FEB 01, 2018 7:54 AM PST

A History of Health: Then and Now


There's a saying that the good old days weren't always good, and regarding public health, disease, and medical advances, it's definitely true. Before antibiotics, general sanitation, and immunizations, thousands of people would die each year from influenza, natural disasters, and lack of primary medical care. While most modern-day civilizations are not in danger from crop failure or widespread epidemics of plague, there are definite health risks today from food insecurity to lack of clean water and other healthcare issues. Still, we are much better off now than our ancestors may have been. Whereas starvation may have killed thousands in centuries past, today, it's obesity that is a danger to health.

While this year's flu season has been bad, it's nothing compared to the Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed thousands. At one point nearly 1/3 of the world was infected with this nasty flu, and the death toll amounted to 3% of the world's population. War and human violence have always been responsible for thousands of deaths, but even though the world has more people, the death rate from war and other violence has gone down due to better medical care. Overall, while some things were more straightforward in the past, it's good to have sanitation, healthy food, immunizations and access to health services.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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