Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
We all have heard of this idiom!
They say, cleanliness is a nature that comes naturally to you. Of course, it can be hammered into somebody too. The best suitable examples for this are my best half and our equal half!! I can confidently say that, the most heard phrase by our little one, in his whole life till date
is, “Wash your hands!”. I can also say that constant yelling, nagging, requests, stern looks, detailed explanations have transformed them from ‘ugly dirty ducklings’ to ‘neat and clean beautiful swans!’. Of course, all this has happened not without an outburst or a repartee! The senior’s favorite wisecrack is, “Haath ghis gaye hain, dho dho ke’!” (=My skin might erode one of these days because of excessive hand washing!)
So, I can say that the men in our little family, though not natural ambassadors of cleanliness & hygiene, but have adopted the role gracefully!
Having been an ardent devotee of the God of Cleanliness and Hygiene for so many years, I now think that cleanliness is a bane. Yes, this is believed NOW by yours truly!!
I mean, the 3 mortals inhabiting our home are epitome of cleanliness and hygiene and I have no complains whatsoever with all of us in this regard…
But what do you do when you have friends, acquaintances or neighbors who do not believe in your principles and doctrines of cleanliness and hygiene! I really mean what do you do, when…
- They straight away open the fridge and drink water from the bottle, without washing their hands and ignore your and your help’s request to have water in a glass, which they are offering RIGHT AWAY!
- They’d eat on the dining table without washing hands again, even if they had removed their shoes a minute ago, of course with their hands, and opening-closing all casserole lids et al!
- While in deep thought they’d take their finger deep into a nasal tunnel and the very next moment use that hand to pick up namkeen or biscuit kept in the plate!
- They taste the food they are cooking with a spoon, add the salt, and use the same ‘used’ spoon into the dish and check the final taste!!
- They put a piece of chicken or a part of the vegetable from THEIR plate back into the serving bowl, when they are not able to finish it, saying that, one should not waste food!!
- While serving food into their plate from the serving bowl, they’d touch the serving spoon with their used spoon, or leftover food or even leftover bones!
- Wiping the spoon or the plate with their piece of clothing viz dupatta or the sari or even the T-shirt!!
- They’d keep all the spoons, napkins directly on the dining table on which their child was jumping up and down a minute ago or even sitting without his UG!!
- They’d use the toilet and come out without the mandatory hand wash!!
And going through all these unclean activities, surely fill you with revulsion!!
I am very upset with my parents who introduced me into the world of cleanliness when I was barely old enough to say ‘A for Always; B for Bath; C for Clean’ and then ingrained the pearls of hygiene deep into my brain so much so that all my 5 senses revolt if anything is not clean!! If I had not learned all these ‘good’ habits from my parents, I would have relished the food and would be unperturbed and not cringe whenever I encountered any unclean act near me!
I know, all this may sound very petty or trivial to many, but I know for sure, that these are not some minor aberrations!
Because, if they were, then I believe, we should not be hesitant in using anybody’s toothbrush or even tooth pick! We should be sharing the same towel freely with anybody!! And the same dental floss should last for years and years! Right?!
Wrong!! If we are so particular about our toothbrush, toothpick et al, then I believe we should be particular about hygiene too! We should respect other’s right to cleanliness too!!
Studies show that, 80 percent of infections are transmitted by direct and indirect contact, thus, hand washing is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself!And others!
Every hand you shake, every hand rail you touch, every door knob, every light switch, every counter top, every dog you pet…simply everything you touch can place dangerous germs on your hands.
The importance of hand washing can be assessed by looking at a list of germs found on human hands. Here are a few:
- Shigella flexneri…causes vomiting, headache, diarrhea
- Streptococcus pyrogens…causes tonsillitis, sore throats, scarlet fever,impetigo
- Salmonella … causes severe diarrhea, stomach pain, dizziness, fever
- Rhino virus…over 200 strains causing great misery in the form of colds
- Proteus vulgaris…urinary tract infections
- Hepatitis A…vomiting, liver disorders, jaundice
- Escherichia coli O157 …kidney failure, uncontrollable fever, death
- Rotavirus …55,000 children hospitalized with this each year
- Echovirus…meningitis, encephalitis, neonatal sepsis, myocarditis, and chronic infection
- Coxsackie virus…sore throat, abdominal discomfort, or nausea
We all can help in the prevention of disease by promoting the importance of hand washing!
It is extremely important to wash your hands.
- After using the washroom at home or at any public place.
- Before as well as after eating food.
- After visiting a patient at the hospital.
- Before and after one starts cooking food, especially meat, fish and poultry.
- After changing a baby’s diaper.
- After touching pets or cleaning their feces.
- Before touching young infants and children.
- Before and after touching injured areas and changing the dressing of a wounded person.
- After collecting and throwing out garbage.
- After sneezing, coughing and blowing your nose.
- After cleaning around the house.
- After being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)
Hygiene is probably more necessary today than it has ever been!!
So, like it or not, but PLEASE, Wash Your Hands!!