Read the Outbreak!2020 Student Blogs. We are so proud of their contributions! *These posts express the opinion and research of the writer and should not be construed as medical advice or the position of the Public Health Museum.
There is no doubt that 2020 has been one eventful year. Since learning of the novel (new) Coronavirus, that arose during the last few months of 2019 in Wuhan, China, the Coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly left the world struggling to stop this fast spreading virus, COVID-19. We have not yet created a vaccine for this infectious disease, but many countries are working tirelessly to have a vaccine ready by the winter months. To slow the spread of COVID-19, health officials have come out with a list of things people can do to slow the spread and reduce the virus transmission rate. The list includes regular and proper handwashing, avoiding touching your face, and if you aren’t feeling well, stay home, monitor your symptoms, get tested and of course, wear a mask.
Although it may not seem like a pressing matter, air pollution is an escalating problem that leaves a huge impact on both the environment and public health. Ever since the burning of fossil fuels for energy, the quality of air has only worsened. Air pollutants can include car emissions, chemicals from factories, pollen, and dust, which are being constantly emitted. Communities that live in areas with more air pollution are prone to more illnesses. Breathing polluted air can increase cardiovascular risk and can cause heart attacks and strokes. Air pollution also may more seriously affect those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
In 1970, air pollution was first determined as a threat to only respiratory health. However, as decades passed, it was determined that air pollution could lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, reproductive, neurological, and immune system disorders. In 2013, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization identified air pollution as a human carcinogen, as it can form a foundation for chronic diseases and cancer. Air pollution is a major public health concern, and is one of the largest environmental health risk factors, responsible for 90,000 to 360,000 deaths per year in the United States.
From blunts to edibles, marijuana has become the most consumed illegal drug in the United States. But what exactly is marijuana in the first place? Marijuana is a psychoactive drug made from the cannabis plant that causes decreased concentration and body movement, increased appetite, and a relaxed, euphoric feeling. Among around 400 chemicals and 100 other compounds called cannabinoids, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most predominant psychoactive chemical in marijuana responsible for its effects.
The usage of one's cell while driving has been a worldwide problem ever since the emergence of this technology. Many think a quick glance or hitting the send button does not deter their focus from the road, but during those 5 seconds you use to check your phone, you have enough time to travel the length of a football field, if driving at 55 mph. You do not know what is in front of you and what will happen during those five seconds; accidents cannot be predicted. In the US, one out of every four accidents is caused by texting and driving
What do we mean when we say someone has an anxiety disorder? According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about a number of things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances.
With national greenhouse gas emissions increasing every year, it’s no surprise that climate change is quickly and drastically changing life as we know it. It’s all a chain reaction: as more heat gets trapped in the atmosphere due to these gases, temperatures rise around the globe. As temperatures rise, so does the sea level, affecting weather patterns and causing changes in precipitation. But how does this impact infectious disease, specifically in Massachusetts? Read More.
Alexa Solomon is a rising high school senior from Natick, Massachusetts. She is an Outbreak! 2019 alumni and has a passion for STEM and public health education. She hopes to pursue a science career and continue to help with public health education, especially for teens and children. Over the past year, she has also assisted in the design and maintenance of the new Public Health Museum website.
In the early 1950s, Polio was one of the most feared diseases. Before 1955, when the poliovirus vaccine was introduced, polio outbreaks gave rise to more than 15,000 cases of paralysis each year. Throughout the 1940s, the cases of poliovirus in the United States grew at an exponential rate. Read More.