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Why Hygiene is important? Explore its Types and Risks

12 January, 2021 Sanjana Patel

The multiple benefits of Living a Hygienic Life are always recommended as its helps preventing diseases and health issues. Read further for meaning, needs, types of Hygiene along with risks involved and best practices to follow.

Every individual has a different perspective and idea when it comes to hygiene and sanitation. We have been taught about maintaining standard hygiene practices, be it through parenting or in our primary education to fight off flu and diseases. Yet many fail to keep up with basic hygiene.

Hygiene is the practice of maintaining necessary protocols of cleanliness and sanitation to preserve self and society’s well-being and health, while preventing the spread of infectious diseases via viruses, bacteria, etc.

The current times have managed to highlight the dire need of Hygiene and Sanitation, given the COVID-19 scare. Washing hands regularly for minimum 20 seconds, washing our food utensils and sanitizing other shopped items to carrying sanitizers like the "beacon of hope" has become the new norm.

What does hygiene actually mean?

Hygiene in true means is not JUST about keeping our external human body clean. It means cleanliness on the inside and up-keeping of our surroundings as well. You do need to regularly bathe along with washing your hands but you also need to eat good and healthy foods with regular exercise to keep your internal body free of toxins.

Need and Importance of hygiene

  • Self-Care
  • Beneficial for Physical and Mental Self
  • Social Acceptance
  • Boosts Self-Belief and Confidence
  • Leads to Good Health
  • Prevents Disease and Sickness

Types of hygiene

1. Personal or Physical Hygiene The hygiene limited to one’s self and their daily activities is called personal or physical hygiene. It includes washing your face, mouth, hands and legs regularly, especially after coming home, bathing twice a day, brushing - not just in the morning but before bed as well, combing and shampooing your hair, appropriate dressing, cutting and filing nails (toenails as well), covering your mouth (with your elbow, preferably) while coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, using and regularly changing clean sanitary pads, tampons or menstrual cups while experiencing periods, using condoms, etc.

Along with eating nutritious, healthy and balanced meals, drinking plenty of water and practice working out.

2. Mental or Psychological Hygiene This category of Hygiene is not so common, yet important. Keeping your mind space free of negative clutter and mess is a necessity. Over-thinking, Pessimism, Stress, Anxiety, all of these and more are exactly the reasons for the existence of Mental Hygiene. It is just as important as bathing daily; one needs to cleanse off the bad vibes. The more popular term being “Mental Detox”. Reign in the Positivity and Train the Brain to Keep Clear of the Gloominess.

Full Body Detox: Benefits, Foods & Steps

3. Environmental Hygiene Environmental Hygiene is in context to one’s surroundings, which can be bifurcated into:

  • Domestic or Household Hygiene
    It includes washing of clothes, food (vegetables, fruits, etc.), utensils, chambers or rooms for daily ablutions (lavatory needs), grooming of pets, ventilation, proper lighting, garbage and waste disposal (used sanitary pads, condoms, etc.).
  • Community or Collective Hygiene
    It includes properly Maintained Sewage and Drainage System, covering open Gutters (breeding zone of mosquitoes), Controlling Water and Air Contamination, Public Toilets, In-Vicinity Dustbins and Regular Sanitation Drives.

Risks from inappropriate hygiene practices

1. Leads to Numerous Diseases

  • Common Cold
  • Strep Throat
  • Conjunctivitis aka Pink Eye
  • Stye
  • Influenza
  • Mononucleosis
  • Pharyngitis
  • Giardiasis
  • RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)
  • E. Coli
  • Cholera
  • Viral Gastroenteritis
  • HFMD (Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Rheumatic Fever
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • CMV (Cytomegalovirus)
  • Norovirus
  • Cystitis
  • Skin Allergies (Ring Worm, Tinea Cruris, Acne, etc.)
  • COVID-19 aka Coronavirus (VERY OBVIOUS)

2. Gives off a Bad Impression

3. Affects Personal and Social Life

4. Lowers Self-Confidence and Morale

Risks from excessive hygiene practices

Yes, anything excess is not good.

1. Weakens Immunity Around 70% populace of India is still presiding in Poverty, making them highly exposed to bacteria and viruses, since ages. Eventually, strengthening one's immune system was one of the main reasons for India being immune to Corona. This concept is termed as Hygiene Hypothesis where cleaner environments can tend to weaken one's immunity, leading to the slightest exposure of any bacteria to cause an infection.

2. Mental Syndrome It may include chronic anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) - If you find yourself constantly washing hands and cleaning, you could be going through or experiencing the symptoms of any of these mental disorders. It is best to seek medical and professional help.

Hygiene is the Need of the Hour and always has been. It’s been inculcated in our ancient Culture to the time where it is being spoken for as a Shield against life-threatening disease like COVID-19.

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