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Importance of Practicing Good Personal Hygiene: Things to Do Daily

Importance of Practicing Good Personal Hygiene: Things to Do Daily

It goes without saying that people generally feel better when they take a shower and put on clean clothes. This is because the body generally functions better when it is clean. But what’s the importance of practicing good personal hygiene? Learn more about it here.

Importance of Showering/ Bathing

Bathing allows you to clean your skin, which has the important role of protecting your organs and tissues that are inside your body.

Not maintaining skin can alter the ability of the organ to do its functions. This is because sweat, dirt, oil, and subsequent microbial overgrowth can accumulate on the skin’s surface and lead to possible infection down the line.

To counter this overgrowth, showering or bathing with mild soap and rinsing with warm water can remove/stop microbial growth.

Skin Health 101: The Meaning of Healthy Skin

Body Odor

Body odor occurs when a person sweats. The bacteria then in that sweat breaks down amino acids, releasing an unpleasant odor.

To combat this, people can use antiperspirants to decrease the amount of sweat they produce. In addition, they can use deodorants that can combat the smell. To prevent body odor, bathe regularly, and wear clean and appropriate clothing for activities. Opt for wearing cotton shirts or moisture-wicking apparel for daily use and for exercise. These have been seen to be effective.

Athlete’s foot

When personal hygiene is not maintained, it can lead to other skin issues, which may be fungal or bacterial in nature.

Athlete’s foot, caused by a fungus, is one of the more common skin issues related to personal hygiene. The fungus (tinea pedis) grows best in warm, moist places, such as the feet. You’ll know you have Athlete’s foot when you have a foot rash that is associated with skin peeling or cracking, itchiness, and a burning sensation. This may be diagnosed by your doctor through a clinical exam as well.

The usual treatment for this condition includes an over-the-counter topical solution. However, if the symptoms persist or the fungal overgrowth is particularly bad, your physician may prescribe anti-fungal medication to be taken orally.

The Most Common Infectious Diseases Affecting the Skin

Importance of Handwashing

According to the Global Hygiene Council, 80% of the general global population does not practice good hand hygiene, leading to millions of preventable deaths due to the transmission of infections.

When people shake hands with individuals who are infected or touch contaminated surfaces, the skin is able to provide a level of protection from these harmful microorganisms. However, upon touching our face, our eyes, our mouths, these microorganisms can enter our bodies and cause infection.

Because of poor hygiene, diseases that can be transmitted include those that cause diarrhea and the common cold and flu. Their transmission can occur in the way as mentioned above or through contamination of food handled by a person who has not washed their hands.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed several important instances in which people should wash their hands, this includes:

Wash your hands after

  • Handling garbage/ trash
  • Handling food for your pets
  • Touching or handling an animal and associated food/waste
  • Blowing your nose, coughing, and sneezing, especially if you did this on your hand
  • Cleaning up for a child that has used the toilet
  • Using the toilet or touching your genitalia

Wash your hands before/ during/ after:

  • Treating wounds of any type
  • Whencaring for the sick, especially when dealing with vomit or diarrhea
  • Eating a meal
  • Preparing food that you or other persons will consume

Importance of Brushing Your Teeth and Flossing

The effects of neglecting to brush your teeth and floss further emphasize the importance of practicing good personal hygiene.

Like we mentioned with the skin earlier, we can see an overgrowth of microorganisms in the mouth, teeth, and gums too over time if left unattended. When you brush your teeth, you remove or prevent the development of bacterial plaque, the main culprit of tooth decay and gum disease.

In fact, a few days of neglecting brushing your teeth can already lead to the onset of gum disease. Flossing, on the other hand, can reach places that your toothbrush cannot. Tight gaps and spaces between your teeth are commonplace for food debris to get stuck, leading to the eventual overgrowth of microorganisms.

Hence, flossing can be very helpful in preventing plaque build-up and should be incorporated in everyone’s daily routines, alongside brushing your teeth. It is recommended that people brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes and at least twice a day.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

Key Takeaways

Indeed, the importance of practicing good personal hygiene can be highlighted in every individual aspect of good personal hygiene (bathing, brushing your teeth, washing your hands regularly) and is commonly associated with the overgrowth of microorganisms due to the build up of dirt, sweat, oil, or food particles (for brushing and flossing).

Not practicing good personal hygiene is the usual culprit for the spread of preventable diseases that cause diarrhea and the flu, as well as other conditions such as body odor and fungal overgrowth.

Learn more about General Hygiene here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Personal hygiene, https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/health-wellness-and-safety-resources/helping-hands/personal-hygiene, Accessed on November 21, 2020.

Handwashing, http://www.hygienecouncil.org/media/709/dvm-handwashing-9.pdf, Accessed on November 21, 2020.

When and how to wash your hands, https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html, Accessed on November 21, 2020.

The importance of brushing and flossing, https://chcw.org/the-importance-of-brushing-and-flossing, Accessed on November 21, 2020.

Sweating and body odor, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sweating-and-body-odor/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353898, Accessed on November 21, 2020.

Sweating and body odor, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17865-sweating-and-body-odor, Accessed on November 21, 2020.

Athlete’s foot, https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw28392, Accessed on November 21, 2020.

 

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Written by Den Alibudbud Updated Jun 11
Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, M.D.
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