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  • Brent Osborn-Smith

Back to Basics

Having endured endless lockdowns, vaccinations, mask-wearing and leapfrogging through life from one tube of sanitizer to the next, we are all now emerging onto the sunny uplands of a very different world. The debates will continue over whether the above have actually helped us as a society or whether they might, in fact, have damaged and hindered us for decades to come.

Mask-wearing was introduced after the first lockdown, as a cosmetic attempt to reassure us all that it was safe to go shopping again. Although tightly fitting masks might well stop the aerosol transmission of large droplets from a sneeze, the holes in them are some 3-4,000 times bigger than a virus particle. In reality, they can be rather like putting chicken wire around a swarm of bees.

Anti-bacterial gels are just that – harmful to bacteria. They are much less harmful to viruses, however. The only way to remove germs, dirt, irritants, poisons, fungal particles, bacteria AND viruses from one’s hands (and faces) is to wash them with soap and water and to do so thoroughly. Many people, particularly children at school, are now only rinsing their hands once or twice a day at most, in the false belief that a blob of magic goo will be of much more benefit.

Of particular interest, however, is some recently published research showing that up to 1 in 100 hospital patients are prone to develop pneumonia during their stay. This is a risk for virtually all patients and is often caused by bacteria from the mouth that gather in the scummy biofilm on unbrushed teeth, before being aspirated into the lungs. Patients face an even higher risk if they lie flat or remain immobile for long periods. Up to 30% of these unfortunate people will perish as a result of this very avoidable, hospital-acquired infection.

Happily, there is a cheap and highly effective way to avoid this. It’s called a toothbrush. Disappointingly, this is such a simple device that it is often overlooked by careless carers or by our hurried selves. It is not just a cosmetic tool, however. It may well be a lifesaver - so use it!

Overall, therefore, we should never forget the basic principles of a happy and healthy life: wash, sleep, exercise, eat a good clean diet in moderation and enjoy plenty of love and laughter.

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