Daily Health Tips: When Should I Wash My Hands?

Hello y’all

I hope you all had a restful holiday, if you’re in Nigeria.

After I put up my post on how to wash your hands, someone asked the question, ‘when should we wash our hands?’ And really that’s a valid question, even if it’s one that we all take for granted.

So, I reproduce below, a post I had written last year on hand washing which includes when to wash those hands.

It will be global hand washing day on the 15th of October. A friend of mine jokingly said to me, ‘seriously?!’ WHO has time! Hand washing day indeed! Why can’t they face more important issues?’ Are you in the same boat with my friend? Well here’s news for you!

Diseases like respiratory infections and diarrhea cause up to 20 percent of the burden of disease in children. It has been found that in places where hand washing was instituted, this burden of disease has been cut by about 50%. This is a huge number…from hand washing alone! In hospitals, it was also found that the spread of hospital acquired infections was encouraged by lack of hand washing and so WHO instituted a global campaign for health workers clearly specifying when hands have to be washed.

So, practical lessons: mums wash your hands before you make your baby’s/family’s food, after you change baby’s diaper, after you blow your nose, after cleaning etc. Ensure that people don’t come in from the market (or wherever) and head straight to pick up your baby and kiss your baby…no matter how well meaning their gestures might be. Encourage them to wash their hands before they do so…or you could buy a hand sanitizer and get them to use it on their hands before picking up your precious bundle of joy. It may be awkward when you start off insisting on these, but pretty soon everyone gets used to it…trust me, I know from personal experience (I probably got away with more because my in-laws probably just thought I was a weird Okoro girl). Tips: remember that sanitizers are only useful for hands that are not visibly dirty. For visibly dirty hands, you’ve got to wash! Also remember that when choosing the sanitizer, look for products that have up to 60 percent alcohol and ensure that when you use it, you rub until your hands are dry.

We should ensure that we teach children and indeed remind ourselves to wash hands after playing or doing stuff outside the house, before eating, after using the toilet, after playing with pets or disposing of their wastes (in fact children should not be encouraged to play too close to their kennels or sheds), before cooking and even after handling dirty laundry! The list is endless…but that’s also because the possible means of contaminating our hands are endless and the germs find easy routes into the body once we touch our hands, mouths, eyes etc. So we can’t be too careful…and just in case you wondered, ‘no, you don’t have to wear a face mask like dear Michael Jackson and/or gloves all the time’ to protect you from the many germs that exist! That might be…well, for want of a better word, perhaps just a teensy weensy bit extreme!

Finally, remember that hand washing, to be done right, has to be with soap! If you haven’t washed with soap, you haven’t really done much. Tips for effective hand washing: wet your hands with water, apply soap, then scrub thoroughly paying attention to your nail beds, in between fingers, palms and back of hands. Then rinse thoroughly before drying your hands.

Borrowing very liberally from WHO’s hand washing campaign, I say ‘save lives: clean your hands!’

Other useful posts include:



Here’s to a healthier you!

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Daily Health Tips: How Can I Add Some Weight?

Q: Hi Doc please help. After giving birth in January, l have drastically lost weight. How can l gain weight even when I am breastfeeding?

A: This is an absolute breath of fresh air! :D You want to add weight when the rest of us want to lose it! Can we exchange genes, please? :D

How drastic is this weight loss? The first guide is your Body Mass Index (BMI). If you’re under age 21, your age and gender need to be factored into your BMI to account for the different speeds at which guys and girls develop.

If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are in the underweight category. Even at that, you still will need to talk to your doctor to find out if your weight is a symptom of a medical problem.

Generally though, to add weight in a healthy way:

Focus on calorie-dense but nutritious foods like eggs, nuts and milk. Full cream milk is definitely an option, especially if you don’t have a high cholesterol level.

Eat often…6 ‘small’ meals per day is not out of place. Some exercise before meal times is a great and healthy way to work up an appetite. Taking some fruits as appetizer before mealtimes also helps stimulate an appetite. Smoothies are also great breakfast and snack options. Dried fruits and nuts can be added to cereals, salads and even yoghurt. Try not to drink too much water before or during a meal to ensure you have enough space for the main event which is the food :D

Remember that it only takes a little effort to pile on the weight…a second on the lips and a lifetime on the hips, aye :D So focus on complex carbs and lay off the sugar-filled calories and pastries (these are empty calories which create more problems than they solve) and remember that nuts should be taken by the handful, dairy should not exceed 4 glasses per day, oil should be used sparingly etc. Indeed, moderation in everything…as usual :D

I hope y’all have equipped yourselves and your loved ones with sanitizers. Let’s kick Ebola out before it even has a chance to make an impact…we can do this. It starts with you and I :D

Have a good night y’all :)




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Daily Health Tips: Can I My Blood Group Change From Time To Time?

