THERE was a campaign back in the 1970s that encouraged you to wash your hands.
It was one of around 200 campaigns that were rolled out in a couple of decades that aimed to steer public thinking and behaviour towards preferred directions.
The wash your hands campaign was aimed at keeping illnesses like leprosy, tuberculosis and cholear at bay. And while the general levels of hygiene have improved significantly over the decades, the threat of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) reminds us to continue with these hygienic practises.
What’s unsettling about nCoV is what’s unknown about it. On its site, the World Health Organization says “It is still not known how long the 2019-nCoV virus survives on surfaces, although preliminary information suggests the virus may survive a few hours. Simple disinfectants can kill the virus making it no longer possible to infect people.”
But what if you’re at a restaurant and someone sneezes within a metre of your washed cutlery? Did the waiter wash his/her hands before placing your cutlery at your table?
Maybe your best bet might be to revisit the urgings of the ’70s and wash your hands…and eat with them.
What did we do before cutlery was invented and spawned an entire flatware industry?
In India, Africa and the Middle-East, the art of eating with your hands still prevails. In Ayurvedic texts, each finger is viewed as an extension of the elements — space, air, fire, water and earth — and when you touch the food with your hands, you build a physical and spiritual connection with what you are eating.
Remember to eat with your right hand, and it should be alright.