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Secrets to healthy living Part II

We all want to look and stay healthy. The answers to healthy living lies within us. The basic things we do everyday determine our health. Join us as we discover the secrets to healthy living.

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH
JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

A recap on the Secrets to healthy living Part 1 affirmed that  ;‌‌Good nutrition is vital to give us energy, grow and provide strength to overcome daily activities.‌‌ Exercise to keep us in shape, fit, confident and mentally stable and lastly‌‌ Sleep because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Going on, the fourth secret to healthy living is

Hygiene‌‌

Aside from diseases we contract from family (genetics), lifestyle(behaviour) and cancers, all other diseases are obtained from the environment. These are called communicable or infectious diseases. A communicable disease is any disease that passes between people or animals. Pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protists, cause communicable diseases. Examples of such diseases are Covid-19, Hepatitis, TB etc. These diseases survive as the causative organisms stay and move from one reservoir to another to replicate, therefore the only way to make it extinct is to block the transmission. One major way to block transmission of these deadly organisms is to practice good personal and environmental hygiene. Infectious diseases cause 63% of all childhood deaths and 48% of premature deaths. These deaths and diseases can be prevented, and as the popular saying goes" Prevention is better than cure", we need to keep up our practice of personal hygiene to avoid such diseases and death. Many a time, we undermine personal hygiene. What's so difficult about bathing and brushing our teeth twice or washing the hands at all times before touching food? Aside the prevention of deadly diseases, if you had ever lost a job or a loved one because you had bad breath or a stinking body, then you would appreciate the need for it more.‌‌Some few examples of personal hygiene include:‌‌Bathing twice a day and brushing at least twice a day. Many people actually practice this, the problem is, they fail to change their toothbrush after 2-3 months. The toothbrush accumulates bacteria and with time grow, hence, it is essential to change your brush to avoid feeding your buccal cavity(mouth) with bacteria stuck in toothbrushes. People usually look good on the outside since they wear clean dresses, nice and neat hair but underneath is a different story. If you have ever worn a new underwear, you will remember feeling very confident and mentally sound. The day you wear an old or tattered underwear, you are likely to remain disturbed because you want to return home safely without any embarrassing event. Other personal hygiene practices include shaving any pubic hair and keeping the nails short and neat.‌‌You remember way back in school how some of your mates or perhaps yourself feared to raise your hands even though you knew the answer to a question? Could it be you were afraid people would see your bushy hair and tease you forever? Or when you were punished by your teacher to raise your hands and you were afraid? Personal hygiene is extremely important. WHO estimate that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%. Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections. Washing our hands with soap under running water before and after we eat, after you have returned from outside (public place), greeted someone, visited the washroom is essential. This is very important as it is the basic way of preventing the transmission of communicable diseases.

‌‌Environmental hygiene deals with hygiene in our environment. It may be our homes, workplaces, places of worship, etc. In the workplace or church, we meet different people who have travelled through different places and done different things we may not know of. The best way to protect ourselves is to maintain hygiene. One of the best ways is to practice proper and frequent handwashing. Furthermore, the foods we ingest from the environment must be from a clean environment and possibly warm. Warm foods have lesser bacteria or microbes present. As you know, a clean work environment means a sound mind which eventually leads to increased productivity. The next type of hygiene is home hygiene. Often, our minds go straight to the kitchen and washrooms. These places are equally important however, we tend to forget to disinfect the door knobs, the remote, the keyboards and our mobile phones. We naturally practice personal hygiene but we forget that we leave debris of all these infectious microbes on such objects.  We have to pay attention to all these. The kitchen as we said is very important. As a lady, the way you treat your kitchen is the same way you keep your husband. Well, I heard that somewhere.‌‌

Good personal and environmental hygiene reduces the risk of an individual coming into contact with an infectious agent(microbe), prevent individuals who have been exposed to infection from becoming ill and lastly preventing an infected individual from passing on the infection to others. The next secret to staying healthy is understanding how to manage stress.

Stress management‌‌

Interestingly, stress is not a bad thing. It's popularly known as the flight or fight mechanism. Stress is the body's reaction to an overwhelming or challenging situation. For instance, you become stressed when you have an exam in a short period. Stress causes the body to releases hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) that direct more blood flow to your brain to help you ace that test or when you see a snake, more blood is sent to your muscles, to make you run away like crazy and avoid being bitten. However, stress is only good when it's short-term. The long-term stress is unhealthy to your body. This is because, during stress, more blood is directed to organs in need usually the heart, brain or muscles and less is sent to the other organs, for example, the liver, which is responsible for breaking down fats in your system. Hence, the blood becomes unusually present with fats and circulate in your arteries which can lead to many heart diseases. Moreover, the immune system may shut down during long-term stress that is why many students may fall sick during long periods for an exam when they get stressed.‌‌So how do I manage stress?‌‌Firstly, if you have an examination in a short period, instead of lying down to study, rather sit behind a chair like you would during the exams. It makes you familiar with the environment. Next, find time to exercise shortly. Exercise has been found to reduce anxiety by releasing chemicals(hormones), moreover, it helps you get a sound sleep which is important for memory formation if you have an exam. If you ever find yourself getting stressed for a long period, get out of that shell, go out, have some fun, listen to music, paint, do all the good things that makes you happy if possible, with a friend.

‌‌If you're going through a tough situation, do not isolate yourself. Rather, try and socialize with good people or loved ones or better, try and care for others. This is because oxytocin is released during positive social interaction which will reduce stress by relaxing your muscles and re-generate your heart from stress-related damage. Long-term stress may cause your organs to overwork and, in the end, compromise your health.‌‌Remember, your life will always be full of stressful situations. But if you respond to stress like a challenge you can defeat, you will perform remarkably well in the short time and become healthier in the long run.‌‌The final step to healthy living is planning.

Planning

‌‌Planning helps you know what to do at what time and when. It enables you to avoid being stressed often. Even in the presence of unexpectancies, it encourages you to own life and make difficult situation bearable. Failing to plan your life means you are planning to fail. Nobody likes to fail. Failing makes life unbearable and overall compromise your health. Planning helps you bring the future to the present so that you can do something about it. Henceforth, plan your life. Start by making daily plans, weekly ,monthly and then yearly.‌‌It helps you to avoid stress, be comfortable and makes you mentally sound.

‌‌Staying healthy is a choice. Choose rightly. Remember, you only live once.

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

A young lady who is excited to influence the society and world with the little knowledge she has acquired.