Q: Please Dr, help me out with this question. Does blood group change over the time? I did my blood group in 2004, it was B+. In 2007 I did it again it was O+. In 2012 I did it by myself and other Lab Scientist it still read O+. To my surprise, I repeated it 2 days ago & today it gave me B+

A: Your blood group is a product of your genetics inherited from both your parents, so technically, you can’t change it. Some instances where this has changed after blood marrow transplant and liver transplant have been reported. This may not really be far-fetched as in a bone marrow transplant, really the manufacturing plant for the blood cells has been changed to that of the donor and so, this plant may very well produce the variant of blood group they have been used to in the donor’s body.

The most probable cause(s) could be faulty testing, faulty reading or faulty reporting. I suggest you visit a Teaching Hospital or a reputable laboratory to re-test and confirm your exact blood group.

In instances where people report change of Rhesus type, the issue may be that the person has a variant of the Rhesus factor known as Du factor. People who have this ‘weak Rhesus positive antigen’ may initially test as Rhesus negative until further testing is done to check for this Du factor. So, in this case, it’s really an issue of proper testing and not change of blood group.

There you have it! :D

I hope you’ve been practicing the rules of proper hygiene: washing your hands constantly with soap and water or using sanitizer when that’s not possible etc. Be safe. Let’s give Ebola a tough fight! For those that asked, poultry has not been implicated, eating bush meat like fruit bats and monkeys which have been implicated in this even if thoroughly cooked, fried, roasted etc may be taking unnecessary risks with your life. I would generally leave bush meat alone, honestly.

Have a fabulous night, people :D


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Daily Health Tips: How Can I Prevent My Unborn Baby From Becoming Infected With HIV?

Q: Hello doctor, my man and I are HIV positive. We got married last year. My man has been on anti-retroviral drugs but I am not because my DC4 count is still above 500. I took in last two months and since then, the doctors at the General Hospital have been on strike. I went to a maternity hospital and was given ARV combination that contains Lamivudine, Nevirapine and Zidovudine (3-in-1) to protect my baby. Since I started taking this drug, I always have constant fever and headaches. Some nurses at the General Hospital in Abuja here said Nevirapine is not to be taken by a pregnant woman while some said I should have waited till after the first trimester.

Please Doctor, help me and my baby out. I sincerely don’t want to infect him or her.

A: Thanks for writing in.

I am sorry to hear about the challenges you’re having with your anti-retroviral drugs (drugs used for treating the HIV infection). Indeed, being HIV positive does not mean that you cannot have a baby who is HIV free.

Nevirapine can be used in pregnancy. You told me that your CD4 count is less than 500 but I don’t know what the precise count is. People who have CD4 counts greater than or equal to 250 are more at risk of the side effects of Nevirapine which may include effects on the liver. Indeed, people who already had liver problems, irrespective of CD4 counts are better off without Nevirapine. The doctor will most likely use an alternative drug. Generally, women in the first trimester that really do not require treatment to be instituted immediately can have anti-retroviral drugs delayed until the second trimester. However, at all times, the drugs used or not used and when used, are always balanced on a scale of potential benefits versus potential side effects.

 Some of the side effects of Nevirapine include persistent headaches and fever (as you have reported), muscle aches, weight loss, numbness and tingling of hands, feet, arms etc. The fever may be signify the onset of other complications. Please stop the medication and speak to your doctor immediately about your symptoms. He will advice on the best way forward after reviewing your symptoms and condition.

Given the doctors’ strike, if you do not have access to your doctor, please check out any of the treatment centers for HIV/AIDS. Gede Foundation in Abuja (near BPE) is one such center and I have included the details here for you:

Gede Foundation

Zaria Close,

Off Danube Crescent Maitama, Abuja.

Please get there today or tomorrow morning to ensure that you and your baby are equally safe.

Be sure to network with other people living with HIV/AIDS and get more information on organizations that support treatment and provide information on a regular basis. I will commit to getting more information and passing across to you via this page and personal messages to you, as often as possible.

Keep your chin up and remain strong.

Keep me posted as to what’s going on.

Lots of love…

Good night everyone and Happy Celebrations to the muslims tomorrow and next. Please post my ram on this page :D

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Daily Health Tips (video): Prevention Of Tooth Sensitivity

Have you ever taken a drink of cold water and then had to deal with the excruciating pain that followed? Then you should watch this video. It provides tips for preventing this. Enjoy…

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Daily Health Tips (video): Prevention Of Tooth Sensitivity

Have you ever taken a drink of cold water and then had to deal with the excruciating pain that followed? Then you should watch this video. It provides tips for preventing this. Enjoy…

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Daily Health Tips: Ebola In The News!

Good morning, y’all

Hope you all slept well. Well, brace yourselves…if you’re in Lagos Nigeria. It’s official! The first case of Ebola has been officially recorded.

If you missed my post on Ebola, a couple of months ago when it all started, please click on this link to read up on it. This is one situation where prevention is definitely better than cure.


With news of planes falling off the skies with disturbing frequency, this is news we can do without.

Be safe people :(

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