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Prevention of disease:
Now that we know that infectious diseases are caused by microbes, it should be possible to prevent diseases by controlling their transmission and properly treating them.
Prevention in Ancient Times
Let us begin this section by analysing some of the practices adopted in ancient India which could minimise infections. They were, for example, washing of hands before and after meals, daily bathing, not carrying footwear into living rooms, denial of permission to enter place where food is cooked, especially for persons who have not had a bath. These practices myst have evolved through observation. over a long period, that certain practices helped in preventing diseases. Isolation of mother and the new-born, soon after delivery, was a common custom which also helped in preventing infection of the mother and the baby. Many of these laws of personal hygiene were codified by Manu.
Excavation of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa have revealed the existence of a covered drainage system and water supply. House drains emptied all waste water into the street drains. They also had arrangements for proper sanitation. Similarly, ancient civilhations of Egypt, Greece and China had medical systems. Egyptians had arrangements for public baths and under- ground drainage. The use of mosquito nets and association of plague with rats were known to them. Hippocrates, the mDst illustrious Greek physician of the 5th century B.C. examined significance of climate, w&er, clothing, eating and drinking to health. He was truly a man concerned with hygiene. The ancient Indian and Chinese system of medical care knew about immunisation also. Inoculation with live small pox germs to prevent small pox was known to them.
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