Human Health

Constant Climatic changes pose a great challenge to Human Health. Even though toxins and disease pathogens are a threat to health, Climate change may cause health effects that are potentially harmful. These threats include impacts from heat waves, air pollution that causes ailments, severe storms and many infectious diseases.

Assessing the glaring effects of climate change to human health should realistically include setting up a capacity to manage the unpredictable climate conditions. Due to the health risks occasioned by the climatic change, there is needed to set up and run a vibrant public health infrastructure.

Since we live in a global village, increased of risks associated with diseases emanating from other countries should be considered. Climate change has made poor countries suffer greatly. Due to global trade that requires a lot of travelling between different countries, diseases are bound to flare-up in any part of the world. Extreme climatic conditions such as severe draught and storms also undermine the public health infrastructure that is in place.

It is worthy noting that;

• There has been a significant increase recorded in illness and death that has been caused by extreme heat waves. There is also death caused by extreme cold weather.

• It will be difficult to protect human health because set air quality standards won’t be met due to Warming of the environment.

• Weather conditions that are extreme have caused physical and psychological problems to mankind. This has led to stress and depression related ailments.

• There is a marked increase in diseases that are transmitted by water, food and insects.

• Due to rising carbon dioxide concentration and temperatures, production of pollen is increased hence a number of plants with high rate of allergenic pollen have a prolonged pollen season. This presents a health risk to human beings.

Environmental contamination and emergence of infectious diseases has caused public health concerns world wide. Health threats have also affected the relationship between human beings with physical, biological and chemical conditions of our natural environments.

Over population has exerted pressure on health facilities and made it extremely difficult to maintain a sustainable public health policy and practice. Zoonotic and vector- borne ailments, airborne contaminants, Water contaminants and bio – accumulative contamination in the food chain have caused public health threats all over the world and require concerted efforts to develop solutions that are scientifically viable.

There is therefore need to understand as a prerequisite the ecological and environmental health so as to protect public health. Our scientists play an important and significant role in ensuring that our country has relevant scientific information and knowledge that will help us understand diseases that are a constant threat to human health and come up with preventive measures.

Travel Health – Malaria

Of all the possible diseases you can get while traveling overseas, none of them cause more concern or strike up fear like malaria, and for good reason.

It is estimated to be up to a half a billion cases of malaria annually with about 1 million deaths, particularly among young children.

It is considered the most important parasitic disease affecting humans. The disease has great socio-economic importance and helps in keeping poor countries poor in a vicious cycle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1,300 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. The vast majority of cases in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from malaria-risk areas, many from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The protozoan parasite belongs from the genus Plasmodium. There are many species of Plasmodium that infect vertebrates, but only 4 that are important to humans. The four species are:

o Plasmodium falciparum
o Plasmodium vivax
o Plasmodium malariae
o Plasmodium ovale

There have been some documented cases of people getting simian malaria (P. knowlesi).

Human malaria is considered a tropical disease, but some cases happen outside the tropics. Most cases are found in Southeast Asia, China, India, and Africa, parts of the Middle East, Mexico, Central and South America.

For malaria to occur you must have the following; a susceptible population, malaria carriers and the right mosquito vector (the female Anopheles mosquito).

The life cycle for all the malaria species is essentially the same. It’s very complicated (with part in the mosquito and part in the human) but in a nutshell, in humans it goes like this: During a blood meal, a malaria-infected female Anopheles mosquito inoculates the parasite into the human host.

The parasite almost immediately infects liver cells and goes through a maturation series and ruptures. Just a side, P. vivax and P. ovale can have a dormant stage in the liver and can cause relapses in the blood weeks to years later.

The parasite then moves on to infect red blood cells. Blood stage parasites are responsible for the clinical manifestations of the disease.

The parasite is later ingested by an Anopheles mosquito during a blood meal and the cycle in the mosquito happens. It really is a vicious cycle.

The disease may manifest itself after an incubation of days to months. Once the parasites build up in the blood, symptoms are non-specific; fever, chills, body aches, diarrhea and vomiting. At this point the only way to confirm is finding the parasites in blood. These early stages resemble many other febrile diseases.
Paroxysms (due to rupture and release of the parasite and metabolic products into the system), happen every 48-72 hours depending on the species.

There is a cold stage which leads to teeth chattering, shaking chills followed by a hot stage (fever) where temperatures may reach 106°F. Convulsions may develop particularly in children.

