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Public Health Threats, Emergencies, and Disasters

Public health threats, emergencies, and disasters are as diverse as they are devastating to a population. Infections such as pandemic influenza outbreaks cause severe illness and often death in susceptible populations like the very young or old. Disasters such as these require rapid response to vaccinate susceptible populations and educate the public on how to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

Natural disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, sudden heavy snowstorms or blizzards, and flooding also jeopardize health. These types of disasters create environmental health concerns through the spread of toxic waste, increased water-borne infections and insect-borne disease, as well as loss of power or the inability to navigate roadways during floods or blizzards. In addition, natural disasters create environmental concerns such as low food supply, destruction of crops and livestock, and lack of clean water. Natural catastrophes like these are predicted to increase in frequency and severity as long as climate change with increasing global temperatures continues unchecked through slow reaction or frank inaction by governments.

Organizations across the globe are developing strategies for decreasing their carbon footprint in order to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change. Because no one is immune from this hazard, nurses must have a grasp of the growing concern for the impact of climate change and its associated implications for public health worldwide. It is important for nurses to learn how to increase their leadership capabilities to affect local, state, and national outcomes.

This week, you will consider the role of the nurse in preventing illnesses due to environmental issues. Additionally, you will discuss the role of nurses in developing health promotion and health protection strategies to address global climate change health concerns.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze the role of the nurse in preventing illnesses due to environmental issues
  • Analyze the implications of global climate change on health*

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