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Disease prevention works in different ways depending on the particulars of each disease. Overall, the main approach is to simply try to live a healthier life though diet and exercise, along with avoiding obvious hazards like unsanitary conditions. Vaccinations are also generally important in wiping out certain diseases, and it can potentially be helpful to avoid certain substances that might be toxic to the human system. Disease prevention is obviously important to people on a personal level, but it can also be a crucial issue for governments because of rising costs in treating certain illnesses. In some countries, preventing diseases is a much greater struggle because of poverty and lack of proper medical facilities along with a general lack of knowledge about how to avoid disease.
When people talk about disease prevention, they are commonly talking about things they can do on their own to prevent disease in their own lives. For example, studies have shown that diet might have an impact on a person’s chance of developing heart disease, so people naturally tend to avoid certain foods that are known to play a role in causing heart problems. Sometimes there is a lot of conflicting information about what is healthy and what is not, and since the science isn’t totally settled on every aspect of human nutrition, it can be hard for people to keep up with all the changes.
In other cases, disease prevention can simply be a matter of avoiding certain potentially dangerous habits. For example, many kinds of cancer are caused by exposure to certain toxic substances, such as tobacco byproducts or asbestos, and as a result, many people focus very forcefully on minimizing their exposure to these substances. This is not always enough to prevent a disease, but it is often very helpful.
Sometimes, preventing disease is mostly an issue of sanitation. Certain diseases are carried in unclean water, or harbored inside of parasitic insects, and people who live in poor environments where sanitation isn’t a primary concern might be exposed to this kind of disease much more often. Diseases with widely-available vaccinations are similar in the sense that poorer countries might not have much access to vaccinations, and illnesses that have been wiped out in the rest of the world might still thrive in some of these areas.
When a disease is contagious, some degree of prevention can be dealt with if people simply avoid personal contact. Someone who already has a contagious illness can potentially help to minimize its impact by avoiding contact with others during the contagious period. Some degree of protection is also possible through certain sanitary activities, like washing hands or covering the face when coughing.