One of the most effective ways we have to protect ourselves and others from illness is good personal hygiene. This means washing your hands, especially, but also your body. It means being careful not to cough or sneeze on others, cleaning things that you touch if you are unwell, putting items such as tissues (that may have germs) into a bin, and using protection (like gloves or condoms) when you might be at risk of catching an infection. Personal hygiene, such as bathing, is very much dependent on the culture in which you live. In some cultures, it is expected that you will wash your body at least every day and use deodorants to stop body smells. Other cultures have different expectations.
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.
A daily shower is a must whether you feel grungy or not. A regular bath (every morning and after all athletic activities) helps in keeping you clean, fresh and odour free. Cleaning your body is also important to ensure your skin rejuvenates itself, as the scrubbing of your arms, legs, and torso will slough off dead, dry skin and help your skin stay healthy and refreshed, and will prevent acne, blemishes and other skin eruptions. Also, do not share your towel and wash them on a regular basis.
Keep your underarms and groin area clean and dry to discourage bacteria. Change out of sweaty clothes as soon as possible after exercising or perspiring. Trim or shave your underarm and pubic hair so there is less surface area allowing for the accumulation of sweat and bacteria. Cut back on alcohol and foods that may contribute to body odour, including curry, spicy food, onion, and garlic.
Clean your ears
Clean your ears with your fingers while having a bath. The daily cleaning of all hearing devices is essential to remove germs that can be introduced into the ear. Earrings should be kept clean, and should be removed daily so the piercing can be attended to. The use of hair products can build-up on the ear and should be washed off when possible to avoid irritation to the skin of the ear.
Personal hygiene for women
The vagina is able to clean itself, no special care is needed other than washing the external genitals. Do not put anything like douches into the vagina, as the delicate skin can be damaged. Here are some personal hygiene suggestions for women:
Menstruation – wash your body, including your genital area, in the same way as you always do. Change tampons and sanitary napkins regularly, at least four to five times a day. Always wash your hands before and after handling a tampon or pad.
Cystitis – is an infection of the bladder. This is a common condition for sexually active young women. Urinating after sexual intercourse can help to flush out any bacteria that may be in the urethra and bladder.
Thrush – some soaps and detergents can irritate the skin of the vagina, and make thrush infections more likely. Some people find that they often get thrush when they use antibiotics. Use mild soap and un-perfumed toilet paper. Avoid tight, synthetic underwear. Try cotton underwear, and change regularly. There is medical treatment for thrush, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Personal hygiene for men
A build-up of secretions called smegma can form under the foreskin of uncircumcised men. If you are uncircumcised, gently pull back the foreskin when you have a shower and clean with water. You can use soap if you like, but make sure you rinse it off well.
Trim your nails
Keeping your finger and toenails trimmed and in good shape will prevent problems such as hang nails (when a loose strip of dead skin hangs from the edge of a fingernail) and infected nail beds.
If possible, trim them weekly and brush them daily with soap so that no dirt or residue remains beneath the nail.
Fingernails should be trimmed straight across and slightly rounded at the top, whereas toenails should be trimmed straight across.
The best time to cut your nails is after bathing when they are soft and easy to trim.
It’s also a good idea to moisturize nails and cuticles regularly.
By: Umaru Maryam Hadejia