Types Of Hygiene

Health Hygiene & Sanitation

Lesson 12 : Hygiene

Types Of Hygiene

  1. Personal hygiene
  2. Environmental hygiene

1. Personal hygiene

The aim of personal hygiene is to promote standards of personal cleanliness, within the setting of the condition where people live. Personal hygiene includes bathing, clothing, washing hands and toileting, care of nails, feet, teeth, spitting, coughing, sneezing, personal appearance, and inculcation of clean habits when young.

2. Environmental Hygiene

This is again classified into two types

  1. Domestic hygiene
  2. Community hygiene
  1. Domestic hygiene: domestic hygiene comprises of home, use of soap, need of fresh air, light, ventilation, hygiene in storage of food, disposal of waste, avoidance of household pests, rats, mice, insects.

  2. Community Hygiene:It includes safe disposal of human excreta, control of vectors responsible for transmission of diseases, control of air and water pollution.

Safe disposal of human excreta:

John Snow convincingly proved that cholera spreads due to contamination of the drinking water with human excreta. This he did, long before there was discovery of the bacteria responsible for causing cholera. This led to the principle of sanitation barrier. Sanitation barrier is a method of segregating human feces from water, fingers, flies, soil and food. This sanitation barrier can be effectively created by provision of a sanitary latrine.

Sanitary latrines should be preferably sewered, water-flush type. It should ensure that the feces are not accessible for flies and odor is not emanated. Also the latrines should see that the feces do not contaminate soil, ground water, or food. If drainage facilities are available, then it should be treated and converted into harmless substance before disposing off in sea, river or other place chosen. For this, the feces are subjected to primary and secondary treatment before disposal. If drainage facilities are not available, septic tank or aqua privy provide safe alternative.

Control of disease vectors in the community:

The general principles involved in controlling vectors of the disease in environment are as following:

Environmental control: it includes minor engineering works like, source reduction (by filling, leveling and drainage of breeding places), carefully planned water management, provision of piped water supply, proper disposal of refuse and other wastes, cleanliness in and around houses.

Chemical control: use of insecticides and rodenticides (like DDT, Malathion, Paris green, etc) help for control of mosquitoes, flies and rodents that can spread diseases to human beings. However, it should be ensured that the insects and rodents are not resistant to the chemicals intended for use.

Biological measures of vector control include, use of fishes like Gambusia and Lebister which feed on larvae of mosquitoes and help in controlling their breeding. Also useful are fungi like Coelomomyces which are pathogenic to mosquitoes.

Genetic control: theoretically it is possible to control vectors by using techniques like sterile male technique, chromosomal incompatibility and chromosomal translocations, etc.
However, a single measure is likely to become outdated in the long term and neither do they provide solutions in every situation. Therefore it is important that all measures are used in an integrated manner to control vectors to obtain maximum benefits with minimal inputs.

Control of air and water pollution:

Air pollution can be minimized by containing the dust smoke or harmful gases at the site of production. The technology should be used to replace sources of air pollution with one making no/ lesser pollution. For example, use of electricity or LPG helps to reduce the pollution caused by wood or cow dung when cooking food. Establishing green belts between industrial and residential areas helps to reduce the effects of air pollution on general population. Using legal measures like raising height of chimneys of factories, creating smokeless zones, keeping vehicles conditioned etc also help in reduction of air pollution.

Water pollution: water bodies have their capacity to cleanse themselves, provided if their pollution level can be kept minimal and sufficient time is provided for the natural forces to act. However, engineering measures can be used to minimize water pollution, for example, treatment of industrial wastes, recycling industrial effluents, incineration of toxic materials etc. Legal measures also help in reducing the water pollution.

Health Education

All said and done, the {personal and environmental} hygiene will be optimally maintained only if the people themselves participate. To enable them in doing this, health education regarding prevention of pollution, motivating them to behave responsibly is important.

The ultimate aim of the public health is to prevent the disease, prolong life, promote health efficiency through organized community efforts for the sanitation of the environment, the control of communicable infections, and the education of the individual in personal hygiene, and the organization of medical and nursing services for early diagnosis and preventive treatment of the diseases.

Last modified: Monday, 23 April 2012, 10:32 AM