Personal hygiene: An important route to healthy living

Personal hygiene is a state of cleanliness by individual to promote and preserve health and to prevent occurrence of infectious diseases. The practice of proper personal hygiene is an important way of promoting healthy lifestyle and an effective means of reducing and preventing some diseases such as respiratory infections, trachoma, enteric infections, skin infections etc.

Good personal hygiene includes:

  • Washing of hands before and after eating
  • Washing of hands after the use of toilet
  • Washing of hands after touching animals and contaminated objects
  • Washing of clothes properly with soap and water
  • Bathing thoroughly with soap and water and keeping the fingernails short and neat
  • Brushing of teeth twice a day
  • Proper washing of dishes and utensil before and after use
  • Always covering of the mouth while coughing, sneezing and yawning
  • Keeping the sensitive genital areas of the body clean
  • Keeping your room, kitchen and environment clean
  • Keep a good sewage system in your home.

Personal hygiene is also found as an important preventive measure to the exposure of COVID-19 by frequent hand-washing for about 20seconds with soap and water (WHO, 2020). Some illness are caused due to poor personal hygienic practice, such as diarrhea, stomach ache, vomiting, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, etc. For example, food poisoning is an illness caused by the consumption of contaminated food or water during food processing, packaging or while eating. Food poisoning can be caused from the kitchen through cross contamination. Salmonella is a type of bacteria which usually cause food poisoning, it is mostly found in chicken. When a board and knife is used to cut chicken and the same board and knife is been used without washing properly to cut vegetables/ fruits that can be eaten raw without cooking, this can easily lead to food poisoning through cross contamination.

Other effects of poor hygiene are improper bathing and washing of the body and hair, which can also lead to body and head lices, scabbies, ringworms, body odour, etc. improper brushing of teeth can cause teeth issues and mouth odour and also swallowing of germs from the remains of food in the mouth after a while into the stomach and this can result to stomach pains, nauseating, vomiting, diarrhea etc. living in a bushy, untidy environment with stagnant water can accommodate mosquitoes, house-flies, and reptiles, people living in such environment are easily exposure to malaria, cholera and some other illness.

There are so many ways by which poor hygienic measure can cause harm to humans and the environment at large. Therefore, personal hygiene is very important and a proper practice of it all over the world is an effective mean of preventing illness and promoting good health and wellbeing. Awareness should be made through various means such as person-person, social media, sensitization on importance of personal hygiene in order to promote and preserve healthy life and environment.

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