Summary

  • Health is not just the absence of disease. It is a state of complete physical, mental, social and psychological well-being.
  • Diseases like typhoid, cholera, pneumonia, fungal infections of skin, malaria and many others are a major cause of distress to human beings.
  • Vector-borne diseases like malaria especially one caused by Plasmodium falciparum, if not treated, may prove fatal.
  • Besides personal cleanliness and hygiene, public health measures like proper disposal of waste, decontamination of drinking water, control of vectors like mosquitoes and immunisation are very helpful in preventing these diseases.
  • Our immune system plays the major role in preventing these diseases when we are exposed to disease-causing agents.
  • The innate defences of our body like skin, mucous membranes, antimicrobial substances present in our tears, saliva and the phagocytic cells help to block the entry of pathogens into our body.
  • If the pathogens succeed in gaining entry to our body, specific antibodies (humoral immune response) and cells (cell mediated immune response) serve to kill these pathogens. Immune system has memory.
  • On subsequent exposure to same pathogen, the immune response is rapid and more intense. This forms the basis of protection afforded by vaccination and immunisation.
  • Among other diseases, AIDS and cancer kill a large number of individuals worldwide. AIDS caused by the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) is fatal but can be prevented if certain precautions are taken.
  • Many cancers are curable if detected early and appropriate therapeutic measures are taken. Of late, drug and alcohol abuse among youth and adolescents is becoming another cause of concern.
  • Because of the addictive nature of alcohol and drugs, and their perceived benefits like relief from stress, a person may try taking these in the face of peer pressure, examinations-related and competition-related stresses.
  • In doing so, he/she may get addicted to them. Education about their harmful effects, counselling and seeking immediate professional and medical help would totally relieve the individual from these evils.

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