Cleanliness and self care might not be things you consider to be an issue in your every day life. However, even when we think we know all we need to, germs and bacteria can sometimes creep up on us from unexpected places. Self care through cleanliness should concern us all, but it is particularly important for those with young children, those with compromised immune systems, and those who work with any of the above, including the elderly or infirm. Basic self hygiene can also help prevent disease and illness, such as flu, from spreading and becoming epidemic.
Unexpected Household Dangers
Self care through cleanliness does not refer only to direct care of the body; it also includes cleanliness in the home. The BBC recently reported on a study carried out at Oxford University, which found that some basic household items were likely to harbour bacteria linked to disease in adults and children. They highlighted in particular the dangers of rubber ducks and bath toys, bars of soap, and even towels, whilst also highlighting the potential hazards caused by children’s bath seats and scalding hot water.
With regards to these bacteria-harbouring items, you should always try to do the following:
- Wash and dry bath toys after every use, using an antibacterial cleaner.
- Avoid bars of soap wherever possible, choosing instead a soap dispenser.
- Avoid sharing towels or placing a general use hand towel in the bathroom. Paper towels or individual towels are safer, cleaner options.
Avoiding the Spread of Bacteria and Illness
Simple, every day actions can mean the difference between you or someone close to you staying healthy or becoming unwell. The NHS provide some basic guidelines for cleanliness which can protect not only yourself but your friends ,family, colleagues, and even strangers you come into contact with during your day.
If you are a carer, it will also be your responsibility to ensure that the person you are caring for is able to keep clean and germ-free.
The basic guidelines outlined by the NHS apply to everyone. Hand washing is of particular importance when considering the spread of disease. You should thoroughly wash your hands with an antibacterial soap after every toilet visit, and after coughing, sneezing, or rubbing your face and eyes. The correct and most effective way to wash your hands is outlined on the NHS website.
Maintaining Good Personal Hygiene
In addition to the tasks already listed, the following are considred essential for the maintenance of good personal hygiene:
- Brushing your teeth after each meal to help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Otherwise, brush after breakfast and before bed.
- Wash your hands with soap before preparing and eating food.
- Keep your clothes clean and laundered.
- Dry your clothes outdoors in the sun whenever possible. The sun can actually help to kill some disease-causing bacteria.
- Trim your nails: long nails can harbour dirt and bacteria
Maintaining self care through cleanliness by following all of these guidelines not only helps in the prevention of disease, but can also help you feel good about yourself. Self-esteem and mental health are just as important as physical health.
If you feel you or someone close to you is struggling to take care of themselves or carry out basic self care activities, have a look at the guidance on the NHS Choices website.self care through cleanliness