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Medicine In The Event Of A Disaster - The Impact Of The Loss Of Pharmaceuticals

Medicine In The Event Of A Disaster - The Impact Of The Loss Of Pharmaceuticals
In the event of a disaster, the loss of modern medicines and the pharmaceutical industries is something that worries a lot of people. They may well be right to be worried, as the loss of medical facilities would quite literally deal a death-blow to many suffering individuals. A lack of vaccines would also be a problem – although probably not for a few years. However, it’s not all bad news. Surprisingly, the loss of chemical-based pharma may actually benefit the world in some ways. Here is a brief look at the problems which may arise without pharmaceutical companies, and some of the benefits.
One of the most problematic effects of a loss of modern pharma is undoubtedly a loss of vaccines. Vaccines have rendered much of humanity safe from diseases which used to routinely wipe thousands of us out each year. It is estimated [1] that vaccines have saved 732,000 children’s lives since 1994. Vaccines have effectively wiped out deadly diseases like polio, smallpox, and measles. Moreover, they’re not just good for the vaccinated individual. Modern humanity relies upon something called ‘herd immunity’, which is very roughly explained as the protective effect which vaccinated individuals hold over the ‘herd’ as a whole, due to their being little scope for the diseases to get a foothold in humanity – “the risk of infection among susceptible individuals in a population is reduced by the presence and proximity of immune individuals” [2]. Worryingly, the anti-vax movement has already reduced herd immunity significantly in the USA – incidences of measles, rubella and so on are up- massively in the USA compared to nations where the anti-vax movement is not quite so strong. Not everybody is able to be vaccinated, due to specific vulnerabilities they may have (an allergy to vaccines, for example, or a weakened immune system). Therefore, not vaccinating your child puts not only your own child at risk, but all of these other people as well. A recent outbreak of measles at Disneyland has been comprehensively linked to “a decline in child vaccinations” [3] - a worrying development.
Not All Bad News
The loss of vaccines would, therefore, be a major problem, which would undoubtedly cut swathes through the human population. However, assuming that the population were reduced considerably in the event of an emergency (a gloomy prediction, but potentially accurate), those who survived could take some comfort. While these diseases would still be present, they would find it far less easy to spread and mutate amongst a smaller, less urbanised population. Furthermore, survivors would undoubtedly have gained a strengthened immune system during the survival process, which would stand them in good stead from an evolutionary point of view. Finally, those with a good working knowledge of herbs, herbal medicine, and nutrition would have far better immune systems to protect them against these diseases, and would be far better prepared to treat them in the event that they did occur.
The Environment
On a more positive note, surprisingly, when it comes to general health, the loss of the pharmaceutical industry might actually be a good thing. Modern society, you see, is addicted to pills in a shockingly addicted to pills – and all those pills which we pop have a definite effect on the environment. Pharmaceutical pollution is a serious ecological issue. As humans have to live in the environment, it’s also a human health issue. Not only do pharmaceuticals like steroids often end up in human drinking water after being excreted, they frequently end up being consumed by animals, including livestock. Humans then consume the animals, thus also consuming all of the pharmaceuticals that these animals have drunk in. Obviously this is not ideal – pharmaceuticals should, ideally, be used as a last resort when nothing else will work. Putting alien chemicals into your body when you don’t need them for vaccination or healing purposes is always a bad idea. The loss of the pharmaceutical companies would undoubtedly ensure that the things we eat and drink are to some degree more natural and healthier.
Pain is an absolutely crippling problem for many of us, which absolutely needs to be dealt with in the most effective way possible. However, far too many of us rely on chemical painkillers to deal with the slightest of maladies. Harvard School of Medicine point out that prescriptions for opioid painkillers have increased “tenfold since 1990” [4]. Britain’s BBC reports with some bemusement that Americans consume 80% of the world’s opioid painkillers, and pop heavy-duty pills for something as simple (and transient) as a stress headache. More worryingly, opioids are highly addictive. It is estimated that the vast majority of opioid overdoses in the US come not from heroin, but from prescription painkillers. Furthermore, some are led through painkillers down a path which leads to illegal substances. CNN report that “Today’s typical heroin addict starts at 23, is more likely to live in the affluent suburbs, and was likely unwittingly led to heroin through painkillers prescribed by his or her doctor” [5]. Far better to choose a more natural method of pain relief for minor aches. There are plenty of herbs which work as natural painkillers – a quick perusal through this blog will provide ample options – and they’re all a lot better for you than pharmaceuticals!
[1] Bahar Gholipour, "Vaccination Has Saved 732,000 Children's Lives Since 1994", LiveScience, April 2014
[2] Paul Fine, Ken Eames, David L Heymann, "'Herd Immunity': A Rough Guide", Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2011
[4] Harvard School Of Medicine, "Painkillers fuel growth in drug addiction", 2011

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