Professor Z. Bic
Public Health Problem
The common cold is classified through symptoms of sneezing, coughing, and a soar throat and is an illness that is experienced by most people several times over their life course. This public health problem dates back as far as the Ebers papyrus the oldest known medical text. As soon as humans began living in large families and village like communities, the cold spread more quickly. (Atzl, Helms, 2009). The reason it happened is because once humans were in close contact with one another sharing aerosol and physical touch, the viruses were able to spread quickly and infect the population on a large scale. The common cold is a problem in society for five main reasons. First, there is no cure. Second, in an average person’s lifetime, they will obtain at least 50 colds (Common Cold, 2012). This is critical as it highlights the frequency society experiences the cold, as well as being placed at risk for future health problems. Third, each year the common cold accounts for 40% of the time off work and 30% of the time off school. (Worall, 2007). This imposes an issue in society as work missed is lost money, which could result in the inability for individuals to pay their bills/mortgage, while missed school is a great concern for not only parents who may be forced to miss work to tend to their children, but also the public education system. Fourth, when a person comes down with a cold, they feel awful and in order to minimize their discomfort they generally purchase over the counter medicines such as cough drops and cold medications. However, the problem with this is that there is a tremendous amount of money spent annually on over the counter medicines (Worall, 2007). While OTC medicine may ease symptoms, it will not cure the cold. Fifth, the cold can be dangerous for the public because it can lead to other serious complications such as bronchitis, sinus infection and pneumonia (Pauling, 1971). Each of these infections have the potential to infect the individual for an extended period of time, which in turn causes more discomfort and conflicts with an optimal lifestyle.
The etiological risk factors associated with the common cold are environmental conditions such as aerosol and contact with infected surfaces that may expose individuals to cold causing viruses. Individuals who are susceptible to the cold virus are those who do not wash their hands, have low-immunity, eat unhealthy, stress often and or/lack sleep.
How to solve the Public Health Problem
The common cold is a problem that can be solved naturally in society by improving people’s lifestyle and immunity, which in turn prevents the likelihood of catching the cold virus. The five ways we can improve our health to avoid getting the common cold, are by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, washing hands properly, getting adequate sleep and practicing stress management. The first way is to maintain a healthy diet that includes the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, consuming foods that are whole grains, lentils, fruits, healthy fats and nuts. The next way we can avoid the cold is to boost our immunity in ways such as exercising (Update from, 2011). After exercising the amount of white blood cells in the body rises. When the level of white blood cell count is raised, it increases the quality of the immune function, and its ability to fight off potential pathogens such as the rhinovirus. For those who do not regularly exercise and may be intimidated to begin can be relieved that they can still boost their immunity with as little as 20-30 minutes of walking 5 days per week (Hoyle, 2011). The third way the common cold can be prevented naturally is by efficient hand washing to break the means of transmission via human-to-human contact and exposure to contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs, or through shaking hands and