Serious violence and injury have life-altering consequences for victims and their families that often cannot be reversed. Prevention and treatment must be priorities.
Violence in the United States is a public health epidemic that is caused by institutional and personal actions. The root causes of violence include inequitable social and economic conditions.
Personal violence is the intentional use of physical or psychological force against another person or against oneself that may result in injury or death. An injury is damage to tissue usually caused by excessive energy transfer.
[...] Ways to Reduce Injury FIRE AND BURN INJURIES BEHAVIORS. Install and maintain smoke detectors or residential sprinklers; reduce the temperature settings in residential hot water heaters to 125°F. POLICIES. Establish mandatory flammability performance standards for cigarettes to prevent furniture ignition. Ways to Reduce Injury DROWNING BEHAVIORS. Wear flotation devices while boating. POLICIES. Require four-sided isolation fences with self-latching gates on all residential pools. Ways to Reduce Injury FALLS BEHAVIORS. Develop and/or maintain flexibility and agility among elders; improve lighting and install handgrip devices in the home; install guards on balconies and windows in high-rise buildings. [...]
[...] Advocate for public policy solutions to the violence and injury problem. Physicians have played a leadership role in injury control in such diverse areas as traffic safety, burns from tap water and clothing ignition, and firearms policy. Today's injury problems call for augmented medical leadership in policy areas. Implications for Medical Practice Legislators and journalists turn to physicians for information about disease and injury because physicians have daily contact with sick and injured people and can speak from personal experience about the problem. [...]
[...] Ways to Reduce Injury As is the case with preventing diseases such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and smoking-associated cancers, preventing violence and injuries requires that physicians intervene at the individual level and in the social and political processes that determine the prevalence of these conditions. Implications for Medical Practice Traditionally, physicians have focused on treating and counseling individual patients and have concentrated on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Evidence from successful injury prevention efforts suggests that equal attention should be given to public policies to prevent injury. [...]
[...] Epidemiology Violence in families is an increasingly recognized and complex problem. Being exposed to childhood abuse or living in a dysfunctional household has been found to produce a 12-fold increase in adult health risks for alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide attempts. An estimated 880,000 children were victims of substantiated maltreatment in 2000. Epidemiology Almost three fifths suffered neglect, whereas one fifth suffered physical abuse, and approximately 10% were sexually abused. In a 1998 national survey, almost one third of female respondents reported being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. [...]
[...] Ways to Reduce Injury An example of the effectiveness of a public policy to prevent injury is the reduction in deaths and nonfatal head injuries in motorcyclists after enactment of the mandatory helmet laws. Hospital charges for injuries to California motorcyclists declined markedly in the 2 years (1992 to 1993) after enactment of the law, with charges related to head injuries decreasing by 58%. Ways to Reduce Injury Certain personal and family actions can prevent injury from known hazards, and enactment of public policies has the potential to reduce injury. [...]
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