Cardiovascular Disease (hypertension, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack) Prevention

Cardiovascular disease- a condition that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke.

There are several things you can do to prevent cardiovascular disease including eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough physical activity, not smoking or using tobacco products, and limiting alcohol consumption.

A healthy diet consists of eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and eating less processed foods. Avoiding foods high in saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Another thing to do is to limit sodium intake which will lower blood pressure. Limiting sugar intake too can also lower blood sugar level to help prevent and help control diabetes. The best diet to follow is one full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry and vegetable oils, drinking in moderation, not eating too much red and processed meats and refined carbohydrates. People who followed this diet had a 31% lower risk of heart disease. And a 20% lower risk of a stroke.

Keeping a healthy diet is important to maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight increases ones chances of developing a heart disease. Waist size is also important because for people who are not overweight waist size will be an even better warning sign for increased health risks.

Another way of keeping a healthy weight is through physical activity such as exercising. This lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels. Adults should be getting 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise that is moderate in intensity, this includes; brisk walking or biking every week. Adolescents and children should get at least 1 hour of exercise every day. Exercising can also help control stress, improves sleep, boost mood and keeps weight in check.

Another way of lower your risk of heart disease is not smoking. If you currently smoke quitting will lower the risk for heart disease. Along with not smoking limiting the amount of alcohol consumed lowers your risk. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks per day and women should only have one.

Cardiovascular disease: conditions that involve narrowed/blocked blood vessels that can lead to health issues such as heart attack, hypertension, high blood pressure, or stroke.

  • Symptoms: chest pain/tightness/discomfort, shortness of breath, pain or weakness in legs/arms, pain in neck, jaw, throat, or back, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, alterations in heartbeat, pale or blue skin, swelling in legs, abdomen or areas near the eyes, fatigue, dry or persistent cough, skin rashes or spots
  • Risk factors: age, sex, family history, smoking, certain cancer treatments, poor diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, stress, poor hygiene
  • Prevention techniques: quit smoking, focus on lowering blood pressure/cholesterol if they’re high, exercise (at least 30 minutes a day is recommended), eat a low salt/saturated fat diet, maintain a healthy weight, reduce and manage stress, practice good hygiene

Hypertension: abnormally high blood pressure (higher than 130/80)

  • Blood pressure: force exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels (120/80 is normal)
    • Pressure depends on work being done by the heart and the resistance of the blood vessels
  • Symptoms: in most cases, there are no symptoms. However some people experience sweating, anxiety, sleeping problems, blushing, headaches, and nosebleeds.
  • Risk factors: age, ethnicity, size & weight, alcohol & tobacco use, sex, existing health conditions, physical inactivity, salt-rich diet with processed/fatty foods, low potassium diet, certain diseases & medications, family history, poorly managed stress
  • Treatments: regular physical exercise, stress reduction, healthy diet, some medications
  • Hypertension-related atherosclerosis (narrowing of the blood vessels) can lead to heart failure, heart attacks, an aneurysm, kidney failure, stroke, amputation, or blindness from hypertensive retinopathies in the eye

Stroke: brain cells dying as a result of loss of oxygen from decreased blood flow to the brain

  • Symptoms: sudden numbness or weakness or face, arm or leg (specifically on one side of body), sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, severe headache with no known cause
  • Risk factors: diet and nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use and smoking, alcohol use, high blood pressure, AFib, high cholesterol, diabetes, circulation problems, age, gender, race and ethnicity, family history, previous stroke, FMD, PFO, TIA, risk for women greater than risk for men
  • Prevention techniques: healthy diet, regular physical activity, quit smoking, low alcohol use, work to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels if they’re high
  • Impacts of stroke: weakness/numbness/stiffness, paralysis, seizures & epilepsy, trouble sleeping, vision problems, spasticity, incontinence, hemiparesis, foot drop, dysphagia, fatigue, depression, PBA, aphasia, memory loss, vascular dementia

Heart attack: the death of heart muscle due to the decrease of blood supply usually caused by a blockage of a coronary artery

  • Treatments: drugs to dissolve/prevent blood clots, angioplasty or intracoronary stenting to open obstructed artery, medications that dilate blood vessels to increase blood flow
  • Symptoms: Pain/tightness in chest, jaw pain, toothache, headache, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, general epigastric discomfort, sweating, heartburn/indigestion, arm pain (more commonly in left arm but can be either arm), upper back pain, neck & shoulder pain in women, abdominal pain, general malaise, or no symptoms at all (nicknamed “silent killer”)
  • Risk factors: high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, tobacco use, diabetes, males at greater risk than females, family history of heart disease.




