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BASIC hygiene practices are basically clean living habits that contribute to good healthy outcomes. They include the things that our mothers have been tirelessly ‘propagating’ since we were little – such as washing hands, taking frequent showers and wearing clean clothes.
You might brush it off thinking that these practices are so basic that no one would need a reminder but they are highly essential in keeping diseases such as gastroenteritis (also known as infectious diarrhoea) at bay.
Additionally, a slew of studies suggest that maintaining good hygiene practices not only will bodes well for your physical health, but also your mental well-being.
“Practising good body hygiene helps you feel good about yourself, which is important for your mental health,” ‘Everyday Health’ wrote on its website, adding that people with poor habits might also face discrimination due to their disheveled hair and clothes, body odour and bad breath, for instance.
Here are some basic sanitary practices that you can incorporate into daily living and how they are important in warding off critical illnesses:
1) Have a strict hand-washing policy.
It is important for you to wash your hands with soap, especially before preparing or eating food. Why? Because more often than not, humans are oblivious to the things that are invisible to the naked eye — like lurking germs or bacteria.
While performing daily activities, these germs may get onto our hands or under the nails without us realising it. If you fail to wash your hands properly, the germs will then get onto the food and before you know it, they will travel straight into your system, thus exposing your body to illness.
When your hands are bacteria-ridden, you tend to also promote the spreading of said bacteria through handshakes, for instance. Therefore, be mindful of others by taking care of yourself first. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it literally takes no more than 20 seconds to properly wash your hands.
Associated diseases: Pinkeye, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A and jaundice.
Tips: Make it a habit to wash your hands with clean water and soap. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails before rinsing and wipe dry. If you don’t know what 20 seconds feel like, we recommend doing the deeds while humming the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice.
2) Take care of your dental hygiene
Your teeth are the first thing people see when you flash a smile, but it surely does not make for a good first impression if your ‘chompers’ are poorly maintained. Not only will you suffer from embarrassment but your personal hygiene will also be in question.
There is a reason why most adults you meet as a child would nag about dental hygiene — it is highly important. This is because brushing teeth means getting rid of all bacteria in the mouth, therefore reducing risk for gum disease or tooth decay.
But dental care is more than just about preventing dental issues. If the bacteria decided to make a home out of your mouth, it is likely for you to inhale them which can create a bigger health issue such as pneumonia. Yes, you read that right.
Associated diseases: Dementia, pneumonia, coronary artery disease, diabetes and pregnancy complications.
Tips: Dentists recommend brushing your teeth after each meal. If you can’t, try to at least do it after breakfast and immediately before going to bed. Turn this chore into a fun activity by doing it with someone else — family members or spouse and put on music in the background. Don’t forget all the hard-to-reach spots.
3) Wear only fresh, clean clothes
It might be a norm to wear an article of clothing, such as jeans, more than once before putting it in the laundry again. You figured, it was only worn for half an hour when you went to grab food, it’s not dirty so why not reuse it.
While this might seem like a sound habit, environmental-wise, your body will not like it if you do it too often. Remember how we talked about germs? The same applies here. When you put on clothes, the germs from your own body or your surrounding will stick to your clothes — whether or not they are visible to the eyes.
Therefore, it is best to stop the transmission by constantly doing your laundry. Aside from keeping your health at a 100, perks of wearing fresh, clean clothes include smelling nice which can boost your self-confidence.
Associated diseases: Dermatitis, lice infection, scabies, skin cancer.
Tips: Set a designated day for laundry — weekend works the best. Try to remove any stains immediately after getting them on your clothes, regardless of how far away your laundry day is. This will shorten the washing process.
Never take your health for granted, even if it means making little changes in your daily life. As our lifestyles get more and more demanding, the number of illnesses are on the rise too. Take extra measures by inquiring about AIA សម្រាប់ជីវិត (Samrab Chivit).
It is a life insurance solution which covers 26 conditions of critical illnesses and medical operations both in Cambodia and overseas. For further enquiries, contact AIA Client Care service at 086 999 242.
Sources: Healthline, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, World Health Organisation, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Australian Government Department of Health, Harvard Medical School, University of Puget Sound, Everyday Health.