Changing our future: communicable diseases

Can you name the lone disease humanity has managed to eradicate?

We’ll wait.

If you came up with smallpox, give yourself a high five.

National Public Health Week has this to say about the other diseases lurking out there:

What keeps the rest of those communicable diseases at bay is prevention. And that requires a combination of strong public health systems, access to medical and preventive care and individual responsibility. No one can fight off infectious disease on his or her own.

Lake County Public Health is our first defense against many of these diseases. They monitor the environment for bacteria and viruses. They run in to investigate disease outbreaks while the rest of us run for our beds. Public Health works to contain and identify the cause of an outbreak. Public Health nurses also deliver education programs and give immunizations. photo photo

What can you do?

Public Health can’t do this important work alone. A key role we can all play is embracing personal responsibility. It does no good to offer immunizations if no one takes advantage of them. Flu vaccines are a good example. It’s true that the vaccine’s effectiveness varies from year to year (this year’s was largely ineffective), but getting the shot is still the best way to protect against influenza. Make sure you get yours, and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

National Public Health week adds this reminder, encouraging us to be good neighbors and help one another live Outback Strong:

And remember: immunizations aren’t just about you — it’s also about protecting those for whom vaccine-preventable diseases are a deadly threat, such as the very young, very old and people with compromised immune systems.

You can also learn more about what Public Health does in and for Lake County. Talk to the county commissioners and advocate on the department’s behalf. Talk to our state representatives and our Congressional delegation to speak up for strong public health systems.

Talk to Public Health directly to learn more. Call (541) 947-6045 in Lakeview or (541) 576-2176 in Christmas Valley.