Germs are everywhere! Some are ‘good’ bacteria or microbes which are indispensable for maintaining our health and, others are ‘bad’ bacteria causing illnesses and infections. Good personal hygiene is crucial for our health, and to make us look and feel good.
If you think that makeup, fragrances or deodorants can cover the tell-tales of poor hygiene, then you may be in the dark.
‘According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, about 8,29,000 deaths and 49.8 million disability-adjusted life years were attributed to unsafe/unhealthy Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices throughout the world in the year 2016.’
Germs are tiny microorganisms that have their ways of creeping into our body causing sweat, unpleasant body odor, bad breath, etc. are all indicators of poor hygiene and a bad health state. To keep these microbes at bay, one must practice good personal hygiene.
What is personal hygiene?
Simply put, personal hygiene is taking care of our body on daily basis, be it at home, at the workplace or wherever you are! Taking a bath regularly, brushing your teeth twice a day, washing your hands the right way, etc. are some of the hygienic practices for keeping yourself clean and fresh. A healthy and clean body harbors a healthy mind supporting your mental health and makes you feel good about yourself.
Importance of personal hygiene
Maintaining good personal hygiene can make you feel more confident in yourself and can positively affect personal relationships as well. You can also prevent many illnesses and infections in and around you, by following personal hygiene practices.
You might be amazed to know that, poor hygiene can cause life-long illnesses which can affect the quality of life as well, these are:
- COVID-19 infection due to poor respiratory hygiene (this tops the charts, given the present scenario, sigh!)
- Respiratory infections, such as colds and flu
- Worm-related disorders, for example, threadworms
- Diarrhea, especially gastroenteritis
- Eye infection which can bring about blindness
- Tinea or athlete’s foot
- Tooth caries or decay
How to maintain personal hygiene?
Maintaining personal hygiene is more of a ‘daily commitment’ rather than just a ‘once-done’ task. It’s just the basics to follow and as you read, you’ll get the gist of it.
You can put together your personal hygiene routine by following the below pointers:
Using the toilet and not washing your hands after can invite some serious infections as you may have come in contact with feces which contains billions of germs.
How to maintain toilet hygiene?
Make sure to wash your hands properly with soap for 20-30 seconds after using the toilet or restroom. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer (no less than 60% alcohol) can be a great substitute in case you don’t have water or soap.
The use of fragrant toiletries may foster to build a good personal hygiene routine.
Shower or bath hygiene
Sweating is a normal process which helps to regulate our body temperature. Sweating plus bacteria cause body odor, which may stink a little and is fairly normal. But, excess body odor or unpleasant smell is a total embarrassment to ourselves (our noses have to bear it!) and others.
Taking a bath daily will protect your skin from bacteria and reduce the odds of skin irritation.
How to maintain shower or bath hygiene?
While hot and long winter showers can be tempting, they can lead to dryness, irritation and skin flaking. So, use lukewarm water to shower or bath daily with soap or body wash, loofah, washcloth or just hands which can make you feel fresh and make the body clean. Once-a-week body scrubbing can buff off the dead skin cells promoting smooth and glowing skin.
You can get rid of flaking or oil buildup/dandruff from your scalp and hair by washing them with scalp and hair care anti-dandruff shampoo with natural bioactives.
Clean clothes with easy-breathable fabric can avoid body odour and itchiness.
Germs can thrive and spread with dirty fingernails. Some people just can’t resist scratching acne or bumps with their nails, making the acne or bumps much worse. Keep your nails neat and tidy to avoid them entering your mouth and other body openings.
Want to know some effective treatments to consider for those pesky, reddish spots left after acne. You can read here!
How to maintain nail hygiene?
Snip your fingernails and toenails time and again and, keep them short, because long nails can carry harmful bacterias, spreading germs, making you are more prone to infections.
Wash your nails with soap and water with a nail brush or washcloth to clean them and rinse away buildup, dirt, and germs.
Avoid nail biting (you know regular biting can negatively affect your teeth and gums as well).
Dental or oral hygiene
Maintain a healthy oral routine to steer clear of dental or teeth infections, cavities and gum diseases. Keeping your mouth clean will also mask your bad breath.
How to maintain dental or oral hygiene?
Make a habit of brushing your teeth twice daily for about 2 minutes, after getting out of the bed and before hitting the sack.
Have you noticed the color of your tongue? The color of the tongue coating may indicate the presence of bacteria- ‘white tongue coating’ means a thin film of bacteria and ‘pink’ means it is germ-free. So, the use of tongue cleaner is beneficial to keep away germs.
Flossing is the most ignored thing in dental hygiene, always flossing between the teeth. The use of antibacterial mouthwash can serve as a good mouth rinse after eating.
Remember to schedule your dental appointments regularly.
Handwashing is a simple personal hygiene measure deemed effective in reducing the spread of infections, food-borne illnesses and so on.
It was much emphasized recently and the World Health Organization (WHO) also advised frequent handwashing with water and soap or alcohol-based hand rubs can be effective against COVID-19 spread.
How to maintain hand hygiene?
You should wash your hands in clean, running water before and after a meal, after sneezing and touching an animal, after handling garbage, and after using the loo or defecation.
Hygiene during menstruation
Every woman needs to swear by a menstrual hygiene routine to stay clean, fresh and safe from reproductive tract infections and many fatal illnesses.
‘As per the National Family Health Survey 4, only 57.6% of women between the age group of 15 to 24 years use hygienic methods during menstruation which drops to 48.2% in rural areas.’
How to maintain during menstruation?
Opt for sanitary napkins rather than cloth. Change the sanitary pad after 3 to 5 hours to prevent foul odors, irritation and infection.
Wash your hands suitably with clean water and soap after switching the pads or napkins. You should properly wrap the used sanitary pads in toilet paper or newspaper before dumping them off, never flush!
To sum up:
A clean and healthy appearance appeals all! Always reflect a healthy you, inside and out by maintaining personal hygiene. You don’t have to do much but keeping simple routine habits like daily bathing, washing your hands and face properly, dental care, avoiding unnecessary touching of the face, etc. can make a lot of difference in your well-being and boost your confidence. So look your best and feel your best!
Q. What are the most common and essential products used for maintaining personal hygiene?
Ans. Soap or body wash, Shampoo, Toothbrush and toothpaste, Dental Floss, and Hand sanitizer are commonly used for maintaining physical and mental wellbeing.
Q. How to floss the teeth for dental care?
Ans. loss correctly once daily by holding the floss quite firmly against the tooth. Softly rub the sides of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum while moving up and down around the teeth.
Q. When can I use a deodorant- before or after a shower?
Ans. You can use antiperspirants or deodorant after a shower to keep away the body odor and smell amazing.