8 Personal Hygiene Tips to Stay Healthy
Thanks to our friends at Helpling for providing us with these tips aimed at keeping us healthy!
There are numerous factors that contribute to our personal hygiene. Some are obvious, like using soap and water. But washing your clothes and sleeping well are also important habits for maintaining good health.
A comprehensive personal hygiene routine can greatly improve your well-being. And it’s not as difficult or time-consuming as you may think. We created a list of eight personal hygiene tips to keep you healthy.
Wash Your Hands Multiple Times a Day
This should be an obvious one, but it’s the first one on our list for good reason. How many surfaces have you touched today? And how many other people have touched those surfaces?
Our hands are our primary tools, and we touch hundreds of things every day without a second thought. They carry all kinds of germs, and we can easily transfer those germs to other surfaces.
Let’s accept it: our hands are gross! And the best way to improve our personal hygiene is to wash our hands thoroughly and regularly.
UNICEF lists a few examples of when you need to wash your hands:
- after handling garbage
- before and after dining
- before and after handling food
- after touching animals
- after spending time in public spaces
- after blowing your nose
- after changing diapers
And those are just some of the times when you should wash your hands. Generally, if your hands come into contact with something that may have germs on it, wash your hands afterward.
Washing your hands is more than splashing around some water for a couple of seconds. Whether you’ve handled food, used the toilet, or entered someone’s home, you should always wash your hands with soap and water.
The soap is important because it captures the grease and germs on your hands. When you rinse the soap off with water, it takes the germs away with those sudsy bubbles!
After you dampen your hands a bit with water, add soap to your palm. Then lather it all over your hands, under your nails, and between your fingers. If you have any cuts or cracked skin, be sure to take extra care around those areas. Then rinse your hands with water.
A proper hand wash takes at least 20 seconds, but make it 40 to 60 seconds if you can. If you use hand sanitizer, practice the same techniques for 20 to 30 seconds.
Avoid Touching Your Face
Remember when we talked about all the germs on your hands? Chances are you’ve touched your face at least once since starting this article, and you didn’t wash your hands before you did it.
A study conducted at the University of New South Wales found that people touch their faces an average of 23 times per hour.
It’s an unconscious move. If our nose itches, we scratch it without a second thought. We rest our heads on our hands while we think or listen. We play with our hair, whether it’s on our face or on our head.
And it’s gross. Because when you touch your face after touching numerous surfaces, there’s a good chance that bacteria will get on your face and stay there.
And “touching your face” includes more than just your cheeks or forehead. As soon as your fingers enter your nostrils or your mouth, that’s a whole new level of contamination (and again, gross).
It’s a hard habit to break, but being conscious of the problem is the first step! Next time your nose itches, try scratching with the back of your arm or a handkerchief.
You can also keep your hands occupied with a stress ball, a fidget, or just by sitting on them. That way, you may decrease your unconscious tendency to touch your face.
Stop Biting Your Nails
While we all tend to touch our faces frequently, some also have the nasty habit of biting their nails.
In addition to the germs you transmit from your fingers to your mouth, nail-biting can also leave open wounds. And bacteria can fester in those small cuts, which can lead to greater health problems.
There are different types of polish you can use to condition yourself to stop biting your nails via negative association. You can also keep your hands busy with a stress ball, or keep your mouth occupied with chewing gum. But hopefully being mindful of how many germs live on your hands will help you break the habit!
Cover Your Mouth and Nose
Sneezing and coughing are great ways to distribute germs. A study at MIT showed that sneeze droplets can travel up to 27 feet (over 8 meters)!
But it can be difficult to get through your day while staying 8 meters away from everyone. Wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of those droplets, although the research has not been conclusive.
Another good personal hygiene habit is to keep disposable tissues with you. When you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with the tissue and then throw it away.
Alternatively, cough or sneeze into your elbow so that the droplets don’t spread. And avoid sneezing into your bare hands – you don’t want to add to their germ content!
Shower and Brush Your Teeth
Throughout your day, you come into contact with an infinite amount of contaminants. Most of it will end up on your clothes (more on that later), but your skin will still get dirty.
Depending on your profession, you may need to shower daily. Or, if you exercise and sweat every day, showering will help keep your skin and pores clean.
Many doctors and scientists, however, advocate for showering a few times a week instead of every day. And if you do shower daily, don’t scrub too hard because it can lead to dry, irritated skin.
But one thing is for certain: use soap. Because it doesn’t hurt to smell nice.
And speaking of smelling nice, don’t ignore your oral hygiene either! Use products with fluoride to strengthen enamel, and avoid abrasive toothpaste.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. And be sure to floss as well to clean between your teeth! If you have a particularly strong case of halitosis, consider using mouthwash, too (and make a dentist appointment).
Wash Your Clothes
Clothes do more than make us look good. They protect our bodies from bacteria and contaminants in the environment.
But as a result, they collect all kinds of filth and need to be washed! And the same goes for your bed linens and towels. Any fabric that spends time touching our bodies should be washed on a regular basis.
Most clothing items have labels with cleaning instructions. Plus, remember to wipe down and wash your washing machine and laundry hampers as well.
If you don’t have time to do your laundry, consider hiring a service to pick up, wash, fold, and deliver your clothes! You can even send them your bedding and towels, too.
Good sleep helps regulate your immune system. And when your immune system is strong, your body can fight infections. And because personal hygiene is about taking care of your body, sleep is part of that, too!
To start, create a regular sleep schedule. Experts recommend between 7 to 8 hours each night for adults.
And don’t look at your phone mindlessly for an hour before going to bed. Instead, relax your mind and body by doing something less stimulating, such as listening to calming music.
Your bedroom has a huge impact on your sleep hygiene, too. In addition to a comfortable bed and sheets, make sure your room is dark and at a cool temperature. And don’t bring your devices to bed!
Clean Your House
Personal hygiene doesn’t stop with your body. When we spend so much time at home, a clean environment contributes to our health and well-being, too!
Even though you wash your hands and clean your clothes, bacteria can still enter your home and live on surfaces. And if you handle raw meats or unwashed produce, they can leave residue behind. Studies over the past 10 years have shown that viruses can live on various surfaces between hours and days!
First, clean surfaces with a detergent, or just soap and water. Then use a disinfectant according to the instructions. And be sure to wipe down all points of contact: tables, countertops, door handles, and even light switches to name a few!
But if you don’t have time to do it all yourself, consider hiring a service like Helpling to keep your home hygienic. They’ve introduced contactless cleaning protocols that follow guidance from the Dutch government to ensure a healthy environment for everyone involved.
Personal Hygiene Is Key to Staying Healthy
Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be a chore. Your health should be an easy priority.
Helpling makes personal hygiene simple and affordable. Consider scheduling a contactless cleaning appointment to keep your home healthy for everyone!