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Friday, February 21, 2014

The most effective prevention against diseases

Returning to this blog after several months, I found, happily, that people continue to visit my blog as before. I decided to re-enter the world of advising lay people and this entry is a step in that direction. 

Most readers would agree that there are many measures to prevent diseases; some include making major changes in life-style, some involve taking expensive vaccines or medicines; some involve relocating oneself from a harmful environment, and still others call for expensive investigations to detect the harbingers of an illness that is yet to affect you. However, the most beneficial and most inexpensive method to thwart diseases - specially infective illnesses, which are a significant cause of illness and death all over the world - is correct hand-washing

As doctors, we all do it countless numbers of times every day during our busy office practice. Surgeons wash their hands so thoroughly that they sometimes spend minutes on this pre-op preparation. It stands to reason, therefore, that the medical fraternity is convinced that hand-washing is extremely important. The reason is simple: our bodies are colonised by billions of bacteria, some harmless, but many, the cause of skin infections as well as more deadly internal infections that have the potential to kill. 

About 2.2 million children under the age of 5 die each year from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world. Handwashing is not only simple and inexpensive, but remarkably, handwashing with soap can dramatically cut the number of young children who get sick. Handwashing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea and almost 1 out of 6 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia. Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively. (From:

The Center for Diseases Control, USA has several articles on hand-washing, and THIS ARTICLE forms the important backdrop. THIS ONE is the one that details when and how hand-washing must be done. Be sure to click on the "Show me the Science" link on the left to better understand the rationale behind hand-washing. 

I hope this entry helps you to understand how important this simple method of disease prevention is. Be blessed.

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