Your health and the environment
You don’t always see it, but your health and the environment you live in are connected every day. Since the earliest times, humans have needed to be sensitive to their surroundings to survive.
The air we breathe. The water we drink. The food we eat. The ground below us. The communities in which we live. The chemicals we encounter. This is all are part of our environment. And all can affect our health.
The eight key environmental factors that affect health, are:
Your health and the environment: Key Factors
Air quality and your health
Air is non-negotiable for humans. We need it to survive, but we don’t always take care to keep it clean, and that can have a significant impact on our health.
Water and sanitation
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 780 million people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water, and a jaw-dropping 2.5 billion (or roughly a third of Earth’s population) lack adequate sanitation services like clean bathrooms. And the impact of this is huge. In fact, an estimated 2 200 children die every day worldwide of diarrheal diseases linked to improper water and sanitation.
Toxic substances and hazardous waste
Toxicology – the area of science devoted to understanding how chemicals and substances can affect people and their surroundings – is an important field in environmental health. Many of the materials needed to advance industries and technology, like heavy metals or even some plastics, can hurt the human body and even lead to serious medical problems.
Homes and communities
We spend the bulk of our time at home, work, or school, so it’s important that these places be safe with minimal hazards, as well as be conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
Infrastructure and surveillance
Infrastructure issues can also have a major impact on community health. Examples include:
- Poorly maintained roads (increasing risk of car accidents)
- Lack of access to clean drinking water
- Lack of local health care infrastructure, such as clinics capable of giving vaccinations
Surveillance activities involve either going out and looking for particular health concerns (active surveillance) or by asking professionals in other fields, such as medicine or agriculture, to alert environmental health agencies when they encounter them (passive surveillance).
Your health and global environmental health
Climate change disrupts the natural world in a number of ways that can impede health and increase vulnerability to disease; these include increases in the planet’s temperature and more frequent heavy rains and runoff. The various impacts may result in greater vulnerability to nervous and respiratory diseases, diarrhea, and more.
Additionally, climate change increases the frequency of natural disasters, often having a ravenous effect on homes and communities and sometimes resulting in loss of life. Wildfires, hurricanes, cyclones, and droughts are just a few examples.
Diseases caused by microbes
Harmful microbes, which are more commonly called pathogens or germs, can infect humans and cause illness. Eating is one of the primary ways in which humans can contract diseases caused by microbes.
Lack of access to health care
Another environmental factor that contributes to disease and overall poor health outcomes is living in an area with a lack of access to health care services. Individuals who don’t have access to health care services (including pharmaceuticals as well as dental care) are at a higher risk for chronic conditions, which may include asthma, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
Your health and the environment isn’t just a matter of individual wellness; it’s also a matter of community well-being. Simply put, the conditions in and around our homes, schools, playgrounds, and workplaces can have a major impact on our families and neighbours. We can work together to foster a safe, happy, and healthy world for years to come.
Protecting the health of the planet is critical to improving and maintaining the health of the entire global population.
Disclaimer: All content on the The Local Choice Pharmacy is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.