“Cognition.” National Stroke Association,

“Heart Disease Prevention With Healthy Living Habits.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

“Heart Disease.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Mar. 2018,

“Heart Disease.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Mar. 2018,

“Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack.” MedicineNet,

MacGill, Markus. “Hypertension: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 21 Nov. 2018,

“Preventing Heart Disease.” The Nutrition Source, 30 Jan. 2019,

“What Is Cardiovascular Disease?”,

The Environment and How it Affects Us

The Environment and how it affects us

(Team 10 – Michael Oliva, Mia Spain, Nicole Reiter, Emily Thiry, Jenna Peterson)

The environment has a diverse number if ways in which it may affect our mental and even physical health. This can range from how the earth looks around us, the seasons, oncoming storms and the weather (or more specifically climate change). These factors can change a person’s mood, and depending on how the environment is around them, can either make them feel a sense of joy, or a wave of stress and sadness.

Climate Change

As our climate changes, there are different extremes that the temperature may reach, in some areas it may be extremely hot and humid, causing annoyances to some and dangerous conditions for those who work in outdoor environments. Combined with physical activity and other sources of heat in some places such as foundries steel mills or bakeries, there is hot material that already creates an excess amount of heat. On the other hand, there can also be extreme cold as was seen this year with some record low chilling temperatures. This of course can create difficulty getting to work and make some feel trapped inside a climate-controlled environment, as it is too dangerous to go outside for more than 5 minutes. Humans already spend most of their time -about 90% – indoors. Eliminating most of the time that people spend indoors is not healthy as the sun triggers the production of vitamin D which protects against inflammation lowers blood pressure and improves brain function. The extremely low temperatures ensure that people stay inside longer, then end up not getting enough sun. To some this can cause a problem called seasonal affective disorder, which has extreme impacts on your mood and how you feel.

Seasonal affective disorder/Changing seasons

Seasonal affective disorder (Also known as S.A.D) is a form of depression that is also known as winter depression. It is very common during the winter months where people don’t get that vitamin D from the sun that their bodies need. The symptoms of S.A.D will start as early as fall and improve as spring comes along. It is important to note that SAD is much more serious than that down feeling that some people experience during winter, which of course is just more proof to those who have felt that stale boredom that happens during colder months that the environment around us does change our moods. Again, the warmer summer months make people feel more positive. A study by Cornell university said

“roughly 2 million people around the globe found that positive messages became more frequent as days got longer, and negative messages went up as days became shorter. More conclusive results showed people having identifiable peaks of happiness early in the day and then trending toward negativity in the evening.”

It is known to scientists that the light helps regulate our time clocks and in turn gives better sleep. They said

“light serves as the strongest cue to regulate our internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm follows a 24-hour pattern and controls our sleep cycle, hormonal fluctuations and body temperature. The light receptors in our eyes have an easier time recognizing when it’s time to wake up and fall asleep; in other words, our circadian rhythm is better aligned with natural sunlight and darkness.”

In layman’s terms, summer helps us sleep better, improving our mood and out cognitive abilities. Knowing this, we should act accordingly and try and find different ways to get the vitamin D without the sun and find activities that will allow us to get outside more even in the wintertime. This could include snowmobiling, ice fishing, skiing, sledding, or simply building things out of snow. Vitamin D can come from supplements, milk, orange juice, or select varieties of fish (Make sure to buy local!). Taking care of your body during the more difficult months can make winters go by much quicker and easier.

