Many people are not sure what environmental health is, but it is something we should know because it affects us all. It has consequences on our health, both in the short term and in the long term.
What we consider as environmental health
Environmental health is considered to be anything that is related to a person’s external physical, chemical and biological factors (i.e. environmental factors) that affect their health and well-being.
Environmental Health aims to prevent disease and create environments that benefit health. It does not take into account behaviours that are not related to the environment, which are in the social, economic and genetic environment of the person.
Now that we know that environmental factors can lead us to a deterioration in health, let’s find out a little more about what they are. First we must remember that there are some short term and some long term, as we said before.
Short- and long-term environmental health effects
Short-term effects are called “acute toxicity”: for example, inhaling chlorine causes an instant respiratory infection. Some chemicals act as a poison that spreads through the blood and cause nausea, vomiting, headache, etc.
Long-term effects, called “chronic toxicity,” take longer to appear. Sometimes months or years, and for them to appear we must be repeatedly exposed to the chemicals and toxins that cause them. They can cause, for example: cancer, genetic alterations, allergies, hormonal changes, intoxication of the nervous system.
Both short and long term effects can appear in our organism:
- New intolerances appear (some of which are not yet investigated, so that they can be, more investment in health and clinical trials would be needed).
- Allergies and rare diseases appear because of hypersensitivity to the chemicals around us.
- Acute respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia.
Factors to take into account
The effects of exposure to certain disease-causing substances may be different for each person. Factors such as age, sex, and health status influence the impairment they cause in each person. The most vulnerable groups are children, the elderly and families with low income and limited access to health care.
It is important to detect all these changes as early as possible in order to cure them. Similarly, it is important to invest in health and research to find new cures. Above all, cures for new diseases, some of which do not react to current drugs.
To avoid the negative effects of the environment, it is recommended not to contaminate, to live in areas as natural as possible, with little air and soil pollution, above all. And follow a diet based on natural products. Since we are what we eat, if the products we ingest are full of chemical products, harmful to health, we will be damaging our immune systems. The ideal is to eat organically grown fruit and vegetables, without the use of pesticides or chemicals.
To do this, you can create your own garden at home or be part of a cooperative that helps you access local natural products. In addition, you will ensure that the producers are paid a fair price and you will become more involved with the cause and the process.