“Early to bed and early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
This innocent sounding rhyme is actually a capsule of wisdom. It tells us exactly what must be done to enjoy a healthy and happy life. The key to happiness is good health which can only be created by positive practices of good hygiene. Health is actually wealth.
Health refers to a state physical existence. It denotes a sound mind and a physically fit body not afflicted by any disability, disease or ailment. Thus health refers to the physical, emotional and mental wholesomeness of a human being.
Hygiene refers to the beneficial practices that induce good health and curb or prevent diseases. It denotes all those practices that are cultivated for improving and preserving, maintaining sound health and wellness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” (Source Wikipedia)
Personal hygiene refers to the practice of keeping the body of an individual clean and free from germs so as to enable a healthy and disease – free life. It can be inculcated in several ways.
Clean drinking water
People in villages often bathe, and wash clothes, utensils and their livestock in tanks, ponds and wells. Then they use the same water from another part of the same water body for drinking and store this in earthen pitchers.
If this water is used for drinking purposes, it may cause fatal diseases. For drinking one must use, clean or boiled water or water to which some drops of purifying agent has been added. In this way one can avoid water-borne diseases and maintain health and hygiene…
Regular and Nutritious Meals
Food gives our body strength and also nutrition. It produces energy in us. Thus the food we eat must be wholesome and beneficial. Fruits, vegetables and dry food items should be washed and cleaned whereas raw meat and other food items washed and cooked well before eating.
A combination of various food groups is the best diet for us. Meals should be taken at fixed times and in fixed quantities. Over-eating causes many diseases as also does under-consumption of food.
It is a famous saying that cleanliness is next to godliness. Cleanliness is the most important practice to ensure good health. Dirt spreads diseases, because germs grow and live in it.
Clean clothes and a clean body repel germs and add to overall good health. Daily bathing is compulsory for good health as is a regular change of clothes to avoid fungal infections caused by sweat.
Washing and bathing keeps our body clean. Clean teeth and clean nails, along with clean toilet habits ensure that the body is not easily prone to infection attacks from virus or bacteria.
Environmental Hygiene refers to the practice of maintaining clean surroundings in the place we live in and work in so that the environment is free from pollution and disease. This is only possible through awareness and education.
Health and environmental education of the people can improve the sanitation of their immediate surroundings. Though we try to keep ourselves personally very clean, we usually ignore our surroundings.
The sources of water keep getting polluted leading to unhygienic surroundings which spawn infectious and disease-carrying insects like cockroaches, mosquitoes and flies.
The practice of defecating in the open also leads to unhygienic surroundings and many diseases are caused by this. Environmental hygiene if practiced and implemented properly will reduce the incidences of those diseases which are commonly transmitted through excreta or contaminated water, food and drinks.
These include gastrointestinal diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera etc. and insect-borne infections like malaria, dengue, plague, etc. Water can be the primary source for spreading various diseases like typhoid, cholera, dysentery etc. Besides these, viral hepatitis, polio and worm infestation are also transmitted through the use of contaminated water.
The Government has now initiated the Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan or Clean India Campaign for improvement of environmental hygiene. This has led to an awareness of the use of closed toilets, keeping the surroundings free of waste and garbage, taking measures against pollution and safe storage of pure drinking water.
Importance of good health and hygiene
The key to healthy mind is a fit body. Thus personal health and hygiene is extremely important for an individual as well as a whole society. A person who practices good habits of hygiene will not just achieve good health himself but will impart the same habits to successive generations.
When many such individuals collectively practice the habits of good personal hygiene their society shall be benefited from it and he country will become healthy and disease free. Life expectancy will increase. Growth and development will be facilitated and achieved. There will then be a complete sense of wellness.