Storms and pressure

Oncoming storms have a way of messing with people. For reasons aside their destructive nature, storms are accompanied with a change in barometric pressure, lower pressure that is, and it can affect people in a few different ways. The most common would be headaches that are associated with the pressure. Dr Matthew Fink, a neurologist in chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, found that “low barometric pressure can cause headaches or migraines by creating a pressure difference between the atmosphere and the air-filled sinuses. The problem is exacerbated when the sinuses are congested or blocked for any reason.” This is further confirmed by a study by the journal, internal medicine, that found a direct correlation with headaches and low barometric pressure. It was also found that this drop-in pressure also affects people with arthritis, making the severity of their joint pain worse the lower the pressure dropped. Lastly, people with diabetes will also have trouble controlling their blood pressure during cold fronts, which is brought upon by this decrease in pressure. Each person may have trouble during these fronts, but it helps to know the reason for their pain or complications. It can bring peace of mind and make the situation easier to deal with.

Visual effects of the environment

Overall there are many ways that the environment can affect your wellness, but so far, we’ve mostly focused on the bad that can happen. This doesn’t mean that nature is bad. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Nature does wonders for a person’s health and mental wellness, only there are the few exceptions as listed above. For starters, a walk in the woods can improve blood pressure, boost mental health and even reduce the risk of cancer. Psychologists found that it is almost essential for humans to spend time outside and enjoy nature. Various studies have been done on the more specific effects that nature has on people. One study from the university of Michigan found that people who took a walk in the forest have a better short-term memory by 20%. It is also found that people who spend more time outdoors have lower levels of cortisol, which is a hormone used to determine how stressed a person is. Also, on the list of wonderful things nature can do for a person are to eliminate fatigue, reduce inflammation, fight depression, and help people focus and make clear decisions.

There are a variety of good things that our environment can do for us, and unfortunately a few negative effects that can come from it as well. If we are aware of how the environment impacts us, we can use it to our advantage to live happier, healthier lives.



Cancer and Industrial Farming

Introduction to industrial farming

What is Industrial Farming? Industrial farming is farms that carry livestock in a controlled environment usually held indoors. These farms play a dominant role in our food production process today in the U.S. Within these farms there are unethical actions taking place, such as abusive practices towards the animals. Most animals are bred to grow extremely fast which their bodies cannot support. The animals are bred for maximum meat, egg, and milk production as well as dealing with extreme confinement. These are just a few of the unethical practice within our industrial farming practice in the US. With a growing population, these industrial farms will never be able to suffice the growing demand for food, but what about our natural resources and our communities? The article, Factory Farming explains how industrial farming is depleting our natural resources, and affecting our health, “ The extreme amount of waste created by raising so many animals in one place pollutes our land, air, and water. Residents of rural communities surrounding factory farms report high incidents of illness, and their property values are often lowered by their proximity to industrial farms. To counteract the health challenges presented by overcrowded, stressful, unsanitary living conditions, antibiotics are used extensively on factory farms, which can create drug-resistant bacteria and put human health at risk.” Today more than 95% of animals are raised in factory farms according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. To further our discussion on Environmental Wellness: Industrial Farming and Cancers, we will look into the illnesses and the possible solutions for this growing problem in our Country.

Research on links to cancer/illness

Over the years, much research has been done to talk about the risk of cancers caused by today’s industrialized farming. First and foremost, it was found by Freeman, et al. that the risk for colon cancer increased significantly in farmers who raised poultry, such as chicken. Additionally, those who raised poultry were also at higher risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The risk of cancer extends further than just poultry farmers, those who care for sheep are at an increased risk for multiple myeloma. Farmers who devote much of their time working with their livestock, they are exposed to these animals’ bacteria and diseases, which often times is what contributes to the development of the above listed cancers. Another cause of cancers which have been found increasingly common in farmers are melanoma and lip cancer. Associated Press contributes this to be from the over abundance of UV sunlight exposure that farmers experience from their outdoor labors. Through this research, it has been clearly proven that it is incredibly dangerous for farmers to work in their workforce due to the increased risk of possible cancers. Eliminating livestock and poultry farms, by society converting to veganism can greatly decrease these cancer risks.

