Friday, February 17, 2012

What Does Public Health Mean To You?

What Does Your Health Department Do?

LABELLE, FL. -- Public Health means your health. Most people don't understand what public health is or how it impacts their daily lives. 

By definition, Public Health is the science and practice of protecting and improving the health of a community, as by preventative medicine, health education, control of communicable diseases, application of sanitary measures, and monitoring of environmental hazards.

Many people think of the Public Health Department when they need to get immunizations for their children and family, but Public health is a field geared toward serving others. Public health professionals serve local, national, and international communities. They are leaders who meet the many exciting challenges in protecting the public's health today and in the future.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.

Vaccination. Eradicates life threatening diseases such as smallpox and polio
Motor-vehicle safety. Reduces death and disability due to unintentional injuries through the formulation of policies designed to protect the safety of the public, such as seat belt and worker safety laws
Safer workplaces and prevents pollution of our air and land through enforcement of regulatory controls and management of hazardous wastes
Control and prevention of infectious diseases (Measles, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, etc.)
Decline in deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke. Promotes healthy lifestyles to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes
Safer and healthier foods.
Healthier mothers and babies
Family planning. Educates populations at risk to reduce sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, and infant mortality
Fluoridation of drinking water and assures our drinking and recreational waters are safe
Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard

Seatbelt laws, flu vaccines, and fluoride in our drinking water are all achievements of public health. Public health debates are in the news everyday, whether it be the latest outbreak of swine flu or the eradication of trans-fats from entire cities.

The vision of the Florida Department of Health is to “Promote, protect, and improve the health of all people in Florida” and their mission is “A healthier future for the people of Florida”

Stop and think about what Public Health has done for you and the possibilities of what it can do for you in the future.

-From The Hendry-Glades Health Department, Pat Dobbins, Director

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