HEALTH AND HYGEINE
Many diseases can be prevented from having a damaging effect on the body by the action of natural defenses, antibiotics and other medicines. However, there are many steps that can be taken by individuals, and by the community as a whole. To fight microbes even before they enter the body and cause disease. These steps concern personal hygiene and sanitation, both of which help to prevent disease. The responsibility for good health lies in the hands of each individual of the community and of the nation
Personal cleanliness, by which dirt and pathogens may be avoided, may be achieved in several ways:
- The hands should always be washed thoroughly with soap before preparing food, eating and after a visit to the toilet.
- Fingernails and toenails should always be kept short and clean so that they do not provide breeding places for germs
- It is essential to bathe frequently. This helps to prevent skin infections. Sweat and oil secretions on the skin enable the bacteria to breed easily. Bath towels and sponges should not be shared with people.
- The hair should be washed frequently to avoid lice and mites. These can spread typhus fever.
- Combs and hairbrushes should not be shared. The spaces between teeth where food particles are trapped provide excellent breeding grounds for bacteria.
- Teeth should therefore be cleaned at least twice daily, preferably after each meal.
- Clothing should be clean and changed frequently
- Sandals or shoes should be worn to prevent cuts and infections by hookworm
In addition to cleanliness, other factors which are important in promoting health include exercise, recreation and rest. Exercise makes the muscles strong so they can support the body better. It helps to get rid of excretory materials and improve digestion. It quickens blood circulation and improves the action of the glands and nerves. Recreation such as gardening, playing games and reading can remove any dullness and mental tiredness resulting from everyday work. The best form of rest is sleep. Adults eight hours sleep a day. A great deal of repair of worn out tissues in the body and the building up of new ones takes place when the body rests.
A drug is any substance which affects the body chemically when taken. Many types of pills are drugs, as are alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. Some drugs are used as painkillers for treating sleeplessness. However some of these drugs are abused; that is they are not used responsibly. Most of the drugs now classified as drugs of abuse were initially used as medicine. Some people now use them because they produce for a short period a false sense of well-being. Drug abuse is a serious problem the world over. Drugs used improperly can do a great deal of harm. They can destroy the body and mind. Many governments are therefore concerned about the increasing number of users. They are therefore doing everything possible to control the production, selling and the further abuse of these drugs. A serious problem with some drugs is that people who take them soon find that they cannot stop using them. They are said to be addicted to the drug. They find it difficult to break this addiction, even though they may want to give up taking drugs. When an addict stops taking a dug, he experiences a pain, dizziness nervousness and sickness and so longs for more. An addict spends a lot of time and money obtaining the drug and neglects work, health, family and friends. It is against the law to use some drugs and these cost even more to obtain. Some addicts are drawn into robbery or prostitution to get enough money to buy drugs. The drugs which people abuse marijuana, opium, heroin, cocaine etc. glue and petrol can also cause addiction if the vapour is inhaled. Marijuana is the dried and chopped shoots and leaves of the cannabis plant. The main ingredient of this drug is a substance called cannabis resin. Marijuana eaten smoked or drank is harmful in the following ways:
- It is a depressant drug and causes unsteadiness
- It can produce hallucinations
- It removes the desire to work or better yourself
- It acts on the nervous system and can damage the brain
Opium comes from the juice of the opium poppy. It contains morphine which has for years been used medicinally for easing severe pain but is dangerous wen improperly used. Heroin is made from morphine and is much stronger. It is a poison which addicts inject, either directly into a vein or under the skin. It also sniffed as powder or swallowed by addicts. Heroin is addictive and has many harmful effects:
- Chronic constipation develops
- There is loss of interest in food
- In female addicts the menstrual cycle is interfered with
- The high cost of obtaining the drug leads many addicts to crime and violence
- The death rate is high from damage to the brain, heart, kidneys and overdose.
- Hepatitis and AIDS can be transmitted by sharing hypodermic needles.
- Many users wear dark glasses because their eyes are painful in light
- Some addicts commit murder
Cocaine is a white powder also called coke or snow. An impure form is known as 'crack'. It is produced from the coca plant grown in south America. The drug is normally taken by sniffing the powder. It is dangerous not only because it is very easy to get addicted to, but also because it causes a great deal of harm to the user.
- It causes stomach pains and a lot of weight
- There is nervousness and difficulty in sleeping
- Prolonged use results in a loss of concentration and hallucination
- It is very expensive, and so is often mixed with cheaper chemicals. These may be impure and cause a great deal of harm
- Very heavy doses can cause violent behavior or death
LSD is one of the most powerful drugs. It is usually sold in a lump of sugar or as a tablet
- It produces hallucinations
- Some of the side effects include mental disorders and difficulty in concentration
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, cocoa and cola. In small quantities in these drinks it is virtually harmless. In large amounts it can cause increased heartbeat and breathing rate.
Glue and petrol are abused by some people. They sniff the vapour and feel drunk like people who have drunk too much alcohol. Glue and petrol sniffing can damage the brain liver and kidney. Some glue sniffers die from suffocation or heart failure.
- Some drugs are less harmful than others, but none are harmless.
- Drugs are very powerful and dangerous and should only be used under guidance from a doctor
- Never accept illegal drugs
- Anyone who has problem with drugs and wishes to stop using them can do so by avoiding the other drug users
People living together in a village are a community. Many villages and towns have grown over the years without following any particular plan. Houses, schools, hospitals and community services such as water works have caused a number of healthy problems.
This is a very important provision for any community, large or small. The primary source of water is rain. This the purest form of natural water.it is suitable for drinking.