When people take the correct action to stop the spread of germs and parasites they are practising an important aspect of good environmental health.

Parasites and germs need three things. These are:

  • an environment or source (this is where the germ or parasite lives)
  • a vector or route (this is the animal or person that carries the germ or parasite in or on its body)
  • a host or destination (the person or animal that gets infected with the germ or parasite and gets sick)
If people control the environment by keeping it clean, this makes it harder for germs and parasites to live and breed.

Here are some examples of things that can be done to stop the spread of germs and parasites:
  • Pick up all rubbish and put it in the bin
  • Keep yourself, your family and your house clean
  • Wash hands after going to the toilet and before preparing food
  • Make sure all pests are controlled properly by washing your dog and keeping it off the bed
  • Wash your hands after touching animals
  • Make sure that taps, toilets and bathrooms are kept in clean and good working order
  • Store cooked and uncooked food correctly
  • Don't defecate near waterways or in puddles. Water spreads germs and is a part of the life cycle of some parasites. If you have to defecate in the bush, make sure that you bury it. Don’t walk in dirty puddles.
  • Try to keep children from areas in which animal faeces may be present or near taps which can contain young parasites which can enter through your skin

Stopping Worms

The eggs of worms are very small and live in some people's faeces. The worm eggs hatch in damp soil or water.
The worms get into your body through cuts or sores in the skin, or burrow through normal skin. This happens when people with no shoes on tread in water, on wet soil or on faecal matter.

You can stop the spread of worms by:
  • wearing shoes
  • using a toilet
  • making sure that everyone understands the importance of using a toilet and wearing shoes
  • wash your hands, especially after going to the toilet, to stop germs and parasites being passed on to another person
  • making sure that the taps at your house don't drip
  • not letting babies and children sit in damp or wet places, particularly without clothes on
  • getting treatment if you are sick
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How to get rid of scabies

If someone has scabies, the only way to get rid of them is to give that person a special cream or lotion to put all over their body. If there are other people who live in the house, they may need to use the cream too.

Before someone puts on the lotion they need to have a shower and wash all over with soap. They must not wash again for 24 hours.
Fig.  1.18: Wash before putting on the lotion
Fig. 1.18: Wash before putting on the lotion.

Put the lotion on as shown by the health worker, nurse or doctor. Soon the itch will go away. It may take a day or two.
Fig.  1.19: Putting on the lotion
Fig. 1.19: Putting on the lotion.

To stop scabies coming back, wash all clothes, towels, blankets, in pillow cases in hot soapy water.
Fig.1.20: Washing clothing.
Fig.1.20: Washing clothing.

After the clothes and bed clothes have been washed they should be hung out in the sun to dry. Put the pillows and mattress outside in the hot sun all day.
Fig.1.21: Hanging out clothes and bedding
Fig.1.21: Hanging out clothes and bedding

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You can avoid getting scabies by not using clothes, sheets or blankets which have been used by someone else, unless they have been washed in hot soapy water first. You should also not share a bed with someone that has an itch.
Fig.1.22: Don't share infected clothing
Fig.1.22: Don't share infected clothing.

How to stop flies causing sickness

People can get germs from flies which can give them diarrhoea and make them vomit. To stop flies passing on germs, follow these rules:
  • Always put rubbish in the bin and make sure the lid is on properly.
  • Always cover food and store it properly so that flies can't get to it.
  • Always use the toilet
  • Keep flies away from your ears, eyes, nose and mouth
  • Keep flies away from babies' and young children's ears, eyes and mouth
  • Keep the ears, eyes and mouth as dry as possible
  • When they are old enough, children should be taught to wipe their nose with a tissue or piece of cloth. Then they should be taught how to put the dirty tissue in a rubbish bin or a fire
  • Cover all sores with a cloth or bandaid dressing. Dirty dressings should be put in the bin