Basic personal hygiene habits
Personal hygiene is essential for protection against microbes and bacteria. People who shower every day and clean their hands frequently are protecting themselves against many diseases.
It is important to take care of our hands, mouth, feet and genitals. These are the parts of the body that have greater contact with bacteria and which need special attention.
Be careful when you sneeze or cough. Throw away used tissues and clean any items you have touched. These are small actions that improve everyone’s quality of life. By taking care of ourselves, we are taking care of others.
If you have a pet, it is important to maintain basic rules of hygiene relating to the animal and to the spaces in the house it lives in.
Personal hygiene is health
A person who fails to take care of their personal hygiene may catch various diseases and infections. For example, failure to clean our teeth can cause decay and bad breath. Cardiovascular diseases as well. Bacteria from the plaque in our gums can enter the body through the bloodstream. When such bacteria reach our heart, they increase our possibility of having a heart attack.
Failure to wash our hands after going to the toilet can result in diseases such as the common cold, the flu, chicken pox, meningitis, gastroenteritis and ’hepatitis A.
Basic personal-hygiene rules
You can enjoy good personal hygiene by following these recommendations:
Taking a bath or shower every day
This is the best way to eliminate dirt, sweat, dead cells and bacteria. Especially take a shower after you have done some sport. If that is not possible, you can use a damp towel to clean your body at the end of the day.
Using a deodorant or antiperspirant
Wash your armpits thoroughly with soap and water every day. This is important for protecting against body odour. Use a deodorant or antiperspirant too These products help to control excess sweat and body odour.
Washing your hair
You do not need to wash your hair every day. It depends on your habits and your hair type. It is recommended to wash your hair at least once a week with an appropriate shampoo. It is also advisable to have your hair cut every three months or, at the very least, twice a year. That way it stays healthy.
Washing your hands
It is important you wash your hands frequently, to eliminate dirt and bacteria. It also helps to prevent the spreading of respiratory and diarrhoeal infections from one person to another.
You must wash your hands and wrists with soap and water:
- When preparing a meal and handling food.
- Before eating breakfast, lunch or supper.
- When you touch an animal.
- After going to the toilet.
- After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- When you have a wound.
- If you have been in contact with someone ill, with a cold or who has diarrhoea.
Brush your teach after every meal
Cleaning your teeth helps to protect against gum diseases such as gingivitis. And bad breath too. To eliminate the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth, your brushing should last between 4 and 5 minutes. It is advisable to start from the front of your teeth. Afterwards, continue with the inside and, finally, your molars. You should ideally brush your teeth after every meal. If not, you can brush them twice a day: in the morning and before you go to bed.
Do not forget your tongue. It has to be cleaned with your toothbrush from inside to outside. You can also use a specific cleaner for your tongue. For good oral-dental health, you should visit your dentist twice a year.
Washing your face
Our skin produces oils every day that block its pores. These can cause eruptions and acne. Which is why you need to wash your face at least twice a day.
Facial skin is more sensitive than the rest of the body’s skin. This is why we recommend you use a facial cleaner adapted to your individual skin type. Anyone with dry skin should avoid using alcohol-based cleansers. It is best to use hypo-allergenic cleansers for sensitive skin. If you use make-up, you should use a special cleanser and wash your face afterwards.
Frequently cutting your fingernails and toenails
Fingernails and toenails need to be frequently cut to prevent dirt from accumulating underneath them. That way you can protect the skin of your feet against infections and conditions.
Avoiding sharing personal-hygiene items
Do not share personal-hygiene items as they may contain bacteria. Electric shavers, brushes, tweezers, sponges, make-up, lipstick, deodorant balls or bars... It is better to have your own personal-hygiene items.
Wearing clean clothes
People who wear clean clothes always look better and feel better. Moreover, dirty clothes may contain micro-organisms and cause skin infections.
Underclothes must be changed every day. You are advised to put on clean clothes after you take a shower or bath.
Cleaning your clothes after you use them
Shirts and T-shirts are best cleaned after use. Trousers and skirts, by contrast, can be worn more before they need to be washed.
Clothes that contain vomit, fluids resulting from wounds, sweat, contaminated food or which have been in contact with animals, must be washed at 60 degrees and separately. This eliminates bacteria and the possible spread of disease.
After you wash your clothes, you need to dry them immediately. If they remain wet for too long, they may give off a dank odour and cause skin infections.
Cleaning dishes and pots after each meal
It is not advisable to leave dirty plates and cutlery in the sink for hours or your dishwasher full, after each meal. Food leftovers encourage the growth of micro-organisms that can cause infections, such as salmonella.
Kitchen sinks can accumulate more bacteria than a bathroom or toilet bowl. They can be disinfected every day with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda or bleach.
Your cleaning cloth should also be changed every week, as it accumulates a large quantity of bacteria.
Keeping your contact lenses and glasses clean
Glasses and contact lenses must be kept clean to avoid infections, such as conjunctivitis and keratitis. They need to be cleaned with specific products.
If you do not have these products, you can clean your glasses with soap and water. You must never clean them with saliva or clothing. Contact lenses must be cleaned with a special solution after use.
Avoiding walking barefoot
It is not advisable to walk barefoot at home, as large quantities of bacteria accumulate on the floor. Walking without shoes or sandals can cause infections, such as athlete’s foot. Bacteria cause peeling and itchiness in the lower part of the feet and the build up of fungus in the nails.