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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-04

0711-Patient Guidelines Regarding Hygiene of Physiological Secretions III

Background material by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. for Year 2 Semester 1 PPSD session on Wednesday 14th November 2007

1.0 EYE SECRETIONS

Tears are not an impurity (najs or najasat) but should be wiped or washed away. Normal eye discharge seen in the morning is also not an impurity but must be washed away quickly because it could be a focus of infection.

 

2.0 EAR SECRETIONS

The secretions of the external ear can accumulate and become earwax or could facilitate bacterial infection leading to otitis media. It is recommended in ablution to clean the external meatus and the ear canal as deep as is safe. This regular cleaning prevents ear infection.

 

3.0 NASAL CAVITY

Nasal secretions are not an impurity. The Prophet recommended blowing the nose three times on waking up to clear away secretions and accumulated infectious and toxic material. During ablution washing the inside of the nostrils removes secretions and infections. Care should be taken not to blow the nose in the open air because that spreads air-borne infections.

 

4.0 THROAT SECRETIONS

Throat clearings are not an impurity but should be disposed of carefully because they transmit air-borne bacterial and viral infections.

 

5.0 ORAL CAVITY SECRETIONS

Saliva is a thick colorless fluid that circulates in the mouth. Salivary glands normally secrete 1-2 liters of saliva every day. Saliva secretion is continuous in small amounts but secretion increases in the presence of food. The functions of saliva are lubricating the oral cavity to facilitate movements of the tongue associated with speaking, moistening the food for easier swallowing, cleaning the oral cavity by removing food debris, and some digestion of carbohydrates. It also has some anti-microbial properties.

 

Spitting saliva should however be discouraged because it leads to spread of air-borne infection. Spitting in the hospital or the public highway is esthetically not acceptable.

 

Two recommendations help maintain oral hygiene.: rinsing the mouth during ablution five times a day and using the tooth-pick (siwaak). Use of the toothpick was especially emphasized and is recommended at every prayer, before entering a public place, after eating, and on waking up from sleep. The toothpick must be washed between uses. 

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. November, 2007