Maintaining good hygiene is not just a matter of personal cleanliness but a critical aspect of public health and safety. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has spotlighted the importance of hygiene and how it can impact our lives in countless ways. However, even beyond the pandemic, good hygiene practices have always been essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of illnesses.
According to the World Health Organization, inadequate sanitation and hygiene practices have been identified as the leading cause of mortality, contributing to over 400,000 deaths globally in 2020.
The prevalence of preventable deaths due to poor hygiene highlights the need for global prioritization of hygiene practices. Maintaining good hygiene can prevent the spread of infectious diseases, reduce water source contamination and protect against environmental pollution.
Let us explore why we must prioritize good hygiene practices to safeguard public health and promote a safer future.
- Prevents Illnesses and Diseases
Good hygiene practices are crucial in preventing the spread of both infectious and waterborne diseases. Germs and bacteria can spread through touch, but regular hand washing with soap and water or hand sanitizer can significantly reduce the risk of transmission. This is particularly important in communities with limited access to medical care where waterborne diseases can be hazardous.
This was tragically demonstrated in the case of Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina. For years, an estimated 1 million people were unknowingly exposed to toxic water, leading to numerous health problems, including cancer, congenital disabilities, and neurological disorders. This incident highlights the importance of maintaining hygiene and public health.
However, if you are a victim of Camp Lejeune’s toxic water, various financial compensation options are available to help you cover the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses.
- Increases Self-esteem and Confidence
Maintaining good hygiene practices can significantly impact self-esteem and confidence. Feeling clean and fresh can make a person feel more confident and self-assured, leading to a positive self-image.
Regular grooming, showering, brushing our teeth, and maintaining clean clothes, can help us feel good about ourselves and improve our interactions with others. When we feel clean and presentable, we are more likely to engage in social situations and form positive relationships.
On the other hand, poor hygiene practices can lead to embarrassment and shame, negatively impacting our social interactions. Moreover, neglecting personal hygiene can result in body odor, bad breath, and other unpleasant effects, further lowering self-esteem.
- