On being healthy…

Hello my dear readers, how have you all been? I know I should be more dedicated to educating you guys through this health blog, but I must confess that its not been easy, and I hope to improve with time♡.

We all desire to be in perfect health all the time. As in, who wants to spend vacation money on hospital bills? Although we have heard of people who pretend to be ill so they can obtain sympathy and monetary compensation from family and sometimes, their places of work. As much as we try to keep ourselves from getting sick, some of us bring such illnesses upon ourselves.

We are engaged in many practices that are downright unwholesome. You don’t have to earn a university degree to discover that a lot of habits we have are unhealthy and can lead to many diseases.

Take hand-washing,  for example. Dettol and Safeguard, among other antiseptic soaps and liquids,have hammered the importance of hand-washing to the general public. Most of us still fail to wash our hands before and after we use them to handle things that are obviously laden with germs. Actions like shaking hands, handling car steerings, doing house chores, shopping especially in open markets, and using the toilets should be followed by hand-washing, before handling food or touching sensitive organs of he body like the eyes. I was at the bank last week to deposit some money and while the cash handler was counting the money, he stuck a finger in his mouth, wetting it to enable him count the money well, despite the money-counter mahine staring at him in the face. So imagine him repeating that action several times a day and he spends about 9 months in that department. When he is struck with ulcerative gingivitis or some other mouth infection, he begins to think he’s been bewitched by a customer.

What about those individuals who find it easy to urinate or defecate anywhere?  It is a bad practice especially for women who have more than one opening into their bodies, unlike the men. Some people have turned the toilets of fast-food outlets as their personal conveniences. Seeing the amount of customers who pass through popular fast-food outlets daily, it is only logical to avoid using their toilets, unless in unavoidable circumstances where other options have been exhausted.

That reminds me of how some of us behave towards food. It’s not every ‘owambe’ that you are invited to that you must eat the food served. Most times the quality of foods served at such gatherings are questionable because of the amount of guests to be catered for. My mother had us growing up with these words ‘To avoid embarrassment my daughter, always eat at home before you attend any function’. I try to abide by that rule and it has been very helpful.  It was a widespread gist in Nigeria a few years back that some guests at a wedding had severe food poisoning with a handful of them hospitalized.  What about a family that was wiped out in eastern Nigeria after consuming a local made delicacy? It’s not every ‘mama-put’ (canteen) you get wind of that you must visit. You visit some canteens and houseflies are competing for breathing space with you. The servers are shouting at one another and at the buyers,  delivering saliva and sweat into the pots containing those meals we drive miles to arrive at and still stand on long queues for.

Personal hygiene can never, ever be overflogged. Some people have no regards whatsoever for hygiene. Several diseases have been shown to stem from lack of good personal hygiene. Once while I was in the university,  I went to a salon to do a pedicure. A well-dressed woman walked and asked that her toenails be repolished. She had artificial nails on the toes, by the way. As the lady doing her toes was about to yank off the old artificial nails,  the woman told her to forgo the normal process of cleaning and filing the nails before applying the polish and immediately cover up her natural nails with the artificial ones. I was curious to find out why she said that, and glanced over to where she was seated. My friends, her toenails were decaying,  and had a greenish-brown colour so I presumed she was ashamed. That is an obvious nail infection that stemmed from carrying artificial nails for more than the normal time (maximum 2 weeks) and/or constant nail fixing without allowing natural nails to breathe. Instead of treating it, she chose the easy but dangerous way out-to cover it up. Some of us don’t wash newly bought clothes especially underwears before wearing, which isn’t good. This is more important to those who buy ‘vintage’ a.k.a  ‘okrika’ clothes. You talk to some people and you are overwhelmed with a terrible stench, making you wishing you were doing anything than talking to such a person, just because there is lack of oral hygiene.  Conditions such as halitosis and skin infections are not hereditary so we are solely responsible when we become infected.

What are our attitudes towards illnesses that are deemed ‘petty’? Like catarrh, cough, unexplained headache or purging? With the rate which young and otherwise healthy-looking people are dying nowadays, it behooves on us to step up our game as far as healthcare is concerned. We should cultivate the habit of going for regular checkups,  seeing the dentists,  cardiologists, gynecologists and other medical specialists so that we are not caught unawares. Cancer screening is very important in our world now as almost everything around us can be said to be carcinogenic.

It’ s unbelievably true that some of us have never been screened for HIV/AIDS, and that is a sad condition as some statistics show that 1 in 18 Nigerians are infected with the virus. Hepatitis virus, especially Hepatitis B is another deadly microbe and screening is readily available, to confirm if one needs a vaccine to prevent,  or treatment to eradicate the virus if already infected. Ignorance is the greatest challenge facing most of us but there many health enlightenment and development programs arranged by government, non-governmental organizations and even individuals and we should endeavour to take advantage of these programs.
Most of us are internet-compliant but what some of us are ignorant of is baffling. There are tons of search engines ready to give you ideas about any questions you may have. Having a smartphone isn’t all about social networking and the likes. Let us learn to be health conscious and rely less on superficial products that mask what is really going on inside us.

Feel free to comment and ask questions…

Until my next post – which hopefully will be sooner than you expect- play safe!