The topic deals with tips to maintain personal hygiene
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Personal hygiene are the applications that people perform, to protect their health and keep their life healthy. Personal hygiene are the behaviours that must be practised in daily life, starting from morning to sleep time to protect our health. To protect health, body, hair, mouth and teeth must be cleaned regularly and clothes must be washed frequently. Personal hygiene is intimately involved with health. It is absolutely known that germs easily grow in unclean bodies and cause illnesses. The number of germs can easily increase to 17 million in just 8 hours.
The food we eat, the way we keep our body clean, physical exercises and safe sexual relationship, all these play a greater role in maintaining good health of the body. Many diseases develop due to lack of cleanliness. Parasites, worms, scabies, sores, tooth decay, diarrhoea and dysentery are caused due to lack of personal hygiene. All these diseases can be prevented by practising cleanliness.
- Germs are removed from body
- Removes bad smell of body
- Personal relaxation, decrease in muscular tension
- Increases skin health
- Better appearance
- More self confidence
Issues related to personal hygiene
According to World Health Organisation, around 1.1 billion people globally do not have access to improved water supply sources whereas 2.4 billion people do not have access to any type of improved sanitation facility. About 2 million people die every year due to diarrhoeal diseases, most of them are children less than 5 years of age. The most affected are the population in developing countries, living in extreme conditions of poverty, normally peri-urban dwellers or rural inhabitants.
Among the main problems which are responsible for this situation are: lack of priority given to the sector, lack of financial resources, lack of sustainability of water supply and sanitation services, poor hygiene behaviours, and inadequate sanitation in public places including hospitals, health centres and schools. Providing access to sufficient quantities of safe water, the provision of facilities for a sanitary disposal of excreta, and introducing sound hygiene behaviours are of capital importance to reduce the burden of disease caused by these risk factors.
Cleaning the Head
Head bath to be taken once or twice in a week with shampoo or any other cleansing agent (like shikakai).
Cleaning of Eyes, Ears and Nose
- Wash your eyes with clean water everyday.
- Wax get formed in ears and block the airway. This causes pain. Hence clean the ears once a week with cotton buds.
- Nose secretions get dried and forms a crest which block the nose. Hence clean the nose whenever needed. When children have cold and running nose, clean the nose with soft cloth.
Cleaning the Mouth
- Brush twice a day –morning, as soon as you get up from the bed and at night before going to bed. Coal powder, salt, rough tooth powder, etc., when used for brushing lead to scratches in the outer layer of the teeth.
- Wash your mouth with clean water after eating any food. This prevents food particles from settling between the teeth which produces bad smell, spoil the gums and leads to tooth decay.
- Take nutritious diet. Eat less of sweets, chocolates, ice cream and cakes.
- When you see signs of tooth decay consult a dentist immediately.
- Regular and proper brushing methods help you prevent tartar settling on the teeth. Consult a dentist for regular cleaning of your teeth.
Skin covers the whole body, protects organs and helps to maintain body temperature. Skin helps to bring out the body's dirt through sweat. In a defective skin, the sweat glands gets blocked and as a result, sores, boils and acne develop. Take bath every day using soap and clean water to keep your skin clean.
Neem can also be used as a natural alternative to cleanse the skin. One method is to rub the body with neem paste, letting it dry, and then having a bath. Another way is to soak some neem leaves in water overnight and have bath with this water. This keeps the skin clean of most harmful bacteria. A pinch of turmeric can also be added to the water to bring vibrancy to the body.
- We perform all the activities such as eating food, cleaning after passing motion, cleaning the nose, removing cow dung etc. with our hands. During these activities, many disease causing germs remain under the nails and over the skin. Washing the hands (above the wrist, in between the fingers and nails) with soap after completion of the activity and especially before cooking and eating food helps to prevent many diseases.
- Cut your nails regularly. Avoid biting nails and nose picking.
- Children play in the mud. Teach them to practice washing hands before eating.
- Avoid contact with blood, faeces, urine and vomit and body solutions.
- After passing stools and urine, wash the parts with clean water from front to back and keep the parts clean. Do not forget to wash your hands with soap. Keep the toilets, bathrooms and surroundings clean. Avoid open air defecation
Cleanliness of the reproductive organs
Both men and women are to keep their reproductive organs always clean.
- Women, during menstruation should use clean,soft cloth or sanitary napkins. Change the napkins at least twice a day.
- Women who have white discharge with bad smell or notice any infection of the reproductive tract should consult a doctor immediately.
- Use condoms for safe sex. Clean the reproductive parts before and after the sexual activity.
Practice hygiene during cooking
Practice the following hygiene tips during cooking to prevent food contamination, food poisoning and transmission of disease.
- Keep the cooking area and vessels clean.
- Avoid eating/cooking rotten or infected food material.
- Wash your hands before cooking and serving the food.
- Wash the food items such as vegetables thoroughly before use.
- Store the food items properly.
- Check the labels of food items while purchasing to know the 'Best before' date.
- Dispose the kitchen waste properly.
- Take care of wounds by dressing them using proper bandage
- Look for the expiry date while purchasing medicines
- Safe disposal of unwanted medicines
- Do not take medicines without a doctor's prescription
Source : Healthy villages - A guide for communities and community health workers, by World Health Organisation