Why Personal Hygiene?
Carmtelita Paras (The Freeman) - August 19, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — In days when it’s either searing hot or pouring rain, it’s rather hard to always be in neat shape. The hot sunny days cause profuse sweating. And the rains often get people drenched and wading in floodwaters.

The inconvenience and discomfort that the unpredictable weather brings tend to compromise people’s concern for good personal hygiene. And most people consider personal hygiene as simply keeping up a presentable appearance. But, in fact, good personal hygiene is a lot more than looking neat.

Personal hygiene includes everyday habits which are helpful in maintaining body cleanliness. It includes regular brushing, bathing, shampooing the hair, hand washing, applying deodorant, and wearing clean clothes. These practices have certain consequences – in terms of one’s health, social life and career.

The website www.glamcheck.com enumerates possible ugly consequences of the lack of proper personal hygiene:

Body odor. Body odor is one of the most common results of poor hygiene. The main cause of body odor is the interaction of sweat and bacteria created by the apocrine glands. Unwashed sweat makes the thriving bacteria and the byproducts cause the smell which is commonly referred as body odor. Additionally, body odor may also be a result of improper bathroom habits.

Bad breath. Another noticeable result of improper hygiene is bad breath. The basic cause of developing bad breath is being irregular with brushing and flossing of teeth. Bad breath is an outcome of two factors. Primarily, bacteria feed on food that sticks to the teeth. When bacteria digest this food, the result is mouth odor. Additionally, the food also gets stuck into the teeth and gets rotten over time, thus producing a foul smell.

Dental diseases. Besides causing bad breath, improper dental hygiene also leads to certain dental diseases. If the food particles as well as bacteria are allowed to sit on the teeth, it leads to the formation of plaque. The bacteria existing in the plaque releases acids which are responsible for breaking down the teeth enamel, and can lead to gum diseases as well.

General illness. Lack of hygiene practices – especially regular hand washing – can lead to diseases. The hands are in continuous contact with the face as well as the environment, thus providing for easy transfer of germs from an infected surface or person to the mouth or nose. Washing the hands with soap and water is helpful in reducing the bacteria thriving on the skin, and reducing the possibilities of infectious diseases like salmonellosis, common cold, influenza, typhoid, hepatitis A, staph infection, and streptococcus.

Urinary tract infection. Generally, infections in urinary tract are a result of bacteria called Escherichia coli which resides usually in the intestines. If, in any case, these bacteria reach the urethra, it may move towards the kidneys and bladder thus leading to fever, pain, and problematic urination. To lessen the chances of getting infected, it is therefore necessary to observe proper hygiene habits, like washing hands with water and soap after every use of the toilet.

Boils. Boils are skin infections caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, which resides on the skin. Lack of proper skin hygiene may lead to accumulation of the bacteria, allowing it to penetrate through the skin via a hair follicle or any small puncture or cut. The bacteria can lead to serious problems like pus-filled abscesses. The best way to avoid the occurrence of these bacteria is taking frequent and regular showers.

Ringworm. It is an infection resulting from mold-like fungi which cause infection to the skin layers. It is an itchy and scaly rash which appears like a ring with the middle being clear. Ringworm spreads through contact with an infected surface, person, or animal. The disease can be prevented by thorough hand washing after playing with pets or working in the garden. It is also good to take a shower after indulging in contact activities.

Body lice. Body lice are tiny insects which thrive and produce eggs in clothing and bedding. These insects continuously crawl on the skin to feed themselves of blood. Generally, these insects bite in areas like armpits, groin, and waist. Regularly taking a bath and wearing fresh clothes can help avoid body lice.

Lack of proper personal hygiene can also lead to social isolation. People normally wouldn’t want to be around someone who is dirty. A person who doesn’t care about cleanliness may find himself ostracized by family, friends, and the society in general.

A repulsive body smell, tooth decay, and a dirty body and unclean clothes may adversely affect one’s chances of finding a date, making friends, or finding a new job. These can also lead to depression, as one finds himself isolated and alone. A person who is being avoided by others will eventually not feel good about himself.

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