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Personal Hygiene

CONTENTS

Benefits

Issues related to personal hygiene

Cleaning the Head

Cleaning of Eyes, Ears and Nose

Cleaning the Mouth

Skin Care

Washing Hands

Cleanliness of the reproductive organs

Practice hygiene during cooking

Medical 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.

Benefits

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 Care

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.

Washing Hands

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.

Medical hygiene

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