The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living
A lot of people overlook the importance of personal hygiene which can be a huge mistake. You see, we interact with different organisms on a daily basis, exposing us to a wide range of infectious or communicable diseases.
In 2016, 3 infectious diseases have been included in the top ten causes of death worldwide They are diarrheal diseases, lower respiratory diseases, and tuberculosis.
Failure to look after yourself and your hygiene can increase your risk of developing any of the conditions above.
To protect yourself, here are a few tips to stay healthy and prevent diseases:
Wash Hands and Keep Your Body Tidy
Whether you eat with a spoon or enjoy licking your fingers, it is important to bring clean hands to your plate. Fingers carry microbial germs from interaction with infected pets, people, and touching several other non-living things and substances.
Washing hands thoroughly for about a minute, especially before eating, can limit the transmission of harmful bacteria that cause infectious diseases. After washing, use a clean and dry towel or a tissue to pat-dry the hands and remove excess water.
In the absence of soap and water, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can help you get rid of 99.9% germ by killing bacteria, fungi, and certain viruses. Extra care should be taken to wash hands after using public and shared utilities like elevators, public transport, parks, commercial shops, restrooms, etc.
Clean your hands and have your kids do the same before a snack or a meal, after using of the toilet, and playing with pets. Also, give your hands a good wash after an intentional or unintentional contact with someone suffering from cold or cough.
Apart from washing hands, bathing is also essential in maintaining complete physical hygiene. Indulge in extra care for your feet as they often come in contact with dust and germs. Wash them clean before entering the kitchen and before hitting the sack.
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Make Oral Hygiene a Priority
The mouth is inhabited by 200 to 300 bacterial species. A few of these bacteria cause dental decays or periodontal diseases. According to a report by the WHO, 60% to 90% of school children and almost 100% adults worldwide suffer from dental cavities. Also, 15% to 20% of adults aged between 35 and 44 years have severe periodontal diseases.
Researchers and experts believe that gum diseases have the potential to cause heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, premature birth, and respiratory disease. Maintaining dental hygiene, thus, is important.
Remember to brush and floss regularly.
In addition, mouth wash can be used to rinse the mouth as it kills harmful bacteria. Don’t forget to clean your tongue every time you brush your teeth.
Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed on from parents to their kids through physical contact. Mothers with dental cavities must avoid sharing spoons with their kids as the bacteria gets passed on along with saliva.
Above all, following a healthy diet goes a long way in preventing dental infections. It is advisable for adults to keep away from tobacco and excessive alcohol. Children should be discouraged from consuming sugary and fizzy drinks.
A set of healthy teeth is great for a beautiful smile!
Cook in Clean Conditions
Cleaning the kitchen and the dining area can contribute to personal hygiene. Poor cleaning can cause bacteria to breed, eventually leading to the contamination of the food and the water.
You should clean your hands before cooking and the area where you’ll cook should be dry to avoid contamination. Precautions to keep hair from falling into the food must be taken as hair can be a source of potential microbiological infection. Coughing, sneezing, and smoking should be prohibited in the cooking area and one must wash one’s hands upon the completion of the aforementioned activities.
Dirty clothes tend to carry germs and should be replaced by clean and washed clothes or aprons ahead of cooking. It is preferable to keep nails short to avoid accumulation of dirt and germs below them.
One should strictly keep away from cooking if suffering from food poisoning. Pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites contaminate food, and those suffering from an illness must take adequate precautions to prevent the spreading of food-borne diseases.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases report declared in 2014 that around 48 million people in America suffer from food-borne illness every year, of which about 3,000 people succumb to the disease annually.
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Stay Safe During Travel
Even when on the road, it’s important to keep in mind the importance of personal hygiene.
When traveling, people must be careful of acquiring traveler’s diarrhea. Travelers can use bottled water and refrain from drinking tap water. Pasteurized milk and hot beverages can be consumed to stay healthy and consumption of uncooked/undercooked food and meat should be avoided whenever possible.
Carrying a sanitizer comes in handy when traveling to foreign places. Clean your clothes yourself or use the laundry service to sanitize them after visiting places of public interest.
Further, safeguard children with full-sleeved clothes and good footwear.
Being clean is the first step towards sustaining good health. Hygienic living conditions are important to control and prevent illnesses. An unhealthy environment not only disrupts one’s health, but also spreads illnesses among other people.
People carrying pathogens must be mindful of others’ health.. A healthy body comes from knowing the importance of personal hygiene and following healthy practices religiously.
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Author: Pratima Makanji
Pratima Makanji is the founder of AIHT Education (American Institute of Healthcare & Technology), a US based healthcare training institute.