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A communicable disease is an illness caused by a specific infectious agent or its toxic products. It arises through transmission of that agent or its products from an infected person, animal, or nonliving reservoir to a susceptible host, either directly or indirectly (through an intermediate plant or animal host, vector, or the inanimate environment).
Causative agents include bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Examples of bacterial diseases include pneumococcal pneumonia and tuberculosis. Viral diseases include influenza, measles, polio, and Ebola. Parasitic diseases include malaria and schistosomiasis. Other communicable diseases may be caused by other types of microorganisms such as fungi (e.g., histoplasmosis). Most of this diseases can be prevented by observing simple hygienic measures such as hand hygiene.
Hand hygiene is defined as hand washing or washing hands and nails with soap and water or using a waterless hand sanitizer. Hand hygiene is central to preventing spread of infectious diseases in home and everyday life settings. In situations where hand washing with soap is not an option (e.g. when in a public place with no access to wash facilities), a waterless hand sanitizer such as an alcohol hand gel can be used. They can also be used in addition to hand washing, to minimize risks when caring for “at risk” groups. To be effective, alcohol hand gels should contain not less than 60%v/v alcohol. Hand sanitizers are not an option in most developing countries. In situations with limited water supply, there are water-conserving solutions, such as leaky tins. (A leaky tin is a simple technology using a tin/container suspended by a rope, and a foot-operated lever to pour a small amount of water over the hands and a bar of soap. In low-income communities, mud or ash is sometimes used as an alternative to soap. The World Health Organization recommends hand washing with ash if soap is not available in emergencies, schools without access to soap and other difficult situations.
Wash your hands often especially at these critical time; after going to the toilet, before eating or touching food, after changing nappies.
Also wash your hands:
• Before and after caring for someone who is sick
• Before and after treating a cut or wound
• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
• After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
• After handling pet food or pet treats
• After touching garbage
Wash your hands any time your hands are not clean.
Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth, or food until you have washed your hands.
Did you wash your hands? Wash your hands….. Do not get a re-infection… do not infect others!!

BY Joyce Muthoni

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