You may not know it, but there are public health people, my people, out there every day working to protect you and your family from harm. Our work is to protect you and the rest of the community from infectious diseases that can make you miserable at best, or threaten your life at worst.
Take, for example, the flu (influenza), which is at its peak of activity right now and is sickening thousands of people across the country. The flu is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. So, what are my colleagues and I doing to protect you from diseases like influenza? Let’s take a look:
Public Health does not use isolation and quarantine often. We prefer people voluntarily self-isolate at home when they are sick. It is harder for people to self-quarantine, since they may not know they were exposed to an infectious illness. In public health, we use isolation with diseases like the measles (another vaccine-preventable disease that is currently in circulation), Ebola, or tuberculosis. We may ask a person to voluntarily quarantine or isolate themselves or their child, if he or she is possibly incubating or obviously contagious. Typically, this is done voluntarily, but there may be times when public health officials mandate that a person be quarantined or isolated.
As you can see, our work is never done. Truthfully, we always need your help! Here’s what you can do to stay healthy.
If you or a family member do get the flu, your health care provider can prescribe medications in the first 48 hours to help reduce is the severity of the illness. If we all work together, we can stop those nasty germs in their tracks, and we’ll all be happier and healthier because of it.