How to avoid infection
While this phase of the subject is here emphasized it must not for a moment be assumed that the share of the city, state, and nation, in the preservation of the public health, is less than formerly.
On the contrary, the need for these governmental activities is far greater and they are far more effective. It is still the duty of our officials to furnish pure water, to construct sewers, to regulate housing conditions, supervise the quality of milk and other foods, and to isolate contagious diseases in the home, or in the hospital. Indeed, the health work of the city is increasing and proceeding along new lines.
It has to a large extent shifted from the environment to the individual, though the former is by no means to be neglected. Personal instruction, medical service, and help to the right ways of living receive the most attention.
Hence we have the visiting nurse, prenatal work, infant welfare stations, clinics for sick babies, tuberculosis dispensaries, the fight against nostrums, school inspection, and the like. It is more important to remove adenoids from the child than it is to remove ashes from the backyard. It does more for health to fill decayed teeth than it does to fill sunken lots.
It is more protection to the public health to detect the first signs of tuberculosis in the lungs of a young wage-earner than it is to detect a pinhole opening in a sink pipe.