Importance of Good Personal Hygiene for Health

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  • 0:00 What Is Hygiene?
  • 0:56 What Involves Good Hygiene?
  • 2:06 The Importance of Hygiene
  • 4:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Is it better to avoid taking a bath for a few weeks or not? Good personal hygiene involves many practices and is important for many reasons. This lesson goes over the details.

What Is Hygiene?

Because of recent health fads, Monica recently bragged to friends that she hasn't washed her body or hair in weeks, and that despite an initial few days of smelliness, her body has 'equalized;' she can't even smell anything anymore and her hair looks great. Monica's sensory receptors may have gotten used to her own body odor, but the same can't be said for those around her. In fact, all that odor is a potential indicator of future problems.

Putting aside the debate of whether not washing your body for x number of days is a good idea or not, we can all agree that good personal hygiene is important. What is hygiene by the way? Well, it's something Monica seems to be lacking. Hygiene is a word that refers to the science, practice, maintenance, and preservation of health and well-being through cleanliness.

What Involves Good Hygiene?

That may be a bit of a vague definition so why don't we have Monica's friend, Ashley, explain to Monica why her avoidance of water 'a la medieval stereotypes' is anything but the definition of good personal hygiene. Good personal hygiene includes:

  • Washing the body on a regular basis. Regular is a relative term but most medical practitioners agree it should be performed once a day or, at least, several times a week. Of course, if you happen to roll around in dirt every day, washing only a few times a week may not cut it.
  • Washing the hair with shampoo at the very least once a week, if not more often depending on circumstances like athletics, work, weather, and other activities.
  • Brushing the teeth at least once a day, preferably twice a day or even after each meal.
  • Always washing your hands after going to the bathroom.
  • Always washing your hands before and after preparing food.
  • Using clean clothing.
  • Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Cutting your nails or cleaning under the nails if you maintain long nails.

The Importance of Hygiene

Monica nods and says she knows all of this but says she doesn't see the point. Why bother doing all of this? She read on some blog that not washing your body and hair for weeks on end is actually good for you. It makes the hair look extra shiny with body oils, and who doesn't like that? So, what's the truth?

Ashley explains that it's important to clean one's entire body on a regular basis by taking a bath or shower because disease-causing microorganisms, like bacteria, yeast, and parasites like to grow on our skin and around the openings of our body, such as the mouth and anus. The same goes for washing the hair and scalp. Inadequate body, scalp, and hair hygiene can not only put off people with some serious BO but may irritate the skin and lead to an infection.

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