For thousands of years, plagues and pestilences have afflicted mankind. Some people assumed that these were a sign of the wrath of God and were sent to punish wrongdoers. Patient observation and painstaking research over many centuries have revealed that the culprits were often small creatures that live alongside us.
Medical researchers discovered that rats, mice, cockroaches, flies, and mosquitoes can all serve as host for transmitting disease. They also found that people often invite infectious diseases simply by a lack of hygiene. Cleanliness, it seems, can make the difference between life and death.
Obviously, standards of cleanliness vary according to customs and circumstances. In areas where there is no running water or adequate sewage disposal, hygiene can be a real challenge. Nevertheless, we can still practice good hygiene and cleanliness.
What is a reasonable view of cleanliness? What simple precautions can you and your family take to reduce disease?
SCHOOL is over, and little Max, who lives in Cameroon, arrives back home. Hungry and thirsty, he enters the humble home where he lives, gives his waiting dog a hug, puts his schoolbag on the dining-room table, sits down, and eagerly waits for his food.
Mother, who is in the kitchen, hears Max come in and brings a plate of hot rice and beans for him. But her expression changes when she sees his schoolbag on the clean table. She looks at her son and slowly utters one single word, "Maaaax!" Her son understands, quickly takes the bag away, and rushes out to wash his hands. Soon he returns for his long-awaited meal. "Sorry, Mum. I forgot, " he mumbles guiltily.
A caring mother can do a lot when it comes to health and cleanliness, although she needs the cooperation of all members of her household. As the account about Max illustrates, longterm training is necessary because cleanliness requires tireless effort and children need constant reminders
Max's mother realizes that food can get contaminated in various ways. So she not only washes her own hands but also keeps food covered to prevent contamination by flies. By making sure that food does not sit unprotected and by keeping the house neat and clean, she has few problems with rats, mice, and cockroaches.
Family Cooperation Essential
As Max' mother observes, family hygiene is a family project. From time to time, some families sit down together to discuss what their needs are and what improvements can be made, both inside and outside the home. This also serves to unite the family and to remind each one of his or her share in caring for the welfare of all. For example, Mother may explain to the older children why they must wash their hands after using the toilet and handling things like money and before eating. They, in turn, can make sure that the younger ones take the matter seriously.
Different chores could be divided among all in the family. The family may decide to clean the house regularly each week and to schedule a thorough cleaning once or twice a year or call Mrs. Kleen.
And how about outside the house? Conservationist Stewart Udall, referring to the United States, said: "We live in a land of vanishing beauty, of increasing ugliness, of shrinking open space, and of an overall environment that is diminished daily by pollution and noise and blight."
Cleanliness is a reflection of good training and responsible behavior. It starts with each individual and each family. Simple application of sanitation and cleanliness around the house will lead to better health as well as improve the overall appearance of the neighborhood.