Many organizations have been researching the effects of industrial farming over the last 20 years. One of the largest areas of concern for public health is the increase of antibiotic resistant bacteria. According to Food and Water Watch, “80% of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are by agriculture”. As industrial farms continue to overuse antibiotics as a way to prevent and cure diseases caused by overcrowded farms, the bacteria involved are developing resistance to the antibiotics. In turn, the resistant bacteria are spreading to humans by animal food, contaminated waste, and even transferred directly from the animals to farmers. This is causing humans to suffer from serious and even deadly bacterial infections because the bacteria are not killed by antibiotics anymore. “Over two million Americans suffer from an antibiotic-resistant infection every year, and 23,000 people die,” says the Food and Water Watch. Lastly, even with the current research to prove the growing resistance of bacteria and its link to factory farming, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to require factory farms to stop the use of antibiotics for animals.


One solution to industrial farming is to encourage people to buy foods from local organic farms. By doing this they would not only be benefiting their community’s economic status, but they would also be preventing the addition of harmful substance in to the environment in several different ways. One of those ways is the burning of fewer fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions would decrease drastically by not having to transport the goods from place to place. Another reason we should encourage people to buy foods from organic farms is that they don’t use harmful pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. They are not only harmful to the plants and animals they are being used on but to those consuming the goods and the animals around these farms.  Local organic farms often offer more nutrient foods and have happier and healthier livestock. This is because their livestock live more natural lives. They are free range, not over crowded, and fed the foods they should be fed. This is just one possible solution for industrial farming. An alternative solution exists and would require us to adapt to a different form of eating, such as consuming foods not coming from an animal like meats and dairy. A trending diet such as veganism is an animal-free diet that focuses on foods organically grown. A vegan diet may consist of foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and beans. Offerings us many medical and ecological benefits. By consuming fewer animals we would be reducing the need for industrial farms that carry livestock. We would reduce our water consumption (needed to feed the animals), contamination of consumable water (contamination due to manure), prevent the prolonged exposure of the sun on farmers, and drastically reduce the risk of eating contaminated food that might affect our bodies way of fighting diseases (due to antibiotic-resistant livestock). This solution is intended as a way to alternatively supplement one’s diet and does not mean to adopt a fully vegan diet. But by consuming more organic plant-based foods we would contribute a smaller ecological footprint since a lot of meat consumption contributes to global warming. NBC reports in a study done by the EAT–Lancet Commission that “if everyone on the planet switched to a diet 50 percent lower in red meat and sugar than the average western diet, and much heavier in fruits and vegetables, about 11 million fewer people would die prematurely every year(Fox)”, leaving us to consider a greener diet.



Industrial farming plays a very large role in today’s farming industry and production process. Most individuals do not realize the lasting effects of industrial farming such as depleting our natural resources, and affecting our health. Along with that, we also do not realize the toll it takes on animals; they are underfed, abused, and live in horrible living conditions. These unethical actions and abusive practices need to be stopped or prevented. Over the years, much research has been done to talk about the risk of cancers and other diseases caused by today’s industrialized farming. Farmers are at high risk of contracting serious diseases such as colon cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, melanoma, and lip cancer. Being exposed to the bacteria from the animals they tend to can cause long term health effects. The bacterias are spreading to humans by animal food, contaminated waste, and even transferred directly from the animals to farmers. Although, researchers have found multiple solutions to industrial farming. This is where organic produce comes in; buying organic produce reduces the likelihood of being exposed to the unhealthy bacterias and antibiotics in animal products. Buying organic produce also reduce the amount of burning fossil fuels, and would also decrease the amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. Local organic farm animals are also treated better and are raised in a healthy environment without overcrowding. Another great option recommended by researchers is the idea of going vegan or vegetarian. If the world consumed less animal products, there would be less demand for industrial farming and would reduce water consumption and contamination around the world. These are both great options to consider trying. We hope to have helped educate others more on this topic to help prevent issues like industrial farming and its link to deadly cancers and diseases.


