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Health education of the masses helps to develop an interest in the environmental sanitation. Though we try to keep ourselves personally very clean, we do not usually care for our surroundings. Our sources of water are constantly getting polluted. Unhygienic surrounding invites mosquitoes and flies. Environmental hygiene or sanitation thus helps to reduce the incidences of those diseases which are commonly acquired or 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, filariasis, etc. Because of its universal use, water can be the channel for spreading various diseases like typhoid, cholera, dysentery etc. Besides these, viral hepatitis, polio and worm infestation are also transmitted because of the use of contaminated water. Drinking water supplies may be liable to get contaminated with sewage or other excreted matter. Water pollution can be effectively controlled by:
- · Educating the people regarding use of safe drinking water.
- · Wherever possible, the drinking water should be provided through the piped water supply.
- · Sanitary wells should be provided where the piped water supply is not possible.
- · Conventional water purification ways like disinfection by bleaching powder or chlorine gas should be regularly employed.
- · Domestic filters should be used where chemical disinfection of water is not feasible.
Unsafe disposal of faeces (stool) is one of the major causes of spread of diseases, especially in rural areas. Many illnesses are caused by the germs and worms (or their eggs) which are found in the stools or faeces of the infected persons. These germs get into the water, into food, utensils and to the surfaces used for preparing food and are transmitted to new hosts either by the dirty fingers or by contaminated food or water. Hence, personal as well as public cleanliness or sanitation is important in order to prevent this faecal to mouth transmission of infections. To prevent this and to maintain proper environmental hygiene, one must remember and follow the underline points:
- · Public toilets (latrines) should be built and used.
- · If that is not possible, people should defecate (pass stool) at designated places away from habitation (houses).
- · After defecating, the faeces should be buried right at that place.
- · The faeces of babies and children have as many dangerous germs as the faeces of adults, so their faeces should be cleared up immediately.
- · Latrines should be cleaned regularly and kept covered.
- · The faeces of animals should also be kept away from houses and water sources.
- · The dung or ‘gobar’ of cattle should be either used in the gas plant or in a manure pit or made into cakes (uple) for fuel at a secluded place.
- · It is important to wash hands with soap after defecating and after cleaning the bottom of a baby, who has just defecated.
- · In villages, if soap is not available, instead of using mud the
- better alternative for cleaning the hands is ‘ashes’ of burnt wood (raakh).
- · Children put their hands into their mouths quite often, so it is important to wash a child’s hands often, especially before
- giving him food.
- · A child’s face should be washed every time he makes it dirty. This helps to keep flies away from the face and prevent eye and skin infection.
What you have learnt
In this lesson you have learnt the meaning and importance of personal hygiene and Various aspects of hygiene which are needed for healthy living you can now very well understand that by co-ordination, co-operation and proper planning we can improve our hygienic standards and save our country from epidemics and endemics and increase the longevity of the people.