personal hygiene

Practising Good Personal Hygiene

Practising good personal hygiene keeps the body clean and healthy. How do you feel when you sit close to someone in a bus or gathering and realise you can’t breathe? Not because there’s a shortage of oxygen, far from it, but because of the pungent smell coming from them. You’d want to change seats at all cost, right. But then again, what happens if the inconvenience is coming from you? The result will be isolation and loneliness.

Good personal isn’t just about putting on clean clothes and looking good on the outside. It is more than that. Good personal hygiene entails keeping every part of the body clean and healthy. Generally, this helps maintain not only physical health but mental health as well.

When you have poor personal hygiene, your body becomes an ideal environment for germs to grow—as a result, leaving it vulnerable to infection.

So, what is personal hygiene?

Generally, personal hygiene is how you care for your body. This include:

  • Bathing, 
  • Washing your hands, 
  • Brushing your teeth, and more.

Don’t you feel good when you feel clean and fresh? You come in contact with millions of germs and viruses every day. Therefore, when you neglect your hygiene, these germs linger on your body more than they should. Eventually, this results in an ailment. However, personal hygiene saves the day by protecting you and the people around you (community) from these illnesses.

Personal and domestic hygiene

Personal and domestic hygiene go hand in hand. So, if you are looking to build good personal hygiene, don’t focus on your body only. You can’t have a clean bath and eat in a dirty bowl and hope to be germ-free. There are many types of personal hygiene. These are:

Handwashing

Your hands are a passageway through which germs can enter your body. Germs on your hands through your mouth, nose, ears and eyes can go into your body. Hence, consistent hand washing is one of the best ways to keep the spread of infectious diseases at bay. 

Generally, it would help if you wash your hands with soap and water on the following occasions:

  • After using the toilet
  • After cleaning a child who has used the toilet
  • Before eating or handling food.
  • After taking out or handling garbage/trash
  • After sneezing 
  • When you touch an animal
  • After changing a baby’s diaper
  • After cleaning a wound or cut
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

Inculcate good hygiene in your children. Also, make it a habit to ask them to wash their hands more often. For instance, when they return from school or after playing outside, before meals, and after being near a sick friend. The CDCTrusted Source outline five simple steps for effective handwashing:

  • Wet the hands with clean, running water, then turn off the tap and apply soap.
  • Lather the hands by rubbing them together with the soap, remembering to reach the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and under the nails.
  • Scrub the hands for at least 20 seconds, which a person can time by humming the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Rinse the hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry the hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Dental

dental hygiene

Many a time, we feel that white teeth are everything when it comes to dental hygiene. Dental hygiene, however, entails more than white teeth. With excellent dental hygiene, you can prevent problems such as cavities and gum disease. Also, you can avoid bad breath.

Generally, dentist’s advise using toothpaste that contains fluoride. In addition, replace your toothbrush within a period of three to four months.

Learn more about good dental hygiene here.

Body

It is a known fact that bathing is an integral part of personal hygiene. So, advisably, you should bathe or shower daily. Bathing should be done with clean water and soap to rinse away dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria. 

While bathing, pay extra attention to hidden parts of the body that accumulate sweat. Thus, areas such as the armpits, in between the toes, and the groin area.

Also, if you grow hair, ensure to wash it with shampoo. When you have a clean bath, you prevent irritation and get rid of the bacteria that causes body odour. Speaking of odour, deodorants can come in handy. Applying deodorant when fully dry can help prevent odours.

Nails

So, you are probably wondering if nails aren’t part of the hands. Yes, they are. However, when it comes to hygiene, the nails have a separate routine. Fingernails, if not taken care of, can harbour dirt, which in turn harbour germs. As a result, it contributes to bacteria spread, especially so for long fingernails. 

Therefore, keeping your nails short helps cut the spread of infections. To ensure that dirt doesn’t settle underneath your nails, make scrubbing the underside of your nails a routine. Of course, with a nail brush. You can include this in your handwash routine.

Toilet hygiene

As simple as this may sound, there are still people who pay zero attention to toilet hygiene. Gross, I know! 

Wash your hands with soap thoroughly for 20-30 seconds after using the toilet. Then rinse and dry with a clean towel. But in the absence of soap and water, an alcohol-based sanitiser can also serve the purpose.

Sickness hygiene

This is where you think about your loved ones or people around you. When you’re ill, you owe it to them to take care of yourself. Take necessary steps to ensure you don’t spread germs:

  • cover your mouth and nose when sneezing,
  • wipe down shared surfaces with an antibacterial wipe, 
  • Do not share any utensils or electronics. 
  • Throw away any soiled tissues immediately after use.

Menstrual and genital hygiene

This part of personal hygiene is crucial. When a girl attains a certain age, menstruation becomes a part of them. So as a female, you must understand how to take proper care of yourself during this period. Therefore:

  • change sanitary products regularly 
  • wash the hands before and after changing any sanitary products (pad, tampons etc.)
  • Do not use soap to clean the vagina (the vagina is self-cleaning. So, using soap to clean it can result in an imbalance of its natural bacteria leading to infections)
  • Using mild soap and water, clean the vulva (the outer part of the vagina) once a day.

Then, for a child with an uncircumcised penis, clean it with warm water or soap. Pull back the foreskin gently and wash underneath.

Learn more about vaginal hygiene here.

Factors that can negatively impact hygiene

What can stop a person from having a bath? 

  • Lack of clean water and poverty can affect our hygiene a great deal. Why? Because you need to access clean water to be able to have a bath or brush your teeth. So, a lack of these two can be detrimental to hygiene.
  • Also, living with a mental condition such as severe depression, psychotic disorder, drug use disorder can make it hard to attain personal hygiene. Thus, mental health can affect how we take care of our hygiene.

People living with Alzheimer’s disease are said to have poor oral hygiene. 

Adverse effects of poor personal hygiene 

germs

Besides being a sensitive topic, poor hygiene can bring about isolation. Telling a person or friend that he or she has a mouth or body odour has never been easy.

Poor hygiene can be detrimental in industries, especially in food industries. If you have an odour, your co-workers will not be able to work with you. No one would. Nobody appreciates a pungent smell of fresh air.

There are also many health implications of having poor personal hygiene, with the CDCTrusted Source listing the following as hygiene-related diseases:

  • athlete’s foot
  • body lice
  • chronic diarrhoea
  • tooth decay
  • head lice
  • hot tub rash
  • pinworms
  • pubic lice
  • scabies
  • swimmer’s ear
  • ringworm

To sum it up, the role hygiene plays in your life cannot be overemphasised. Personal hygiene has a place in your social life, physical and healthy life. This simple bath you take every day does a lot of good to you and everyone around you. So, be sure to develop and maintain a personal hygiene routine if you haven’t got one.

Related: Girl-child Education.

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