Beane Freeman, L. E., DeRoos, A. J., Koutros, S., Blair, A., Ward, M. H., Alavanja, M.,

& Hoppin, J. A. (2012). Poultry and Livestock Exposure and Cancer Risk among

Farmers in the Agricultural Health Study. NCBI. doi:10.1007/s10552-012-9921-1

The associated press. (1992). U.S. sees more risk of cancer in farmer. New York Times.



Fox, Maggie. “HEALTH NEWS Planetary diet: Save the planet and lives by eating less meat, more vegetables.” NBC News, NBC Universal, Accessed 26 Apr. 2019.

Diabetic Prevention

Social Effects:

American behavior widely promotes its lower class citizens into developing type 2 diabetes. Firstly, there are less resources for the people who cannot afford access to them. Studies show that those who live in poverty are 2-4 times more likely to develop diabetes than those who have higher education and a well-paying job. Social determinants, such as low income, low job security, and poor living conditions, are factors that very well play into health conditions.

We find that health reform acts are to blame, as they have failed to develop the proper resources for populations at risk for chronic health conditions. For example, proper resources would include access to healthcare, where one can talk to a dietician about living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The social determinants are not taken into consideration as they should be.

Secondly, American culture permits an extremely unhealthy lifestyle. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The correlation between heart disease and diabetes is distinct. 90% of type 2 diabetics are overweight or obese, and obesity has become a nationwide epidemic, contributing to the increasing amount of diabetics. This is due to the fact that the more fat one has, the less likely your muscle and tissue cells are able to properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the body, and regulates whether or not the extra glucose from food is stored as fat or used as energy.

America has become overweight due to 3 main reasons– increased portion sizes, misleading nutrition supplements, and inactivity. Numbers show that the average American eats 195 lbs of meat per year, which is closely related to the fact that fat consumption has heightened ⅔ over the same period. Fast food locations, which account for 11% of the average American diet, make it easy to access the large portions of fattening foods, and extremely sugary beverages. Companies advertise weight loss products, promoting “fad diets,” most of which cut out necessary nutrients needed in a daily, balanced diet. This confuses consumers, leading them to believe they are living healthier, when in reality, they are not.

Lastly, one of the largest components of type 2 diabetes is a lack of activity. Americans nowadays solely rely on watching television or passing time on their cellphones, which also goes hand-in-hand with eating. 80% of people do not exercise enough daily. Research shows that only 20% of jobs today require moderate physical activity, therefore leading to only burning 120-140 calories a day, which is insufficient compared to the amount Americans eat per day. All together, these societal effects perfectly show how easy it is to become overweight, and possibly risk developing diabetes.

Figure 1.1 The sociobiologic cycle of diabetes

Biological Effects:

Individuals can sometimes be able to wonder if they have diabetes and they just don’t know it yet. Signs of Diabetes can include:

  • Blurry Vision
  • Increased Fatigue
  • Desire for thirst
  • Feeling the need to urinate
  • Tingling in hands and/or feet
  • Pain in hands and/or feet

Having Diabetes can alter one’s life a lot. Besides having to watch what you eat, how much of what you eat, or how you exercise, the long term effects that diabetes has on your body can be a lot to handle as well.

Some of the increased effects and risks of diabetes can include high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can greatly increase an individual’s chances of strokes. When a person has diabetes they also must monitor their diabetes. If a person were to not monitor their diabetes they can develop Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy is when the back of the eyes swell and the blood vessels leak.

Some other health issues that can be because of diabetes is Diabetic Nephropathy and Gastroparesis. Diabetic Nephropathy is directly related to kidneys being a kidney disease which can be brought on by having diabetes. Gastroparesis is the delay in the movement of food to the small intestine. It can cause nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, bloating, abdominal pain, and weight loss (if condition is severe).

Another biological effect of a person who has diabetes can be that they do not heal as quickly as a person who does not have diabetes. This is because of their poor circulation of blood which reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients.

