Chapter 11. Cautious & Proactive

Goal: to minimize health risks

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. —Ben Franklin

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure    —    Ben Franklin

In 2014, 39 percent of premature deaths in the United States came from unintended injuries. Up to 40 percent of deaths could have been prevented. Risks include lack of seat belt use, lack of motorcycle helmet use, unsafe consumer products, drug and alcohol use (including prescription drug misuse), exposure to occupational hazards, and unsafe home and community environments.[1] In 2009, $693 billion was lost owing to unintended injury, of which 50 percent was attributed to lost wages and productivity. [2] And that’s only unintended injuries; it doesn’t include all the deaths and lost money due to the top four causes of death: heart disease, cancers, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and strokes. And it doesn’t include all the money spent on drugs, emergency visits, expensive surgeries, and hospital visits.

Our generic goal is to reduce risk and to proactively prevent disease and injury as encompassed in health habits #2 to #5. What we are really talking about is risk reduction, common sense, very assertive action when you must to prevent harm and a little luck. On a personal level, I believe it starts with being 100% honest with yourself about what you really want and how one aspect of your life affects another aspect. It’s also realizing given time – you too may be a statistic, each of us is vulnerable over time. Sometimes we need to take preventive actions that don’t seem very important or cause short-term pain like get vaccinations so we guard against the small risk we could get really sick, and the more important population risk of an epidemic.  Which means that prevention does require self-control, sacrifice and practice and raised with poor habits as children, who have no sense of security or judgment, or who have a history of abuse or emotional health challenges then have a much harder time valuing and maintaining healthy habits. Finally, since travelers are expected to already know why preventative are important action and how to do them, this chapter commences by exploring one of the most complex areas of preventive care – reducing chemical exposure.


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[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Up to 40% of the five leading causes of annual deaths are preventable,” 2014, retrieved on June 3, 2016, from

[2] US Census Bureau, “Table 202: Costs of unintentional injury-2009,” 2011, retrieved on October 15, 2016, from…/12s0202.xls.