Shannon Christian

In this weekly blog, staff reporter Shannon Christian writes about the myths of healthcare and how it impacts students.

Dr. Germ: persistence of pestilence

Cigarette ads stopped circulating television and media only 50 years ago. Prior to these 50 years, many people leisurely smoked, enjoying the act as an indulgence rather than understanding the harmful truth of smoking. That truth being that every cigarette smoked contributed to the deterioration of one’s lungs and body on a systemic level. Could there be daily indulgences in today’s age that could prove to be just as harmful as smoking is, 50 years from today? 

If not worse than cigarettes, a similar scenario to the promotion of smoking in the past is the current popularity of vaping. Television and print ads are not allowed to promote sales of vaping devices, however, like most products targeted towards today’s youth: the promotion is executed on social media platforms. Vaping is prevalent on many social media pages, people holding them in TikToks, or even posing with them for an Instagram picture is enough for younger adults and kids to continue vaping. 

From a medical perspective, vaping is considered endemic for teens, as there is still nicotine within the vaping devices, however, not much research has been conducted on the devices as they are relatively new. Additionally, the primary users of vapes, younger teens, have not seen persistent or chronic illness as they are still too young to see the effects of prolonged nicotine usage on their bodies. 

In addition to the question of current activities that could have harmful effects in the future, there are conditions of the past that one does not have to worry about with modern age. A response to the common conversation-starter “which decade do you belong in?” can serve as an explanation for this. Many share the sentiment that they are able to function in daily life as a result of modern technology and medicine. Those predisposed to blood pressure conditions, asthma, or chronic illnesses are able to find relief and treatment due to recent medical advancements, whereas in the past they may not have been able to survive.

In the same vein, due to modern medicine, people can avoid ailments and plagues such as the Bubonic, or not fall victim to Smallpox due to vaccines and medication. In the past many people may have passed away due to a common cold or influenza outbreak, but there was also a time when people were exposed to radium and lead on a regular basis. As time persists, so does the field of medicine, however there may always be triggers and living conditions that prove to be harmful to humankind, but now technology is attempting to identify those causative agents before it is too late.

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