Having diabetes can directly affect a person’s nerves in their body. People who have diabetes can develop Neuropathy, which is their diabetes affecting their nerves. Some symptoms of Neuropathy can include:

  • Numbness of hands/feet
  • Tingling of hands/feet
  • Lack of arousal
  • Sweating excessively
  • Diagnosis of delayed stomach emptying

Behavioral Effects:

Diabetes can be caused by many things whether it be genetic, how much of certain things you eat, or simply what your lifestyle is like. Depending on the type of diabetes that you have, your body and lifestyle will change. For example, Type 1 diabetes is when the body cannot produce insulin anymore and Type 2 diabetes is when your body has a hard time managing your insulin levels. For Type 2 diabetes your lifestyle plays a pivotal role. An individual’s eating habits (nutritious or type of food), exercise, and obesity can all factor into diabetes. Based on the obesity rate, the amount of people expected to have diabetes is projected to increase drastically.

Some ways that people could prevent Type 2 diabetes would be to overall eat less carbohydrates in your diet. The more carbohydrates a person consumes, the higher their blood sugar can be. This lifestyle of eating more processed foods could increase an individual’s chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Another way that people can reduce their chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes is to not smoke or drink alcohol. Research has proven that people who smoke are 50% more likely to develop diabetes in their future. Some people tend to think that if they already are smoking, that there is nothing they can do because damage has been done. That is not always the case. Research has proven that although men who have smoked in the past have gained weight after they quit smoking, they still reduced their risk greatly of developing diabetes.

Exercising doesn’t just make people feel good, it helps your body in ways you might not even know. Individuals who tend to work out regularly, are less likely to develop diabetes due to their lowered heart rate, lower blood pressure, and their overall improved psychological well being. The more that an individual exercises, the more that insulin can increase and in turn, will help your body in not having an elevated risk of developing diabetes.

Changing one’s lifestyle can require a lot of hard work, determination, and lots of motivation from yourself. (Figure 1.2) There are lots of ways one can change their lifestyle to better suit them. A couple strategies are to set goals, plan how you wish to accomplish those goals, have the support from friends or family, and lastly, being able to have a good attitude knowing that you are improving your health and well-being, all while reducing health risks for your future.

Science Blog

Figure 1.2 Enhancing your lifestyle


Social Effects:


Biological Factors:


Behavioral Factors:





Infectious Diseases and Environment: Waterborne Diseases

When referencing the environment, there are several diseases that could result from contamination in some way. Waterborne diseases, in particular, are a great example. Typically, many develop from human and animal waste. What is concerning is clear water can still contain pollutants. For instance, water can contain metal, which can lead to organ damage and birth defects.

An individual suffering from a waterborne disease may experience several symptoms such as fever, cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, each disease can produce different symptoms and can last longer than others. In addition, individuals receive specific treatments based on the disease. Therefore, it is extremely important to receive early treatment.


Although it is categorized as extremely rare, cholera should not be taken lightly. It is so serious that healthy individuals can die in a matter of hours. What begins as an infection within the small intestines, results in severe diarrhea and dehydration and can lead to shock and seizures. It typically affects those who have consumed contaminated water or food. Cholera is mostly present in areas such as Africa, Asia, and Hati and affects Individuals who live in crowded conditions. In order to prevent waterborne diseases, specifically cholera, it is important to continue to improve sanitation throughout the world.


Amoebiasis can be described as a parasitic infection that affects the colon and is obtained through contaminated food and water. Typically, this infection is most prevalent in tropical areas. As a matter of fact, travelers are recommended to avoid water and food within these areas. Affected individuals may experience symptoms including fever, bloody stools, and nausea and vomiting. However, when referencing amoebiasis, not all individuals who are affected become sick and most symptoms begin within two to 15 days. Therefore, it is important to monitor symptoms closely. To prevent amoebiasis, individuals can wash fruits and vegetables before eating, drink bottled water, and limit dairy products.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A caused by the hepatitis A virus and can be contracted from the stool of another individual, contaminated water, and physical contact with an infected person. An affected individual may experience diarrhea, dark urine, and abdominal pain. Although it differs for each individual, the illness can last from anywhere from two weeks to three months. Therefore, it is important to visit a doctor and receive treatment if necessary. In today’s society, there is a vaccination for the disease that is recommended for ages one and older. In order to prevent hepatitis A, individuals should avoid eating raw oysters and shellfish and individuals should get vaccinated.


