Personal hygiene habits such as washing your hands and brushing and flossing your teeth will help keep bacteria, viruses, and illnesses at bay. And there are mental as well as physical benefits. “Practicing good body hygiene helps you feel good about yourself, which is important for your mental health” notes Donald Novey, MD, an integrative medicine physician with the Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill. People who have poor hygiene — disheveled hair and clothes, body odor, bad breath, missing teeth, and the like — often are seen as unhealthy and may face discrimination.
Personal Hygiene: Healthy Habits Include Good Grooming
If you want to minimize your risk of infection and also enhance your overall health, follow these basic personal hygiene habits:
- Bathe regularly. Wash your body and your hair often. You should clean your body and shampoo your hair at regular intervals. Your body is constantly shedding skin.
- Trim your nails. Keeping your finger and toenails trimmed and in good shape will prevent problems such as hang nails and infected nail beds. Feet that are clean and dry are less likely to contract athlete’s foot.
- Brush and floss. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal. At the very least, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Brushing minimizes the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing, too, helps maintain strong, healthy gums. To maintain a healthy smile, visit the dentist at six-month intervals for checkups and cleanings.
- Wash your hands. Washing your hands before preparing or eating food, after going to the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after handling garbage, goes a long way toward preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses. Keep a hygiene product, like an alcohol-based sanitizing gel, handy for when soap and water isn’t available.
- Sleep tight. Get plenty of rest — 8 to 10 hours a night — so that you are refreshed and are ready to take on the day every morning. Lack of sleep can leave you feeling run down and can compromise your body’s natural defenses, your immune system.
When travelling overseas, take special care if you’re not sure whether the water is safe. Suggestions include:
- Drink only bottled water.
- Don’t use tap water to clean your teeth.
- When you wash your hands, make sure they are totally dry before you touch any food.
- Don’t wash fruit or vegetables in unsafe water.
- If you have no other water source, make sure the water is boiled before you drink it by holding it at a rolling boil for one minute.
- Make sure any dishes, cups or other utensils are totally dry after they are washed.
- Date August 25, 2015
- Tags Health