Nevertheless, children react to eggs, milk, or other proteins. Diets from which the offending substances are eliminated stop the symptoms.

Sometimes the taking of foods to which there is sensitivity is followed by headaches due to pressure in the brain from swelling of tissues. Chocolate, nuts, onions and spices, garlic, and similar foods are the most frequent offenders.

Sensitivity to foods may also reveal itself by eruptions on the skin with severe itching and sometimes with wheals or blisters. Similar reactions occur from the taking of glandular substances or, secondarily, from infections. Occasionally sensitivities manifest themselves by inflammation of the eyes, swellings in the internal ear, purpura with blood spots in the skin, inflammations of nerves or eczema. The investigation of such cases with determination of the factors of importance and elimination of exposure to them, requires patience and intelligence on the part of both physician and patient.

People may be sensitive to the injection of serums and respond excessively to the injection of preventive inoculations. Allergists describe reactions called "contact dermatitis" from mascara, the material in dress shields or brassieres, the dyes used on furs or shoes, or the filler used in rayon underwear. Sometimes the drug used to relieve a sensitivity creates a sensitivity to itself.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Self Defense in Public Health System

In reference to the F.B.I. Crime Index simple assault incidents grew in the US at a rate of 17% from 1997 to 1998, while forced sex offenses rose 450%.

According to the National Victim Center in the United States 1.3 women are raped every minute for a total of 638,280 rapes committed each year. One out of every three American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. The U.S. has the world's highest rape rate of all the countries which publish sexual assault statistics.

These statistics show that there is a need for a simple and effective system of self-defense for people with no special skills in defense techniques and with an average fitness level.

Nationwide education in this field can remarkably reduce these statistics.

Self defense should be a part of physical education program in schools and colleges.

It is important that when practicing the techniques, a controlled environment be set-up and when available a certified instructor be present when practicing the techniques. They may be too strenuous or dangerous for some people and they should consult a physician before engaging in self defense training.

This course should be the practical instruction for the learning strategies, tactics and techniques of self-defense against unarmed and armed opponents. The program should be oriented to people with average fitness levels. The course should combine the best technical elements, from different types of Martial Arts, in original and adapted forms and included in this system.

There are different parts of the body, which can be used as instruments in defense techniques. Your forehead, back of your head, fingers formed in certain positions, the edge of your palm, a fist, an elbow, a knee, your feet, toes and heels can be effectively used in critical situations. You also can use successful passive defenses such as blocks, moves and stances, which can allow you to develop an effective defense.

There are over 50 vital points on a human body (sensitive skeletal points, or painful points on organs and nerve centers). Adding this knowledge to your defensive repertory can enable you to better protect yourself, family and friends, in extreme situations.

For an active defense you should know these points on your body and be able to protect them as well as successfully use this knowledge against an attacker.

There are more than 10,000 different types of defense techniques. It is not practical or necessary to learn all of them due to the time and effort involved in the process. Even experts usually only know about 150-200 basic applications. They are trained to perform these techniques automatically.

The system should be based on three basic principles:
1. Effectiveness:
There are many techniques which are of value in each situation. I have chosen the one which, I think, will allow you to defeat an attacker in the shortest time.

2. Simplicity:
From the various techniques for any particular situation, the one which was chosen is the simplest (from a technical point of view), because in real conditions even high skill techniques can be significantlyaffectedby stress and threats to your life. At the same time when you have limited time for training, the simpler technique is the better, because you can "digest" it more easily. Special attention was paid to matching the principle of "simplicity" with the principle of "unification".

3. Unification:
It is known that every complex technique can be broken down into simple individual components like "blocks". Techniques with more common "blocks" were chosen because you can learn to do them automatically (as a reflex, without thinking).

This system should be designed as a self-learning system. This means that most of the techniques can be mastered in any environment. You would need only one opponent, but often you can practice even without an opponent, using:
- Shadow training.
- Different objects for practicing punches, kicks etc.
For the convenience of learning the material, every lesson should have a typical plan:
- The opponent's position;
- The technique;
- The preparation for the technique;
- Instructions;
- Possible variants;
- Possible counter by the opponent.
This course as a part of physical education program can deliver many benefits for participants as well as for public health and safety with very little investment.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What is Done Right in Public Health and Health Insurance?

Health care is taking a careful look at the current swine flu issue, while many of us are wondering how to protect ourselves if there is an epidemic or pandemic of this flu. In America, the opinion is we have the most highly functioning health care system anywhere, so that's where the explanation is as to why Mexico is facing such a huge problem in preserving life for it's people. Here in the US we have good medical care access and health insurance so are preserved from facing the Mexican issues. But why do we still maintain health better right now than the Mexican people?

Well, it is not that I don't appreciate the health care that we have here in the states, however, the main thing that Americans have that other countries don't is the CDC. This is actually a huge help when dealing with the swine flu or any disease or illness that is easily spread. The CDC works in conjunction with the WHO to help locate, detect and trace cases of spreadable diseases, and help limit them while searching for treatments, cures and vaccines. Although our medical system is more advanced in its reporting than in third world countries.

Other factors affecting other countries, making them more susceptible to health crisis like the current swine flu outbreak are other issues that the face such as: poor and dirty water supplies, lack of good nutrition or generalized malnutrition, lack of education about diseases, poor hygiene, communal living
Our country does have it's own issues within our health care system and insurance system which causes many questions from our citizens. However, our government is involved in our health care in that they provide nutritious foods, clean water and have an agency who monitors disease and informs us to keep us safe.

This crisis is really important but there are many health care issues the government provides for us, even though there are pieces and parts of this system that need work. We have the health insurance and medical coverage to keep us healthy but public health provides much more. While staying abreast of this current crisis, keep in mind we have a wonderful public health system in place to keep us all as healthy as possible.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Emergency Disaster Preparedness - Preparing For Public Health Emergences

Public health emergencies are caused as result of threats such as storms, tornadoes and power outages and also may be of biological, chemical, or radiological disasters. Although each one is different and requiring unique responses, preparing and learning about public health emergences can help equip and protect your family.

Threats strike when they are not expected and because of this, preparation is the way forward in this kind of disaster. Families may or may not be in the same place when this happens. Planning together as a family is a step ahead of time. Looking at how you intend to communicate when an emergence happens and types of disasters common in your area and what each member should do is very important.

You might consider keeping some essential supplies on hand for emergences for example drinking water, dry or canned food, a battery-powered radio, flashlight and batteries, first aid supplies, prescription medication, special items for babies and members of the family who have special needs. Check these from time to time to make sure that the expiry date for your supplies such as foods has not passed and things like batteries and flashlights are in working order.

Learning more about these disasters, diseases, treatments and how these may affect your family is a big step. Government web sites are a very good source of information on public health threats or emergences. You may also ask your employer, school and day care facility whether they have developed emergency plans. Contacting your local heath department can help you get involved and learn more about community planning efforts.

Should an emergency arise, always be alert by tuning in to your television and radio news stations for emergence messages and important safety instructions from government authorities. Officials on the news give instructions on where emergence sites are located and how to get there and who should go. During this time, it is very important that you bring for each family member medical records that contain picture id, current medications and allergies and current age and weight.

Read up on key terms such as isolation, quarantine, sheltering-in-place and evacuation. Training a family member in CPR/First Aid is quiet helpful. It is better late and ready by 5pm today than be caught unawares by noon tomorrow.