UNKNOWN to several people, the environment around us is not as safe as we assume. There are bacteria, virus, fungi and other deadly invisible microorganisms in our environment. Our dirty habits expose us to these pathogens. Unfortunately, three of the ways we introduce them into our bodies are through our nose, skin and mouth.
If you think you only breath in oxygen, a life elixir, you are mistaken. It is air as a whole that you inhale but your lungs pick. Up the oxygen content in it for use. It is for this reason you have to ensure the surrounding air is safe.
But most of us don’t care about this. For instance, you find uncleared heaps of decaying refuse in our homes, public places and markets where foods are sold. Invariably, the air in such locations is unclean and toxic to our eyes, lungs and bodies in general. What is more? The air around most of our to toilets at home or in public places is contaminated because of our poor hyginene practices. We don’t flush the toilets properly. In some cases, there is no water for the purpose at all.
Then, of course, in several of our homes babies and children’s faeces live with us. Lazy and non chalant mothers or house ships delay in cleaning them up. Their noxious fumes, in which dangerous micro-organisms are embedded, fill the air. Nobody cases. The reasoning, sometimes, is that human wastes from minors do no harm to them and adults. But this is a fallacy.
How about adequate ventilation of our homes and offices? We often ignore this. Hence, we expose ourselves to bad stagnant air “breathed out” by our walls, chairs, tables, bodies, clothes, shoes, beddings as well as other household items. Don’t forget the kitchen smoke, too. It is there in the air.
Our mouth like the nose is also exposed to the dirt surrounding us. First, let’s talk about oral hygiene. We are supposed to brush our teeth and rinse them with clean water at least twice a day. When we wake up, a health rule stipulates that we brush our teeth with a fluoride – based tooth paste. Also, we should do this last thing at night before going to bed. But what do we find? Some of us don’t bother to wash our teeth before breakfast or at bedtime.
In addition, a health rule enjoins us to floss our teeth or at least pick them so as to remove particles of food in crevices in between the teeth. Once again, this rule is ignored. This explains why some of us carry about “decaying” teeth which later lead to caries plagues and tooth loss.
Another dirty habit we engage in is biting our fingers. Yet, there are thousands of bacteria locked underneath the nails. Therefore, as soon as you bite them, the bacteria gain entrance into your mouth.
Now, have you bothered to ask what happens at the back of restaurants or Mama puts? I got a hint of it one day in Lagos. There was this restaurant where my friends and I often eat on our way home. On a certain day, we arrived at the restaurant ready to have a hearty lunch. Not long after we were waiting for our food orders, I felt an urge to wee. So, I stood up and made my way to the toilet. As I did, I saw one of the backroom employees of the restaurant blow his nose with his right hand and thereafter washed it in the water used for washing the eating plates!!.
The sight horrified me. When I returned to my seat, I refused to eat anymore. Don’t think that what I saw in the restaurant is all that happens in eateries. Much more does occur in then as well as in our homes all because of neglecting proper public health practices. See, you often finds some people sneezing, coughing or blowing their noses over meals in the kitchen; or while they are being served. Furthermore, a woman is supposed to cover her hair while cooking or serving a meal. It is because this rule is not obeyed you find sometimes hair strands in soup. This occurrence led to a big uproar in a public eatery in Benin the other day. The customer on seeing a strand of hair in his soup felt the eatery owner wanted to poison or at best be witch him.
Also, when a woman is in her menses or nursing a baby she must uphold a rigorous public health rule. Her sanitary practices must be upgraded. Otherwise, she will end up serving meals laced with her menstrual flow and/or the baby’s urine faeces!!.
Other issues
Still, public health rules state that dirty we should endeavour to wash plates as soon as they are used for eating. But we disregard these rules. We pile up the plates in the sink or kitchen for washing later on, thus exposing the waiting plates to festering disease – causing germs. The earlier dirty plates or items are washed, the better. Moreover, it is advisable for diligent adults to supervise plate washing. Otherwise, the plates will only be re-cycled for use, unproperly washed.
I must not forget at this stage to also mention these dirty habits of some people. Namely, they are leaving on our dining tables exposed tooth picks and utensils. They should be made to wear their caps. Otherwise, flies will contaminate them. Dust, carrying germs, will do, too. It is for the same reason that all washed plates and cups should be placed face down, not up. Then, of course, don’t hold on bottle of soft drink or beer by their mouths during service. You contaminate them by doing so. It is a pity if you drink from the bottles soiled mouth.