What is the value of a strong public health system? The answers are quite literally all around us: in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the places where we live, learn, work and play.
Today marks the beginning of National Public Health Week, an annual celebration organized by the American Public Health Association every April. This year’s theme, “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money,” highlights the return on investment, or ROI, that public health programs and services deliver in protecting our health and reducing medical costs from diseases that could be prevented.
Did you know that investing $10 per person each year in community-based public health activities could save more than $16 billion within five years? That’s $5.60 returned for every dollar invested. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg:
- Routine childhood immunizations save $9.9 million in direct health care costs, save 33,000 lives and prevent 14 million cases of disease.
- Every $1 invested in the nation’s poison center system saves $13.39 in medical costs and lost productivity, saving a total of more than $1.8 billion every year.
- From 1991 to 2006, investments in HIV prevention averted more than 350,000 infections and saved more than $125 billion in medical costs.
- The benefits of tobacco cessation programs nearly always outweigh the costs, with a benefits-to-cost ratio reaching more than $2.50 for every $1 invested.
- Substance abuse treatment has an ROI of $4-7 for every $1 invested.
Lowering health care spending and curbing disease rates is possible — and opportunities to do so are all around us. But most people may not know what public health is and how it impacts their lives.
National Public Health Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about the value of public health and its benefits on our lives and our pocketbooks. Each day carries a new theme, including health at home, at school, in the workplace, outdoors and in communities.
You can make the key difference. Make your mark during National Public Health Week by:
- becoming a partner and making a difference;
- attending or organizing events that promote value of public health and prevention; or
- driving the conversation at NPHW activities including the national prevention road tour and Twitter chat (follow along at #nphwchat).
Together, we can shape a healthier future for all.
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Here are some tips to reduce your children’s risk of cancer later in life.
Every year more than two million poisonings are reported nationwide, and more than 90 percent of these poisonings happen in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings happen in children.
With so many of these incidents happening at home, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers these tips during National Poison Prevention Week (March 17-23) to protect your family every week of the year:
- If you or someone you know may have been poisoned, call the toll-free Poison Help line right away at 1-800-222-1222, and you’ll be connected to your local poison center. If the person is not breathing, call 911.
- If the person has poison on their skin, remove any clothing the poison may have touched and wash their skin with running water for 15 to 20 minutes. If poison is in the eyes, rinse their eyes with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Keep household products and medicines in their original containers with appropriate labeling. Many household items should be stored in a place out of reach to children.
- Some art or school supplies contain chemicals that can be harmful to you or your children. Make sure to carefully read the directions and warnings to ensure proper use.
Learn more at-home poison prevention tips.
Scammers have been selling fake health products for hundreds of years. They will promise everything from weight loss to a cure for cancer in exchange for your money. These scams aren’t only a waste of money, they can be dangerous. Unproven medical treatments can be damaging to your health and even deadly.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers these 6 tips to spot fake health products:
- One product does it all. Be suspicious of products that claim to cure a wide range of diseases. A New York firm claimed its products marketed as dietary supplements could treat or cure senile dementia, brain atrophy, atherosclerosis, kidney dysfunction, gangrene, depression, osteoarthritis, dysuria, and lung, cervical and prostate cancer. In October 2012, at FDA’s request, U.S. marshals seized these products.
- Personal testimonials. Success stories, such as, “It cured my diabetes” or “My tumors are gone,” are easy to make up and are not a substitute for scientific evidence.
- Quick fixes. Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, even with legitimate products. Beware of language such as, “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days” or “eliminates skin cancer in days.”
- “All natural.” Some plants found in nature (such as poisonous mushrooms) can kill when consumed. Moreover, FDA has found numerous products promoted as “all natural” but that contain hidden and dangerously high doses of prescription drug ingredients or even untested active artificial ingredients.
- “Miracle cure.” Alarms should go off when you see this claim or others like it such as, “new discovery,” “scientific breakthrough” or “secret ingredient.” If a real cure for a serious disease were discovered, it would be widely reported through the media and prescribed by health professionals—not buried in print ads, TV infomercials or on Internet sites.
- Conspiracy theories. Claims like “The pharmaceutical industry and the government are working together to hide information about a miracle cure” are always untrue and unfounded. These statements are used to distract consumers from the obvious, common-sense questions about the so-called miracle cure.
Learn more about fraudulent health products.