How Well Do You Manage Your Personal Hygiene?

Do you consider yourself to be a “clean” individual? What are the factors that make you come down to such a conclusion? Is it because you shower every night and brush your teeth every morning? Or because you keep your room tidy and free of food crumbs? Many people think that completing their daily routines such as brushing their teeth in the morning and evening, taking a shower every day or keeping their room tidy is enough to constitute good hygiene. However, studies and articles have shown that this is often not comprehensive or simply the bare minimum of what should be done. Although often underemphasized for its importance, maintaining good personal hygiene is important not only for our own personal health, but also for those around us.

Hygiene covers a vast set of categories. Some of these include toilet hygiene, shower hygiene, nail hygiene, teeth hygiene, sickness hygiene, hands hygiene and travelling hygiene. Often, these are all areas that people have heard of or know of, but because of people’s varying ideas of hygiene, it isn’t often that a single individual may take care of each of these areas 100 percent. For instance, most people are aware of the importance of washing their hands, whether it’s before eating food, after handling animals, after they’ve sneezed, or after they’ve touched dirty surfaces; however, it is also often the case that after washing their hands, people don’t completely let their hands dry before handling food, and this is especially the case either with automatic hand dryers or in situations where public bathrooms are out of paper towels. As small of a problem this may seem, the University of Bradford conducted a study regarding the importance of drying one’s hands properly and stated that the proper way to drying hands is just as important as washing them. Researchers stated that “people tend to use a rubbing motion” to dry their hands faster, but this “actually makes bacteria previously embedded in the skin come to the surface,” resulting in the transfer of more bacteria to other surfaces that are later touched – such as our foods. Bacteria that get into our bodies then become potential health risks. 

Drying one’s hands properly isn’t the only practice that is often overlooked, as an article from Bustle also points out other hygiene points that people often forget about. These of which include washing behind one’s ears when he or she showers, brushing one’s tongue when brushing teeth, and washing bed sheets on a regular basis. The ear area is prone to collecting dirt and the same is true for bed sheets. However, washing bed sheets is especially important when we’re sick due to the increased risk of passing on disease to those who live around us.

But when does it become extremely apparent that we’re not keeping up with hygiene standards? One of the first signs is body odor. Body odor seems to come more strongly from some individuals than others, and this can be interpreted as differences between people’s constitutions, but according to Healthfully, body odors occur from the “interaction of bacteria and sweat produced by the apocrine glands.” The moist environment created by sweat serves as a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, and over time the byproducts created from bacteria are what lead to the smell we associate with body odor. The same is true for bad breath. The American Dental Association states that not keeping our teeth clean results in food particles remaining trapped in our teeth, which bacteria can thrive on and produce byproducts with foul odors. The ultimate consequences of these being diseases such as scabies, ringworms, diarrhea, and dental diseases such as gingivitis.

Most of us may meet a portion of the criteria required of us to maintain healthy hygiene but overlook the minor details. However, in order to minimize the risk of disease and thus the health of ourselves and our peers, it may be beneficial to start practicing even more healthy hygiene habits if we haven’t already put them into action.


Sherry Chow