What IS Good Hygiene, Anyway?

May 4, 2020

“Good hygiene” is recommended for making life healthier for you…and more pleasant for those around you. Let’s review:

1. Wash your hands, thoroughly, with soap and water for 20 seconds to reduce germs. Wash before you prepare, serve, or eat food. Wash after using the toilet. Wash (when possible) after you have touched public surfaces like handrails, elevator buttons, credit card touchpads, shopping carts, gas pumps, etc. If you keep your nails long, use a nail brush to clean to scrub away dirt and organisms. If you cannot use soap and water, scrub with alcohol-based hand sanitizers (at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol).

2. Brush and floss your teeth daily- Preventing bad breath and tooth decay are two reasons to take care of your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush twice daily, for two minutes. with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Replace your toothbrush every 4 months, or if the bristles are frayed. Flossing once daily helps reduce plaque and organisms that can lead to cavities and gum disease.

3. Clean your body with soap and water. A daily shower with warm water and soap will do the trick. Hot water can dry and irritate sensitive skin. If you cannot shower, use a mildly soapy wash cloth on your face and in the folds of your body: armpits, behind knees, groin. Special note to ladies: douching is not needed or recommended. It may increase your risk of vaginal infections

4. Wash your hair regularly. For some, that’s a minimum of twice a week. For others, maybe twice a month. It really depends on your ethnicity, age, hormone levels, hair type, body oils, heat/humidity factors, and activity level.

5. Keep nails short and trim them often. Shorter nails are less likely to harbor germs and less apt to break. Avoid biting or chewing your nails. Use clean nail trimmers.

6. Cover your sneeze or cough. COVID-19 has reminded us that keeping our germs to ourselves is better for everyone’s well-being. To keep from spraying your germs into the air around you, sneeze into a tissue, handkerchief, or your sleeve. If you must sneeze or cough into your hands, wash your hands afterwards to keep from spreading your germs. Everyone nearby will be glad that you did.