How Hygiene Promotes Health
Good hygiene equals good health. Our environment is teeming with millions of microorganisms and once these microbes enter our body, it could lead to ill health and diseases. Our personal health, our family’s health and the well-being of the community at large, can be safeguarded by some simple preventive measures.
The word hygiene originates from the Greek word hugies’ which means healthy. This later evolved to the French word, hygiene. Hygiene is defined as conditions or procedures that help to maintain health and prevent spread of diseases. Thus, both in word and meaning. hygiene equates to being healthy. Here we look at some of the areas where maintaining hygiene can play an important role in health.
Hygiene At Home
The importance of hygiene in our domestic environment cannot be stressed enough.
- Regular hand washing practices using soap and water before preparing or eating food, after using the toilet, after cleaning the house etc. are very important to prevent the spread of microbial infections through the internal route. This prevents food or water contamination which is a major cause of diarrheal diseases, hepatitis, typhoid etc. Regular use of sanitizers and hand washing also prevents frequent respiratory infections like influenza and common colds due to viruses which spread from one person to person via fomites i.e. everyday objects on which microorganisms are deposited.
- Keeping our domestic areas dean and tidy with regular cleaning and scrubbing of toilets, paying particular attention to sinks and washing areas especially where water stagnates in pipes or in the outdoor areas like gardens or verandas is important.
- Adhere to correct garbage disposal techniques which limit the breeding of mosquitoes, flies etc. which play a role in spreading of diseases.
- The kitchen should be regularly cleaned, especially the kitchen counters and the stove areas. Food preparation and storage areas should be scrubbed regularly. Cutting boards and knives are easily contaminated with bacteria. Also, regular cleaning and maintenance of the refrigerator and pantry avoids the problem of food contamination through microbes.
- When there are sick people at home. their surroundings should be dean. This is especially true in our present day lite where a lot of families have an elderly family member whose chronic illness is being managed at home. So not just the patient but even care givers and other family members are at increased risk of contracting infections.
- Regular maintenance of our upholstery. carpets, keeping household linen and washcloths clean helps to reduce the overall dust burden and decrease the incidence of both infection through dust mites and allergies which get triggered in sensitive patients. I Children’s rooms should be kept scrupulously dean and regular supervised cleaning including the cupboards should help to prevent bacterial and fungal spores which may flourish in closets, especially in humid weather.
Hygiene At Work
- Get work places, cabins and work desks regularly cleaned and dusted to reduce the exposure to allergies
- Regular maintenance of the air conditioning vents, tubes and hidden places behind the overhead light fixtures prevents dust trapping.
- Clean washrooms and toilet hygiene, especially in common use areas prevents possible transmission of infections.
- Use a daily face cleanser.
- Keep a little bottle of sanitizer or wet wipes handy when you leave the house.
- Always wash your hands before consuming food.
- Clip nails regularly to avoid dirt settling in.
- Always sneeze or cough in your handkerchief to avoid spreading of germs.
- Do not share personal stuff like razors, epilators, make-up etc.
- Keep the surfaces in your house clean.
- Visit your doctor regularly for check-ups and to avoid infections.
- Regular bathing, wearing clean clothes and toot wear is something we all do.
- In addition, keeping our hands regularly washed, our nails trimmed and clean will reduce chances of infection
- Oral hygiene including regular brushing twice a day and washing the mouth after eating something, regular dental checks to look for caries teeth or gum infections prevents internal spread of infections.
- Moist areas including the underarms, belt areas and genital areas promote growth of bacterial and fungal organisms. Regular cleaning and keeping the area dry often helps prevent these infections.
- Regular care of skin and hair prevents seborrhoea, dermatitis and acne.
Maintaining hygiene as a habit needs to be inculcated at a young age so that it is part of everyone s day-to-day care. It is one of the most effective and easy ways towards a better life, free from sickness.