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General Conference

Hygiene in pandemic times: a new natural remedy?

The health principles presented by the Adventist Church reinforce the need for individual and collective care.

Brazil | Alexsander D. da Silva and Anne Caroline LG da Silva

The new coronavirus pandemic has brought about many changes in our everyday life. Respiratory hygiene, for example, became the rule, regardless of age, location or presence of symptoms. Even with the arrival of the vaccine, hygiene will still play an important role in preventing the coronavirus.

Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are quite accustomed to promoting the eight natural remedies, which are freely given by God:

  1. Healthy eating
  2. Physical exercise
  3. Water
  4. Sunlight
  5. Temperance (moderation, balance, abstinence)
  6. Fresh air
  7. Rest
  8. Trust in God

However, Covid-19 brought out an element of the health message that may have been overlooked: hygiene. Although the natural remedy “water” can include aspects of hygiene, it has usually been discussed more in the context of hydration and therapeutic baths. However, Ellen White makes striking statements about the principle of hygiene.

“You must cultivate a love of cleanliness and strict cleanliness” - Testimonies to the Church, vol. 2, p. 66).

“If God was so thorough in prescribing cleanliness for those who journeyed through the desert, and who were outdoors almost all the time, He does not require less of us …” ( Christ in His Sanctuary, p. 82).

Individual responsibility, a collective effect

When studying in the Bible about the Mosaic law regarding lepers, it is noted that social isolation and the use of “masks” were established by God (Leviticus 13). The guidelines given there even include care for objects and clothing that have had contact with people affected by leprosy.

God established health principles for human happiness and usefulness in the world. He could have prevented leprosy from contaminating the people, but as with the plan of salvation, there is a part to play for others and for himself, and that includes hygiene.

Complementary practices

At the height of the first wave of the pandemic, a reporter approached a citizen who was passing through a busy street, ignoring the recommendation to wear masks. Asked, the man replied that he trusted God to spare him from contracting the coronavirus. So, would it be lack of faith to follow science's guidelines on how to stay protected?

“It is not a denial of faith to use the remedies that God has provided to relieve pain and help nature in its work of restoration.… This knowledge was placed within our reach to be used. We must use all resources for the restoration of health, taking advantage of all possible advantages, acting in harmony with natural laws ”( The Ministry of Healing, pages 231 and 232).

Following the recommendations of science and authorities, which do not conflict with the Word of God, is in accordance with 1 Peter 2: 13-23 and Romans 13: 1-7. 

“Beloved, above all, I hope for your prosperity and health, just as your soul is prosperous” (3 John 1: 2).

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site