Clinical Epidemiology and Decision Making Case Study

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These spores thus need water or moisture to germinate and flood provides them the ideal environment to grow. Molds if inhaled can cause allergic reactions that affect the respiratory tract. Other illnesses include sinus congestion, sore throat and breathing problems. The health risks can be more for children and elderly people as well as people with low immune systems. Mold can also have severe implications on structural strength of buildings as well which may compound the problem in flood stricken areas. The field of clinical epidemiology suggests that general practitioners must consider facts based on population based studies of diseases and base their treatment and design preventive measures on these measures. Clinicians may use these statistics towards better patient care. In this paper we attempt to explore how clinical epidemiology may be beneficial to guide and deal with detection, prevention and treatment of mold in flood hit areas. It is pertinent to note that mold may appear soon after the flood and may carry on until there is moisture. For this reason it is important that the rehabilitation process may not be started unless all moisture dries out. For the purpose, the health practitioners treating the disease need to be advised before and immediately after the floods about the types of molds in the area as well as the extent of illness in the area. Also, the health practitioners need to know about the medical facilities that they would have as well as chalk out a method to deal in case that it takes the form of an epidemic. These practitioners need to be told that they must not look to test every individual due to resources constraints and would be better served to look for symptoms. 2. Types of Molds Evidence from clinical epidemiology suggests that there are three types of molds that can affect people in the aftermath of a flood. These are mentioned below: i. Allergenic These types of molds are the least damaging as they affect only those individuals that are already weakened by illness or disease and a have a weakened immune system. Although these molds are present all year, they thrive in areas where the moisture content is significantly high. This essentially means that these types of molds can exist in the aftermath of a flood. These molds result in sneezing and cause allergic reactions. Thus they do not have life threatening affects unlike other types of molds that might result in severe respiratory problems including congestion of the windpipe and choking. Mold spores are examples of allergenic molds. ii. Pathogenic This type of mold may cause respiratory tract infections. For persons with a weakened immune system, this may result in severe illness and may be possibly life threatening. However, healthy individuals may develop hypersensitivity but do not incur infection. This is why it is imperative that children and elders are guarded against this type of a mold infection. The bipolaris mold is one example of a pathogenic mold. The mold may manifest itself as mycotic keratitis and sinusitis etc. This type of a mold can affect both immune-competent as well as immune-compromised individuals with different repercussions. iii. Toxigenic The most devastating strain of mold produces myotoxin which can cause some seriously undesirable health problems. This is an extremely toxic strain of mold which may not only