Our hands are responsible for the spread of communicable diseases to ourselves and to others. Our hands have small invisible organisms called microbes, some of them are bad and are called germs. These germs could be viruses, bacteria and/or fungi.
The diseases that can be spread through our hands if contaminated include Ebola, Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis, some worm infestations, Chest infections, Chicken pox, Common cold and several other diseases.
These organisms can be removed by hand washing; we should always wash our hands with soap and water followed by, if available, the application of sanitizers. If water is not available we should apply only sanitizer.
There is no scientific advantage of using bactericidal soap, so use the common soap around. There are several types of sanitizers but the more popular ones are alcohol based either containing ethanol or isopropanol. A good one should contain between 62% -90% alcohol. Some other sanitizers contain povidine-iodine OR chlorine.
If we all try to wash our hands regularly, the incidence of communicable diseases will be drastically reduced.
1.After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste.
Animals carry a lot of germs on their body/hair because they are everywhere and are seldom washed in our environment. Diseases could also be contracted from their saliva, urine and feaces, the Ebola disease now ravaging West Africa is one case in point. Other diseases that can be contracted from touching animals or animal waste include Ringworm, Worm infestation, Toxoplasmosis, and Tetanus among others.
2.After handling pet food or pet treats
Pet food is made from plant and animal materials plus additives (chemicals) which may not be fit for human consumption. Besides, care may not be taken in preparing them as when preparing food for human consumption
Apart from germs, we must also worry about the chemicals which may not be bio-degradable.
Therefore, hands must be thoroughly washed with soap and water after handling pet food and/or treat.
3.After touching garbage.
Garbage contains all sorts of material including raw food (meat, vegetable, fruits), cooked food remnants, condemned items including shoes, soiled clothes etc. These items could harbour germs. Besides flies and rats frequent garbage.
Therefore, hands must be thoroughly washed with soap and water after handling garbage.
4.After touching soiled clothes, shoes.
Clothes soiled by blood, urine, feaces, vomit, saliva or any other body fluid may contain germs especially such clothes belong to a sick person. Diseases that could be contracted include HIV, Ebola, Hepatitis B, Cholera, Chicken pox, Diarrhoea, Typhoid fever etc.
Shoes must be handled with care, in our environment with un-cleared refuse, over-flowing septic tanks, open toilets and littered with animal waste, handling shoes with utmost care cannot be over empasised.
Several communicable diseases can be contracted through poor handling of shoes. Leave them outside your door until thoroughly washed or cleaned.
Hands must be thoroughly washed with soap and water followed by application of sanitizer if available after handling any soiled clothes or shoes.
5.After a political campaign
Political campaigns are here with us again, there is a lot of hugging and handshakes with all kinds of people in soliciting for votes. Several diseases can be contracted through handshakes—Ebola, Common cold, Hepatitis, Typhoid, Chicken Pox, Skin diseases, Worm infestations etc.
Politicians and their followers must cultivate the habit of washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water after campaigns followed by application of hand sanitizer.
In addition, they must always have sanitizers in their pockets or hand bags to be applied when necessary.
There is a lot of interaction with people during work and to and fro the office or factory or market/shop. A lot of items are also touched during the period, people shake several hands. All these are potential sources of germs. Therefore once we get home, we should drop our office bags, go into the bathroom to wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching anybody and anything at home.
7.Before removing contact lenses.
The eye is a delicate organ. Contact lens is now fairly common in Nigeria, consequently users are reminded to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before removing and replacing contact lens; our hands always have plenty of germs.