Epidemic and/or pandemic diseases are infectious. From way back, even during the biblical times, mankind have stood witness to infectious disease of one and every kind. From the leprosy that Jesus Christ healed in His time that stood as both a social and divine stigma, it is an initial perception that an epidemic and/or then a pandemic is a curse, or it is a result of a sin, or it is an illustration of an unhealthy life.
As civilization and history moved on, man stood further witness to; was devastated by; and was overcome by an epidemic and/or then a pandemic –like, the bubonic plague in the mid-1300s that killed a third of the population of Europe. The exploration of Columbus in the 1400s paved the way for the emergence of epidemics like influenza, smallpox, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, malaria, yellow fever, syphilis. The black death pandemic surged once again in Egypt and continued to contaminate Europe in 1542.
Thenon, the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th century played host to the on and off occurrence and/or resurgence of malaria, yellow fever, dysentery, worm infestations, influenza, poliomyelitis, human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Chlamydia. The 20th century saw the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, West Nile Virus, viral hemorrhagic fever, ebola virus, dengue. (Read & Swati, n. d. , para 3-34). And of late, the appearance of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) that emanated from Mexico, has caused a magnanimous level of anxiety and concern.
It cannot be astutely calculated as to what is what and what extent such infectious disease and/or epidemic and/or pandemic outbreak will reach. The many warnings from major agencies, local, national and international and the World Health Organization can still find level of responsibility and preparedness for every one to be lacking. The major issue of prevention, containment, care and sustainable lifestyle and habit are debatably in want and must be positioned.
Starting from the understanding the quality of our environment play a very important role in the prevention and management of pandemic diseases, everyone must therefore learn and contribute to its wellness. Sustaining the right quality of air, water, food, shelter and climate will alleviate the increase and spread of pandemic diseases. The effect of environment on public health has seen major transition in various efforts of curtailment, containment, cure and care since ancient times until present and modern day initiatives in promoting holistic health and medicine.
Everyone must therefore exert a sense of unity in learning about this aspect of maintaining a healthy and holistic environment. The necessary logistics and continuous research and advance knowledge are made available to equip everyone to participate in public health efforts. Pandemic disease management and control and care is a combined responsibility of the public sector and the private sector. (Hilgenkamp, 2005, pages 36-46) Therefore, the every individual in a community and in a nation must be united in sharing and accepting responsibility in preventing the spread of pandemic diseases.
Everyone must care about a clean and hygienic and sanitized environment. Personal habit and lifestyle must be conducted with best healthy practices. Vaccinations and preventive medications must be consulted with medical practitioners. In the Pandemic Influenza Leadership Forum held on June 13, 2007, Secretary Michael O Leavitt of the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States as said that no one can be exactly sure when pandemic illnesses will arise. There is however the tendency for an alarmist attitude from everyone – the government and the citizens.
And then, when the pandemic does prevail, all courses of action by everyone might seem inadequate. “This is the dilemma we face, but it should not stop us from doing what we can to prepare”. (Ryan, page vii). Therefore information and action must enjoined by everyone to face and tackle the dilemma. The general and overall preparation and diagnosis of an impending pandemic influenza or disease are already thoroughly undertaken by governments and health authorities from the very early warning stages. This is for purposes of outlining the realities, options and alternatives that are congruent to the pandemic.
The pertinent courses of actions are outlined. The international community, governments and healthy authorities are unanimously enjoined to team work with the analysis, the diagnosis and preparation. The unified healthy regulations are put into place to ensure detection, reporting, response and crisis management procedures. Therefore, the dissemination of information and knowledge must be authorized, proper, complete and comprehensive. It is because even if the major responsibility rests on government authorities and health organizations, private entities and agencies and the citizens themselves have a major role to play.
From resources build up to logistical provision to information drive to action exemplification demonstration to preventive vaccinations to general health and holistic orientation – this is a common responsibility for everyone. Most especially, the citizens and the community must listen, obey and be supportive of all efforts and services extended to them. The major role of citizens and individuals is to implement on a personal level the complete guidelines in the prevention, care and containment of pandemic diseases. (Ryan, 2008, page 139)
On an individual level, one must start with getting complete and accurate information about a pandemic disease. Families must always discuss and consult with each other about knowledge and information. Consultations with medical practitioners will be a good basis of gaining accurate knowledge and information. Lifestyle, eating habits, food eaten and physical atonement like exercise, cleanliness, hygiene and sleeping habits must be put on check. The right habit of washing must be a discipline to be profoundly inculcated by everybody.
The act of respect towards covering a sneeze or a cough will go a long way in preventive measures. Being conservative about the true condition of oneself will avoid further spread of a pandemic disease. This means that when malaise or temperature is already setting in and is being felt, a self-quarantine and an immediate medical consultation must be implemented. Otherwise, it is an astute and responsible method for families and individual to maintain ample supply of prescribed vitamins; a healthy supply of the right food and ample supply of hygiene supplements.
A positive attitude about going through the presence of a pandemic disease is important so that nay-saying and hear-saying can be avoided. Constant coordination with community leaders; school authorities and company executives about their thoughts and opinions and policies about pandemic disease will enlighten anxieties. With proper information, the citizens can avoid stress and anxiety about the unnecessary misconceptions about pandemic diseases. The resurgence of pandemic diseases can be a crisis.
It is therefore necessary that for everyone to arise above such crises the need for emotional, intellectual and psychological resilience must be attained. That is why the unity in undertaking such responsibility must be shared by families and the community and health professionals. Even if individual survival is a natural tendency, putting mind over matter and creating a common goal towards the management of a pandemic will be the better part of valor. (American Red Cross, 2009) Works Cited Read, Emily S. & Thakur, Swati. Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Disease
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine http://www. case. edu/med/epidbio/mphp439/Emerging_Infectious_Disease. htm [accessed 31 May 2009] Hilgenkamp, Kathryn. Environmental Health Bartlett Publishers, 2005 Ryan, Jeffrey r. Pandemic Influenza: Emergency Planning and Community Preparedness CRC Press, 2008 Preparing for a Swine Flu (H1N1) Pandemic. Pandemic Flu. Public Information Series American Red Cross. 15 April 2009 http://www. scribd. com/doc/14804967/Preparing-for-a-Swine-Flu-Pandemic [accessed 31 May 2009]