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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-04

0611-PATIENT GUIDELINES REGARDING HYGIENE OF PHYSIOLOGICAL SECRETIONS I: THE SKIN AND INTEGUMENTS

Background material by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. for Year 2 Semester 1 PPSD session on Wednesday 15th November 2006

1.0 SKIN SECRETIONS

Perspiration produces sweat (visible fluid produced by sweat glands) or vapor evaporating from the epidermis (insensible perspiration). Sweat glands play the role of heat elimination. Sweat is 99% water with minute amounts of dissolved salts and amino acids. At high temperatures, the sympathetic nervous system stimulates eccrine glands to produce sweat. The high temperature may be environmental or may be a result of physical exercise. Excessive sweating may lead to sodium depletion. Fatty sweat is secreted by apocrine glands associated with hairy parts of the skin such as the armpit, the scalp, and the perineum. This sweat is broken down by bacteria producing a punget odor.

 

2.0 WASHING EXPOSED PARTS OF THE SKIN IN ABLUTION

Ablution has both ritual and physical dimensions. Regular ablution involves washing the parts of the body that are most likely exposed to environmental pollution. The exposed organs that are washed are the face, the forearm, hands, the feet, and the head. It is recommended to wash or pass the wet hand over parts of the body that are normally exposed to the atmosphere such as the nostrils, the ear, and the back of the neck. It is recommended to pass fingers between the bases of toes and fingers to clear away collected secretions that can be a substrate for infection. Rings and other coverings on the body must be removed before washing to make sure that all parts of the body are washed.

 

3.0 WASHING THE WHOLE BODY

Bathing the body has both ritual and physical cleansing dimensions. Washing of the whole body, is obligatory in connection with many acts to make sure that the body is regularly cleared of accumulated secretions. It is obligatory after menstruation; post-natal bleeding; and coitus. Bathing is also undertaken before for hajj, ‘umrah, and on Fridays. The prophet recommended at least one bath a week preferably on Fridays.

 

4.0 NAILS

It is recommended to trim fingernails and toenails. Letting nails grow is against the sunnat. If left to grow, nails accumulate dirt and pathogens. Some of the excreta may lodge under the nails during and be nidi for infection. It is recommended to cut nails every forty days. Nails should be thrown away after cutting.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. November 2006