Malaria is a significant water born illness in terms of human-disease interaction. It is spread by the bites of female Anopheles mosquitos infected with the malaria parasite. Symptoms of this disease include high fevers, violent shakes, intense flu-like symptoms, and if left untreated death. According to the CDC, 216 million people became ill due to the Anopheles mosquito in 2016. Of those 216 million, 445,000 people were unable to beat this treatable disease and lost their lives. The majority of recorded deaths were children in the African region. The United States is not immune to Malaria’s effects. Every year travelers go on vacation to sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia and put themselves at risk of contracting malaria and bringing it back home with them. As a result, there are up to 1,700 documented cases of Malaria in the US every year. Treatment includes any one of the antimalarial drugs on the market today. However, it is important for physicians to determine where and when the disease was contracted in order to ensure the parasite is not immune to the drugs prescribed.

Typhoid & Paratyphoid Fever

Typhoid and Paratyphoid fever are bacterial diseases that spread through the ingestion of feces particles. Those who are currently ill are able to spread the disease and one in twenty people who recover are still carriers of the disease. Typhoid fever is preventable by means of vaccination whereas paratyphoid fever is not preventable. The distinction between the two diseases comes down to the type of bacteria ingested. Typhoid fever is caused by Salmonella Typhi and paratyphoid fever is due to the ingestion of Salmonella Paratyphi. Typhoid and paratyphoid fever effect a combined 27 million people every single year according to the CDC. Those who travel to countries such as India, Bangladesh, or Pakistan should take extreme care in ensuring their drinking water goes through proper sanitation, the most common form of contraction. However, neither disease is common in the United States unless travelers contract either disease and bring it home to the states.

Giardia & Giardiasis

Giardiasis is an infection caused by the parasitic organism Giardia that lives in the digestive tract. Giardia causes intestinal distress in the form of extremely severe diarrhea leading to deadly dehydration. Symptoms typically take anywhere from one to three weeks to develop with the infection lasting anywhere from two to six weeks; those with a weaker immune system may experience a longer period of symptoms. Giardia is one of the most common waterborne infections in the United States and can be found in every state. To minimize the risk of Giardia infection, avoid swimming in and drinking questionable sources of water in addition to washing hands after using the restroom. If Giardia is contracted it can be treated with a range of medications from a healthcare provider.

Cryptosporidium & Cryptosporidiosis (“Crypto”)

Cryptosporidiosis is a disease caused by the microscopic, single-celled parasite Cryptosporidium – both are often called “Crypto” for short. Crypto causes watery diarrhea in the host as well as symptoms that go along with that such as cramps and dehydration. After exposure to Crypto, it typically takes anywhere from two to ten days for symptoms to appear. Crypto can be found in every region throughout the United States as well as the world. The most common way for Crypto to be contracted is through the accidental ingestion of recreational water, for example, pool water. Crypto is known to spread through this outlet because a unique outer covering that has a naturally high ability to withstand sanitation by chlorination. Treatment for Crypto is not usually necessary, a healthy immune system with see symptoms lasting one to two weeks before getting better. However, it is recommended to stay hydrated and avoid consuming things that contain diuretics such as caffeine; over the counter, anti-diarrhea medicines are also available.

What is currently being done to prevent waterborne diseases? 

Water continues to be one of the world’s most valuable resources due to its many uses such as drinking, recreation, and industry. Although we advocate for safe, adequate water, we still struggle to do so. In 2010, the CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch (WDPB) was created to work towards clean water and prevent hygiene-related diseases. With the help of WDPB, we can now track waterborne disease, investigate causes, and work towards prevention. While this is a step in the right direction, nationally, individuals need to recognize the severity of waterborne illnesses. Therefore, individuals must work together and practice basic hygiene to provide adequate sanitation.

