General Health

Healthy Choices for Healthy Living 1

For too long, we have focused on treating sickness and not on preventing it. As we know, prevention is better than cure and with the growing prevalence of diseases that can’t be passed from one person to another and usually runs a chronic course (Non-communicable diseases) to which complete cure is not achievable yet and at best is well managed, prevention is definitely better than an attempt at cure.

Preventive health care can be grouped into primordial, primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. The focus of this article is on primary prevention. Primary prevention is concerned with preventing the onset of disease and controlling the risk factors. This is the cheapest and easiest method of handling disease and ensuring general wellbeing.

First, we begin with one as simple as A, B, C…

  • Hand washing:

Clean hands save lives…

Washing your hands is the single most important habit you should adopt as you build a good health-seeking behaviour. You can’t see germs but they hang out on your hands all day. The diseases these germs cause can be prevented by washing your hands properly. Yes, your hands can be washed improperly…

To wash your hands properly, the process should last at least 30 seconds with SOAP and WATER and not with just water as many do.

Effective hand washing follows simple steps:


The right way to wash your hands

There are critical hands washing times…

  1. Before preparing food and before eating
  2. Before attending to a child
  3. After changing a child’s diaper
  4. Before and after attending to a sick person
  5. Before wearing contact lens
  6. After using the toilet
  7. After blowing and wiping your nose
  8. After coughing or sneezing into your hands
  9. After touching common surfaces like outdoor tables, rails, door handles etc.

It is of importance to note, as you touch people, surfaces and objects during the day, you pick up different germs and can infect yourself by touching your eyes, nose or mouth

So as a rule, you should wash your hands:

  • First thing after you come home from being outdoors
  • Before you put anything in your mouth or touch any food items,
  • Before having to drink

In the event that water and soap aren’t available and you just have to pick up food with your hands, a portable hand sanitizer comes in handy. Hand sanitizers were very instrumental in the control of the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.  It became a national duty to wash your hands before getting any social service.  Today it has slowly faded away, as many have slipped back into old habits since the country was declared Ebola-free.

We shouldn’t need the threat of a deadly virus to make us adopt and maintain good habits.

….to be continued


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Dr. Thelma Okafor
Dr Thelma Okafor, a Medical Doctor is passionate about having a healthier Nation with accessible health care and citizens who are proactive about their health. She enjoys reading, writing and engaging in intellectually stimulating discussions. When she isn’t practising medicine, she likes to watch movies, explore the outdoors or lounge with friends.

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