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How your bad habits may be affecting other people's health

 How your bad habits may be affecting other people's health (Photo: iStock)

No one really lives in isolation; the world is one big shared space. Whatever any human does inevitably affects those in close proximity to them. And one of the most significant effects of human behaviour is the impact on other people's health.

You must always remain acutely aware of how your seemingly innocuous behaviour affects the overall health status of others. An obvious habit to start with is smoking. Even the dumbest individual is now well aware of the hazards of cigarette smoking.

The link between cardio-respiratory disease and cancer is a long-gone conclusion. If you aren't a smoker, you may be inadvertently exposed to passive smoking, which puts you at a similar risk of disease. There are bylaws about smoking in public spaces, yet many smokers just light up regardless.

If you are a smoker and couldn't care less about your health, be at least mindful of others. Only smoke when you are alone, or with like-minded smokers. Spare your family, friends and strangers the health hazards of inhaling any smoke emanating from your passages. You might have recently become aware of the City's bylaws about spitting and pooping in public. It's all for good measure in terms of public health. Neither of such habits is particularly appealing. And they are both health hazards.

Droplets of spit often contain many microorganisms. And these can easily be passed onto others through inhalation, and transmit various diseases in the process. Never spit when in public spaces.

You could either use some tissue and dispose of it appropriately, or just swallow the secretions and allow your stomach juices to do the rest. Pooping in public spaces is abhorrent, can potentially transmit lethal organisms, and shouldn't ever happen.

Nowadays, everyone is almost well-versed in keeping a safe distance from others. Transmissible respiratory infections are easily spread when people are in close proximity. But it's almost habitual for people to jostle for tight spots in public spaces like markets and bus stops. Give the guy ahead of you some space, and leave some reasonable distance from the guy behind. Nudge others to respect your space. That way, everyone can keep whatever they harbour within themselves.

What about the environment? So much has been said about human activities and climate change, and the consequent health effects. But closer to individual habits, so much of what you do may be detrimental to other people's health. Think of your neighbours when burning toxic trash to clear your backyard.

Think of other road users when driving a jalopy spewing black, toxic smoke. Think of those downstream when disposing of toxic waste into rivers and water reservoirs. Re-evaluate what you routinely do, and avoid stuff that negatively impacts the health of the public at large.

Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist

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