Public health is all about prevention

April 7, 2011 - 0:0

This week, April 4—10, is National Public Health Week in the U.S. . It's a time to highlight the work of public health professionals throughout the country. The work of public health practitioners over the last century has had more impact on the length and quality of life than any other aspect of the health care system. Today's public health professionals deal with many everyday things that are often taken for granted. This includes things such as: When you turn on a faucet in your home, clean water will come out; you can eat in a restaurant and not get sick; you can send a child to camp confident that safety procedures are in place; you can swim in a public pool knowing there are trained lifeguards on duty and the pool is chlorinated properly; and your child will not die from a vaccine-preventable disease.

- Focus on preventing injuries This year's focus for National Public Health Week is injury prevention, from falls to car accidents, and so much more. Historically, this has been a critical focus for public health officials. In fact, public health was behind the move to encourage, and then enforce, the required use of seat belts as the data showed that to do so made a significant difference in safety outcomes. In Orange County, interestingly, the age group with the highest rate of injury is 65-74, not our older senior citizens. The rate of unintentional falls in that age group is 89.5 percent compared to the state average of 77.4 percent. The fall rate for our most senior residents, however, is closer to the state average. Of course not all injuries are accidents — some could have been prevented. There are some simple steps all of us can take to reduce our chance for accidents: * Exercise regularly, and be sure to include exercises for strength and balance. * Take adequate calcium and vitamin D supplements for bone strength. * Have your vision checked regularly. * Eliminate tripping hazards and low light at home. * Stand only on an appropriate step stool or ladder, NEVER a stool or chair. * Review all your meds with your doctor (including those herbal ones). Remember, public health is all about prevention, so help celebrate this week by taking steps to keep yourself and your family safer. Go to, or click on ""Healthy Orange"" on the front page of, to learn more about public health and prevention. More information about injury prevention can be found there under ""Public Health Week 2011."" (Source: Recordonline)