Health does not simply mean the absence of disease or physical fitness. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Thus WHO recognizes three dimensions of health – physical, mental and social. By performing various tests physical health can be determined but it is difficult to asses the mental health and the social well-being.
Hygiene is a science of health. The conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness is called hygiene. Proper personal hygiene means taking care of every aspect of your body, from keeping it clean to looking your best.
Good hygiene is an important barrier to many infectious diseases, including the faecal-oral diseases, and it promotes better health and well-being. To achieve the greatest health benefits, improvements in hygiene should be made concurrently with improvements in the water supply and sanitation.
Importance of Hygiene:
Keeping our body clean is an important combating and preventing illness both for ourselves and for those around us. Washing hands prevents the spread of germs from one person to another and from one part of your body to another. Brushing and flossing teeth reduce chances of oral and other diseases.
Personal hygiene and regular care of body can reduce body odour and breath. It improves personal appearance, which results in the improvement of our self-image and others’ perceptions of us.
It is said that prevention is always better than cure. Good personal and social hygiene avoids breaking of epidemic disease. It avoids the high cost of curing diseases and prevents the pain of disease.
Wash your hands as often as possible. A lot of the places we touch may be very unclean and may have germs. Proper handwashing is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of diarrhoeal diseases. Soap and wood ash are both cleansing and disinfecting agents when used with water and can be used to kill pathogens on hands and utensils.
Hands should be washed with soap and water are: After defecating, after cleaning a child who has defecated, before eating or handling food.
Suitable hand washing facilities must be located near places such as latrines and kitchens. If running water is available, the facilities should include a tap and a sink as well as soap. The soap itself can be kept clean by suspending it above the ground on a string
Bathe daily. It is important for good health to keep our bodies clean. If our bodies become dirty and sweaty and stay that way for a long time, the skin and hair become ideal places for disease-causing germs to grow and multiply. Bathing is important in humid regions because the sweat on body and pollution acts as bacteria magnet.
Bathing prevents hygiene-related diseases such as scabies, ringworm, trachoma, conjunctivitis and louse-borne typhus. The genital areas should be kept extremely clean. These areas are the most prone to infections and bacterial attacks.
Bathing with soap is an important means of preventing the transmission of trachoma—an illness that can cause blindness and other eyesight problems.
bathing should be combined with reducing the numbers of flies and improvement in sanitation
Efficient use of water must be encouraged by the use of water containers with taps. Community shower units, with separate facilities for men and women, can be built at convenient locations.
Wear a fresh set of thoroughly washed clothes as often as possible to avoid skin disorders. To promote laundering of clothes and bedding, laundry slabs or sinks can be constructed near water points. They should be large enough to wash bedding and other bulky items and be situated so that water drains away from the laundry area and away from the water source.
Clothes should not be washed in natural water bodies, streams, and irrigation canals because this practice can contribute to the transmission of schistosomiasis.
Always brush your teeth twice a day. It is required for oral hygiene and prevents dental decay. The teeth and gums also need to be kept clean to stop them from becoming diseased.
When brushing proper brush, proper techniques should be used. A proper time should be given for brushing. Use flossing, mouthwash, and tongue scraper.
Use of alcoholic drinks, soda, and coffee should be kept under check. Chewing of tobacco and tobacco-based products like gutkha should be completely avoided.
Use of Mask:
Wear a mask if you travel through extremely polluted areas. It prevents respiratory disorders. This is not 100% remedy but still, we can reduce the effect of the pollution to some degree. The masks should be cleaned and should be disposed of at regular interval.
Keep the house and people’s clothes and bedding clean.
It includes sweeping and washing floors, cleaning the toilet, washing clothes and bedding, and washing dishes and cooking utensils after meals.
Make sure that the house is a clean and healthy place, Do not throw garbage around residential areas.
Contaminated food is the main cause of disease outbreaks and transmission. Food that is kept too long can go bad and contain toxic chemicals or pathogens. The foodstuffs that are eaten raw, such as fruits or vegetables, can become contaminated by dirty hands, unclean water or flies. Improperly prepared food can also cause chemical poisoning: Hence Food hygiene is very important. Foodstuff should be properly stored and prepared.
The kitchen should be kept clean and waste should be disposed of carefully to avoid attracting diseases transmitting rodents such as rats and mice. Food preparation surfaces and platforms should be clean to avoid harmful organisms those contaminate food.
Before preparing food, hands should be washed with soap or ash. Raw fruit and vegetables should not be eaten unless they are first peeled or washed with clean water.
Proper methods and techniques should be used for cooking a food. A proper care should be taken when cooking meat. Both cattle and pigs host tapeworms. If not cooked properly the tapeworm can be transferred to humans. Eggs should be washed and must be cooked properly before eating, since they may contain salmonella, a virulent pathogen.
Cooked food should be eaten while it is still hot and should not be left to stand at room temperature for long periods of time since this provides a good environment for pathogens to grow.
Food that is ready to eat should be covered
Note: Reference of World Health Organization (WHO) publications is taken during the writing of this article