Public Health Crises the U.S. Will Still Have to Deal with After COVID-19

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COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. Despite the virality of the disease, it is not the only thing our healthcare system has to worry about right now.

It definitely gets the most attention, but there are a lot of other issues that are plaguing our healthcare and society. You may have heard of some of them, but others are just waiting to become a bigger problem, especially with the conditions that COVID-19 has caused.

Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccines have been a hot topic for many people in the past few decades. Anti-vax trends have started to gain more and more traction, which has led to a few outbreaks of diseases thought to be eradicated in the last few years.

Vaccine Sceptic
Vaccine Sceptic’s

And now, with the COVID-19 vaccine reaching the point where it will soon start being distributed, this issue has only thrown more gas on the fire of the debate—to vaccinate or not.

This used to be a few fringe groups, but anti-vaxxers, medical freedom advocates, and some government leaders have cast doubt on the COVID-19 vaccine. Part of this comes from misunderstandings on how scientists and doctors have been able to develop the vaccine so quickly, but it is also symptomatic of a larger problem.

Medical experts will have to educate and relieve any hesitancy found throughout the nation. Some people are scared that a vaccine will give them a higher chance to die from the virus.

Others may be thinking about conspiracy theories they heard about vaccines. Education and assurance will be the ways to combat this. Not only is this important for the COVID-19 vaccine, it needs to continue happening for other vaccines.

Even small outbreaks can lead to serious problems, and with many hospitals and healthcare systems overrun right now, that is the last thing that is needed.

Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis is not a new problem, especially in the US, but the extent of the issue is only just becoming part of the public awareness.

Problems with opioid drug abuse and overdoses have actually been a concern for the CDC since the 1990s, when prescribing opioids became more common, leading to more addictions and overdoses.

Poppy's before the manufacturing process
Poppy’s before they are made into Opioid’s

Since that time, there have been multiple waves of rising opioid overdose deaths. The opioid crisis kills tens of thousands of Americans every year.

Combating the opioid crisis is going to take more than just public education, though that is an important part. A large number of addicts start off with prescription drugs they were properly prescribed that they become dependent on.

Proper oversight from doctors is key to preventing further addiction. Effective treatment and de-stigmatization of addiction can also play a huge role in helping people recover.

If you know someone who is suffering from an addiction, supporting them through their recovery process and staying sober is one of the most important things you can do.

Mental Health

Mental health struggles come in all shapes and sizes, and as we learn more about how our brain works and how it interacts with our body, mental health issues are becoming more prevalent.

There are plenty of reasons that people point to that may be causing the rise in mental illness, including social media, increased pressure, the state of the world, and more education to name a few.

In the next few years, the number of people diagnosed with a mental health condition is expected to continue to rise.

Mental Health Blocks
Mental Health Blocks

With the current pandemic, political climate, and economic unrest, it is no wonder that there has been an uptick in mental health concerns over the last year, beyond what was initially expected.

As routines have been disrupted and lives thrown into chaos, those who already struggled may have found themselves in a worse position and many more people started developing depression and anxiety.

Helping all of those struggling is a huge task, one that many places aren’t prepared for.

Nursing Shortage

Nursing is an important part of our healthcare system, and the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown this into sharp focus. Without dedicated nurses, nothing happens.

Unfortunately, even before the current pandemic, the US was already facing a nursing shortage, with a predicted 1.1 million new RNs needed by 2022 to prevent a true shortage.

Nursing Shortages
Nursing Shortages

With the current situations of the pandemic, with healthcare professionals getting overwhelmed, and some even dying, there is a likelihood that some may retire earlier than planned to leave hospitals and clinics understaffed and overwhelmed.

These health crises are not new, but they do present dangerous problems that our healthcare system and society face. COVID-19 has helped us to see the areas we fall short in and how we can do better.

It is important to make appropriate efforts in your sphere of influence to combat these issues and to help those around you.

Want to know more about the COVID-19 vaccine? Check out this article!

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