Primary Prevention that intervenes before health effects occur, through Secondary Prevention screening to identify diseases as soon as possible, Tertiary Prevention manages the disease after diagnosis To help explain the difference, take this example. Let's say you're the mayor of a city near a swimming pool used by children and adults alike. One summer, he learns that citizens are developing severe and persistent eruptions after swimming as a result of a chemical irritant in the river. If you approach the upstream company that is dumping the chemical into the river and causes it to stop, you are participating in primary prevention.
First of all, you are eliminating hazardous exposure and preventing skin rashes. If you ask first responders to check swimmers as they leave the river for signs of a rash that can then be treated immediately, you are doing secondary prevention. It's not preventing eruptions, but it's reducing their impact by treating them from the start so swimmers can regain their health and continue their daily lives as soon as possible. If you establish programs and support groups that teach people how to live with their persistent eruptions, you are participating in tertiary prevention.
You don't prevent rashes or treat them right away, but you are softening their impact by helping people live with their eruptions as well as possible. For many health problems, a combination of primary, secondary and tertiary interventions is needed to achieve a significant degree of prevention and protection. However, as this example shows, prevention experts say that the more “upstream” one of the negative health outcomes is, the more likely any intervention is to be effective. Vaccines to prevent infectious diseases, such as the flu.
Ischemic heart disease, also called coronary heart disease, is the leading cause of death worldwide. Below is an example of each level of prevention related to heart disease. Can you think of more examples for each level? Similarly, tertiary prevention is often difficult to separate from treatment, although several authors refer to the treatment of, for example, symptomatic cancer or surgical interventions for acute conditions such as appendicitis as tertiary prevention, because these interventions seek to prevent recurrence. of the disease and ultimately reduce mortality.
An example of tertiary prevention initiated by the OT practitioner could be the intervention of an elderly person confined to their home who experiences limitations due to arthritis pain. For example, while the selection of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat foods are preventive measures at the individual level, taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and requirements that calorie counts be included in fast-food restaurant menus are measures at the policy level aimed at to promote healthy choices and primary prevention. Occupational therapy is a form of rehabilitation aimed at preventing disability after a stroke and is an example of tertiary prevention. For example, tertiary prevention for people with diabetes focuses on blood sugar control, excellent skin care, frequent foot examination, and frequent exercise to prevent heart and blood vessel diseases.
Several authors refer to the treatment of, for example, symptomatic cancer or surgical interventions for acute conditions such as appendicitis as tertiary prevention because these interventions seek to prevent the recurrence of the disease and, ultimately, reduce mortality. .