Citations (Waterborne Diseases – Trysten Hazen, Noah Petersen, Barret Kesselring)

Infectious Disease and Environment: Airborne Diseases

Respiratory diseases infect millions of people every year, whether the disease be Influenza, the Rhinovirus, or SARS. While there is not a clear consensus on how much environmental factors affect these diseases, there is evidence to show that the environment can have major impacts of how infective these diseases are.

Studies conducted have shown that temperature and humidity have a significant impact on transmission. While some of these factors come from humans changing their habits as seasonal differences occur, some come from changes in air temperature and humidity; for example, cold dry winter air impairs the ability of the lungs to clear themselves. This was shown in a 1960s study in which mice were infected with influenza. When the humidity increased, transmission of influenza decreased. In a similar study with guinea pigs, when the relative humidity was at 20%, transmission of influenza was the greatest, while at 80% relative humidity, there was little to no transmission of the disease. While these tests both show that higher relative humidity lowers transmission of influenza, viruses such as adenovirus and rhinovirus are more stable and are able to transmit at these higher humidity levels. This appears to be due to differences between relative humidity, compared to temperature and actual humidity, which is the actual amount of water vapor in the air.

The effect of rainfall on the transmission of disease appears to be mixed. A study on RSV in Indonesia found that the more days it rained, the higher the infection rate. Similarly, a study in Malaysia concluded that the more days it rained, the higher the number of infections. Contrarily, a study in Taiwan found no association was between rainfall and disease transmission. Many other studies concluded by agreeing with either of the two sides, leaving no clear consensus.

While there are not many studies, a study on mice concluded that an increase in ventilation lowered transmission of influenza.

Box 1

Modes of person-to-person transmission of respiratory viruses

Contact transmission In both modes of contract transmission (direct and indirect), contaminated hands play an important role in carrying virus to mucous membranes.
Direct transmission Virus is transferred by contact from an infected person to another person without a contaminated intermediate object (fomite).
Indirect transmission Virus is transferred by contact with a contaminated intermediate object (fomite).
Droplet spray transmission Virus transmits through the air by droplet sprays (such as those produced by coughing or sneezing); a key feature is deposition of droplets by impaction on exposed mucous membranes.
Aerosol transmission Virus transmits through the air by aerosols in the inspirable size range or smaller; aerosol particles are small enough to be inhaled into the oronasopharynx and distally into the trachea and lung.

Pica, Natalie, and Nicole M Bouvier. “Environmental Factors Affecting the Transmission of Respiratory Viruses.” Current Opinion in Virology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2012,

Table 1

Modes of transmission of several human respiratory tract viruses.

Virus Family Primary mode(s) of respiratory transmission
Adenoviruses Adenoviridae Contact, possibly droplet spray and/or aerosol (limited data) [24]
Influenza viruses Orthomyxoviridae Contact, droplet spray and/or aerosol (conflicting data) [59]
Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIV) Paramyxoviridae Uncertain (limited data) [1012]
Metapneumovirus Paramyxoviridae Uncertain (limited data) [2]
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) Paramyxoviridae Direct and indirect contact [7,13], possibly droplet spray [14]
Rhinoviruses Picornaviridae Contact, droplet spray and/or aerosol (conflicting data) [7,15]
SARS coronavirus Coronaviridae Droplet spray and aerosol [2,4,16], possibly contact [17]

Pica, Natalie, and Nicole M Bouvier. “Environmental Factors Affecting the Transmission of Respiratory Viruses.” Current Opinion in Virology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2012,




Citations(Jonah Kasdorf):

Connolly, M A. “Communicable Disease Control in Emergencies.” World Health Organization, 2005.

Pica, Natalie, and Nicole M Bouvier. “Environmental Factors Affecting the Transmission of Respiratory Viruses.” Current Opinion in Virology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2012,


Team Ten – Mental Health and Environmental Awareness

Team members include Michael Olivia, Nicole Reiter, Emily Thiry, and Jenna Peterson. Mental Health and Environmental Awareness includes topics such as lifestyles, exposure to pollutants, natural hazards, and other physical and social environments being a contributing factor to several mental illnesses and disorders.