Untreated P. falciparum (the life-threatening species) can lead to severe malaria. Severe malaria is characterized by cerebral malaria, severe anemia, renal filure (black water fever), respiratory distress and bleeding disorders and shock.

Prompt treatment for falciparum malaria is essential cause death from cerebral complications may occur.

The other human malarias are not usually life-threatening. People who are partially immune or non-immune but taking prophylactic anti-malarials, may show atypical symptoms and a longer incubation period.

Active malaria is most frequently diagnosed by observing the parasite in blood smears. There are molecular and antibody detection techniques to complement microscopic examination.

Treatment of malaria depends on several factors; The type (species) of the infecting parasite, the area where the infection was acquired and its drug-resistance status, the clinical status of the patient, any accompanying illness or condition, pregnancy, drug allergies, or other medications taken by the patient.

Chloroquine, Fansidar, mefloquine, Malarone, quinine, doxycycline and artemisin derivatives (not licensed for use in the United States, but often found overseas) can be used to treat malaria.

As a traveler in a malaria endemic area, what preventive measures can you take?

There is no vaccine currently available for malaria. According to the CDC all travelers to malaria-endemic areas should be advised that taking an appropriate drug regimen and using antimosquito (insecticide treated bed nets, stay in well screened areas, DEET insect repellent) measures will help prevent malaria. Travelers should be informed that no method can protect completely against the risk for contracting malaria.

How to Secure Good and Sound Health Now

Good health is a state of well being or wellness of the body. It is a condition where there is total absence of disease and illness thereby we enjoy a maximum health standard that leads to long life and prosperity. In the whole world today, many people died because of poor health and other related diseases and sickness that sniffed life out of them untimely.

Therefore let us now look at the secrets of of good health and how to secure it to our own advantages which will make us live longer and enjoy life to the fullest.

1. EATING A BALANCED DIET-A food is anything that we eat that gives us energy and make us to grow healthy. Energy is defined as ability to do work. and for us to get energy and strength to do work, we must eat a balanced diet or food.

A balanced diet is a food that contains all the six classes of food in their rightful proportion and quantities. The six classes of foods are protein, fats and oil, vitamins, mineral salts, carbohydrates, and water. when we take or eat all these six classes of food in their right proportion and quantities we can rest assured that we shall maintain a good and sound health.

2. DOING EXERCISES-We can maintain a good and sound health by doing a regular exercises, exercises helps to move our bodies and help to burn up fats and makes us stay healthy, examples of exercise are jumping, skipping, running, sports but to mention a few.

Exercises helps to remove waste products from the body that will make us sick such as sweats etc.

3. GOOD REST AND SLEEP-When we have a good and sound sleep and rest very well after a hard days job or works, we get tired, we can maintain a good health by having our rest and sleep as at when due. it is important to have at least one hour rest or sleep so that we can gain back all the energy lost during days job and refresh our memories.

When we relax and have our rest we can gain more strength and tension will be reduced. Therefore good rest and sleep resulted in good health.

4. GOOD AND IMPROVED HYGIENE AND SANITATION-A personal hygiene and good sanitation habits helps to remove sickness and diseases that can cause death.

Personal hygiene includes regular washing and bathing, general cleanliness while good sanitation habits involves clearing the house, gutters, removal of solid and liquid waste products such as sewage and the refuse that harbors disease vectors. such as flies and mosquitoes.

5. SENSITIVITY TO HEALTH HAZARDS-Health hazards are those things that can endanger our health and causes diseases and sickness, we should be very sensitive about it and avoid them such as mosquitoes, flies, unsafe acts and unsafe conditions that than cause diseases and sickness.

6. SOCIAL INTERACTION-If you want to stay healthy and enjoy good health and life, you must learn to interact and move with people and play with them too so that you can feel belong to the society and this will make you fell happy always because of the social interaction you gained from the public and this will lead to good and sound health always.

7. SMILES AND LAUGHTER-Laughter they said is the best medicine, if you want to stay healthy always learn to smile with people because it helps to cure and relieved tension as described by experts. laughter helps to relieved tension and stress and high blood pressure, please don, t squeeze your face always because it will make you look older than your age.

8. BEHAVIORAL CHANGE/ORIENTATIONS-Let us change our behaviors towards good health and particularly our orientations that we must maintained and improved on our health qualities instead of reducing our health standard.

In the meantime, since health is wealth, let us look at the above suggestions very well and improve on them so that we can have a good and sound health and live a longer life.