Debate about health care often focuses on controversial treatments and procedures with little regard for how preventive medicine can reduce the severity or even help people avoid serious or chronic illnesses. While there certainly should be procedures in place to handle accidents and unavoidable ailments, this should not be at the expense of effective preventive measures. Ironically health care and its relation to prenatal intervention and decisions regarding the end of life often take on a life of their own, leaving nothing left for the considerable number of years in between. Accordingly, emphasizing preventive medicine before birth and beyond may make for a better quality of life throughout.

Instead of using all available financial resources searching for cures, paying attention to preventive measures may save money and lives. While screenings are often helpful, something as simple as educating people on ways they can safeguard their health if they are at a particular risk may help them cope and keep them from becoming seriously ill. Prenatal education, for example, may protect the expectant mother as well as the unborn child, and the lessons learned may be carried out long after the baby is born. Smokers, once educated about the dangers of firsthand as well as secondhand smoke, may make changes that reduce health risks for their families as well as for themselves.

Recognizing environmental contaminants and how to avoid them can also be an extremely beneficial form of preventive medicine. Good hygiene, with an emphasis on proper hand washing, can significantly reduce the risk for ending up with a cold or various types of respiratory illnesses. Accordingly, understanding and practicing safe food handling techniques may keep people healthier as well. A small amount of prevention may create a better atmosphere overall, and having to spend less time treating ailments may save money and time that may be better spent truly enjoying life.

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