“Infectious diseases that are commonly spread through hand-to-hand contact include the common cold, flu and several gastrointestinal disorders, such as infectious diarrhea.”
… “Inadequate hand hygiene also contributes to food-related illnesses, such as salmonella and E. coli infection.”
The advent of these superbug or antibiotic resistant staph infections, also has many people pointing their fingers at doctors’ over-prescribing of antibiotics and the agribusiness sector, where it has been found antibiotics are used too extensively to ward off diseases in livestock, being administered intravenously or as an additive in the feed. However, the antibiotics from livestock do not make their way to us only through meat consumption. Antibiotics also leave the livestock via waste, enter the natural water supply and so becomes part of the food chain. Notwithstanding all this, hand-washing is still undoubtedly the most elemental way we can stave off the danger of coming into contact with these pernicious pathogens.
While having all the latest technology in our health institutions is something from which we can all benefit, we cannot hold fast to the belief that having state-of-the-art facilities is the singular factor in delivering good health care. Importantly, all medical personnel must be vigilant in the simple practice of hand-washing, as they should all know, far better than the rest of us, about the increased potential for infection in health instititutions.
We should all remember and go back to the basics, like washing our hands and keeping our rooms neat and tidy. People in Trinidad and Tobago, of my generation and older, can remember of having to hold out our hands for them to be inspected every morning by the teacher before entering class in primary school. Hands had to be clean and fingernails absent of dirt and neatly trimmed.
Modernity while good, has perhaps also made us too reliant upon everything external to ourselves, where people reach for a pocket calculator for even the most basic arithmetic problem. Prescriptions are available for almost any ailment or in the least, we are encouraged to ask our doctor whether drug X “...is right for you?” We seem to forget that we are no more or less human than people living centuries ago. We must remain appreciative of our own instincts, and senses and also recognize the obligation and basic need we must all fulfill in following basic human hygiene.
And so, we must all approach each other with clean hands: reflective of our character and our cleanliness. Clean hands are therefore not only a requisite for public office but for the office of life which we all occupy, sometimes hugging, shaking or just holding hands as we go along.