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Dr. Seuss,  I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Good Personal Hygiene: It’s Time to Soap Up!

It's hard not to feel worried, concerned, and alarmed when you see the latest news on coronavirus still wreaking havoc all over many places in different parts of the world and knowing there is no existing vaccine yet to protect you from it.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is transmitted between people through direct or indirect (through contaminated objects or surfaces) contact with infected people mainly through respiratory droplets produced when that infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. 

Wearing a mask, social distancing, and personal hygiene are all simple but very effective ways that can shield you from this deadly virus. This week, we’d like to dig more into personal hygiene.

Really, (and we think you already know this), COVID or no COVID, good personal hygiene is important to your health. So, let’s get into it. 

Experts say that taking the time to focus on personal hygiene can help protect you from  getting coronavirus, as well as any other number of infectious diseases. People who practice good hygiene are less likely to get sick than those who don’t. So what's a person with poor hygiene habits to do?

If there's one tip to take very seriously during this trying time, it's to soap up and clean up. Now more than ever, following basic hygiene practices is important. It’s your basic but effective weapon against harmful diseases and infections. Good hygiene can save your life!

So, how does it work and what practices should you follow to achieve good personal hygiene?

Good Grooming vs Good Hygiene

It is easy to mistake good grooming for good hygiene. To differentiate the two, good grooming is about maintaining or caring for one’s personal appearance through clothing and hygienic habits. Meanwhile, good hygiene is more about the basic cleaning habits intended to preserve one’s health and well-being.

So, if your hair looks lovely and you don’t have hair rockets blasting out of your nostrils, you practice good grooming. While it’s great to have good grooming habits, proper hygiene practices shouldn’t be taken for granted. It should even be first and foremost. It’s a basic life skill. Sometimes, people tend to stop their routine once everything “looks” clean. This is where it becomes tricky.

Diseases Caused By Poor Hygiene

Washing your hands, taking a shower, and brushing your teeth is not just about looking clean and neat. The aim of these practices should be more to protect our body from harmful bacteria and viruses that can lead to infections and diseases.

Bacteria and viruses cannot be seen by the naked eye. You won’t be able to tell if something is completely clean just by looking at it. Because of this, not having proper and adequate hygiene increases the risk for illnesses like food poisoning, roundworm, gastroenteritis, hepatitis A, influenza, and, yes, the Covid-19 infection spreading around the world today.

What is Considered Good Personal Hygiene?

As we go through our daily activities, our body accumulates dirt and germs. Our interaction with different objects and people also allows us to be exposed to a variety of bacteria and viruses that can cause illness and disease.

Cleansing habits like taking a shower and washing our hands with soap and water rid our bodies of these outside elements. This does not only prevent us from getting sick. It also helps prevent the spread of germ-related diseases.

Basic Hygiene Practices

Here’s a list of basic hygiene practices that will help fight against harmful viruses and bacteria:

1. Taking Baths and Showers

Taking a bath or a shower washes away dead skin cells, sweat, and other debris that accumulate on our skin. This is a very important step towards good hygiene because it prevents painful and annoying skin irritations like acne and dermatitis neglecta.

Parasitic, fungal, and viral infections may also arise if body hygiene is neglected. This includes ringworms, threadworms, tinea, and others.

The proper way of cleansing the body is by using a mild soap and water. You may also use a sponge or a towel to gently exfoliate the skin.

Are daily showers necessary?

Dermatologists actually have mixed opinions surrounding this. Some people have skin conditions that may get further irritations from daily showers. In such cases, more care should be given with the type of cleansers they use and the frequency of showers they take. It is also better to avoid hot showers if you have irritated and dry skin.

2. Proper Washing of Hands

Your hands get into contact with everything and this can also mean exposure to bacteria and viruses. Because you use your hands for many different tasks, they are also good carriers of disease-causing germs.

Viral diseases like the common cold, influenza, and Covid-19 infections are known to be transferred through hand contact.

To prevent the spread of unwanted diseases, follow the proper hand-washing technique, or use a hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based.

You must wash your hands before eating and preparing food. Also wash your hands after using the bathroom, taking out the trash, touching your pets or other animals.

Here’s how to properly wash your hands:

3. Don’t Forget the Nails

Another proper hand hygiene technique is trimming your nails. Dirt and germs can easily hide in-between your nails and these can be transferred to objects, including food, and body areas you touch like your eyes, nose, mouth, etc.

4. Brush Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth after a meal, or at least two times a day helps prevent plaque and bacteria buildup. This lowers the risk for cavities and gum disease.

When to see a dentist?

Tooth decay is better treated when it hasn’t spread yet. Dentists recommend a dental checkup at least twice a year. This helps them spot tooth decay early on and advise you on better mouth hygiene practices.

5. Objects You Use Everyday

The things you use every day can also introduce bacteria and viruses to your body. It is as important to keep the objects that come into contact with your body clean and free from harmful germs.

Taking care of your skin involves wearing a clean set of clothes. Change your clothes, undergarments, and socks every day. Garments made from natural fibres are also ideal since synthetic fabrics tend to prevent the natural production of sweat and this may lead to skin irritations.

Towels, toothbrushes, and hairbrushes shouldn’t be shared even with family members. Skin and mouth infections can be transferred from towels and toothbrushes and lice and hair fungal infections can also be shared through hair brushes.

Keeping your house clean is also part of good hygiene. Change your bed covers and pillowcases often and vacuum your house to lessen the risk of bacterial and fungal accumulation.

Now, this one may be the scariest out of all the everyday things you come into contact with but you often forget about it – it’s your phone!

A study showed that our phones carry up to ten times more bacteria than toilet seats. Yes, the phone you use all day, every day, carries more harmful bacteria than an average toilet seat. That’s why you should always find time to disinfect your phone.

Final Thoughts

Our daily lives may seem so busy sometimes that we don’t notice how these seemingly small things may be affecting us. It may sound cliche but prevention is definitely better than cure. 

And if you’re curious to know how clean (or dirty) you really are, take this quiz → How Dirty Are You? It’s all fun! :-)