Maintain hygiene, keep healthy

Basic manners

Maintain hygiene, keep healthy

The swine-origin influenza (H1N1) pandemic has highlighted the importance of identifying
public health measures that can mitigate influenza virus transmission.

“Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds as often as you can in the course of the day is much easier than spending five days in bed with a cold and flu,” say doctors in the City.

Many cases of respiratory infection and food-borne illness are spread simply
because people do not adhere to basic hygiene practices. When soap and water aren’t available, reach for a hand sanitizer or some hand wipes that should be kept handy in your purse or on your desk top.

The first-ever Global Handwashing Day was held on October 15, 2008 with the UN General Assembly calling for  improved hygiene practices in countries the world over. This day must assume greater importance especially in the light of current epidemics that the City is facing, add experts.

A Little Bit of Soap, A Powerful Effect on Human Health was the slogan adopted and Global Handwashing Day became the centrepiece of a week of activities that helped mobilise people in more than 20 countries across five continents to wash their hands carefully with soap thereby checking the spread of bacteria and viruses from person to person.

 “In the light of the spate of infectious diseases that are sweeping across cities there is an urgent need to make people more aware of commonplace hygiene practices that can go a long way in checking the spread of infection in offices and public places,” says Dr Rajgopal, a General Practitioner. “People all over the world wash their hands only with water to remove visible dirt. However, because handwashing with soap is the single most cost-effective health intervention, there is a critical need to educate people regarding the benefits of adding soap to their personal hygiene regime.”

WHO’s Clean Care is Safer Care programme recommends the use of alcohol-based handrub as the preferred means for routine hand antisepsis and there are certain everyday actions people can take to stay healthy which should be inculcated in day-to-day life.

Dr Bryan Nobbay feels that there is an urgent need to adopt good hygiene practices which will not only prevent one from falling prey to infection but also help check the spread of germs to others. “Stop spitting in public. If you must then do it in your shirt pocket not on public property! Hands should be washed carefully especially after using the rest room or before handling food, using soap. This is important as people tend to rinse under running water.

Wash the front and back of your hands, between your fingers and under the nails for at least 15-20 seconds before rinsing and drying thoroughly with a clean towel or air dryer.

Hand sanitizers or hand wipes are useful alternatives if soap and water are not available like when travelling in the car or taxi on the way to a business meeting, before eating an in-flight meal or snack, or in outdoor work settings. Not just careful handwashing, there are certain measures that people need to adopt in everyday living and you don't have to be a medical professional to know this. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it in the trash after you use it. Avoid touching your eyes,
nose or mouth as germs spread that way, not just flu but tuberculosis, conjunctivitis and any airborne virus. Try to avoid close contact with sick people and if you are sick stay at home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to prevent spreading your illness to others in the school or workplace. People who walk around with masks should know that it is really the  person who is already infected who should wear a mask to help contain the spread of the disease as it does not act as a preventive,” he adds.

He also cautions against the random use of unprescribed and over-the-counter alternative medicine based on unsubstantiated hearsay which people tend to use in panic situation as they may cause more harm than good.


Some dos and don’ts

*  Stop spitting in public.
*  Hands should be washed carefully especially after using the rest room or
before handling food, using soap.
*  Hand sanitizers or hand wipes are useful alternatives if soap and water are not available.
*  Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it in the trash after you use it.
*  Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread that way.
*  Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
*  If you are sick, stay at home. Avoid contact with other people to prevent spreading illness to others in the schoolor workplace.
*  One who is infected should wear a mask.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry