Key 4—Protect Your Health
“Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself.” (Proverbs 22:3) Taking simple protective steps can help you avoid much sickness and misery, as well as loss of time and money.
Keep yourself clean. “Hand washing is the single most important thing that you can do to help prevent the spread of infection and to stay healthy and well,” reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many as 80 percent of infections are said to be passed on by unclean hands. So wash them often throughout the day. Do so especially before eating, preparing food, or dressing or even touching a wound, and do so after touching an animal, using the toilet, or changing a baby’s diaper.
Washing with soap and water is more effective than using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Children stay healthier when parents train them to wash their hands and to keep them away from their mouth and eyes. Bathing every day and keeping your clothes and bed linens fresh and clean also contribute to better health.
Avoid infectious disease. Avoid close physical contact or the sharing of eating utensils with any who have a cold or the flu. Their saliva and nasal secretions can pass the illness on to you. Such blood-borne diseases as hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS are transmitted primarily through sexual contact, intravenous drug use, and transfusion.
Vaccination can help to prevent some infections, but a wise person must still take necessary precautions when with someone who has an infectious disease. Avoid insect bites. Do not sit or sleep outdoors unprotected when mosquitoes or other disease-carrying insects are active. Use bed nets, especially for children, and use insect repellents.
Keep your home clean. Make whatever extra effort is needed to keep your home tidy and clean, inside and out. Eliminate any places where water can collect and mosquitoes can breed. Litter, filth, and uncovered foods and garbage attract insects and vermin, all of which can bring in microbes and cause disease. If there is no toilet, build a simple latrine rather than just relieving yourself in a field. Cover the latrine to keep out flies, which transmit eye infection and other diseases.
Avoid injuring yourself. Obey safety laws when working, riding a bicycle or motorcycle, or driving a car. Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Use appropriate protective equipment and clothing, such as safety glasses, headgear, and footwear, as well as seat belts and hearing protection. Avoid excessive sun exposure, which causes cancer and premature aging of the skin. If you smoke, stop. Quitting now will significantly lower your risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.
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