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Importance of the Immune System

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The immune system is of great importance for public health professionals to understand because it acts as a shield of protection against harmful or infectious agents (Battle, 2009). Understanding the immune system can give public health professionals insight into immunity and immunizations. Being able to share this understanding with the public will allow for community education on why vaccinations are important or to be able to answer questions on why vaccines have not worked for certain viruses. For example, public health professionals can promote the importance of vaccinations such as allergy, flu, or smallpox to name a few. As Haspeslagh et al. (2018) mentions, vaccines have successfully decreased the infectious disease burden. A second example, public health professionals can explain how  there is an “ever changing nature of organisms” and thus difficult to develop a single vaccine for HIV (Battle, 2009). Public health professionals can carry out their understanding through immunization programs and parent education to at risk populations (Battle, 2009).

 Importance of Pathophysiology of Inflammation

The pathophysiology of inflammation is also crucial for public health professionals to understand because inflammation is often the body’s “first line of defense against toxins, infections, and injuries” (Cleveland Clinic, 2014), In addition, inflammation is a common response to injury and/or chronic illnesses (Battle, 2009). Understanding the pathophysiology of inflammation can lead to better interventions, prevention methods, and treatments. A couple examples include obesity and chronic stress. As a public health professional, understanding the pathophysiology of inflammation can help one understand that obesity and smoking can lead to cellular inflammation (Cleveland Clinic, 2014). However, simple lifestyle changes can prevent chronic illness that are a result of obesity and smoking such as heart disease. Public health professionals can implement education on healthy lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise, work with county health departments to ensure healthy food choices at schools, and/ or parent education through handouts at health care facilities.

 Importance in Understanding Carcinogenesis

Lastly, it is important for public health professionals to understand carcinogenesis because being knowledgeable on the different stages of cancer development could contribute to cancer prevention (Battle, 2009). Battle (2009) goes on to mention two examples of prevention strategies are anti-initiation and anti-promotion/anti-progression. Within the anti-initiation strategy, public health professionals understand how diet and environment play a role in reducing and increasing activation of carcinogens within the body. With this understanding, foods that are cancer preventive including broccoli, radishes, and cruciferous vegetables can be promoted through health programs for at risk populations (Battle, 2009). Next, anti-promotion/anti- progression involves decreasing inflammation, suppressing proliferation, and enhancing the death of bad cells (Battle, 2009). Knowing these characteristics, allows for public health professionals to understand that inflammation contributes to cancer based on host diseases such as pancreatitis, gastritis, or ulcerative colitis (Battle, 2009). Being aware of this, gives public health professionals the opportunity to promote preventive health screening and educate on the importance of screening.

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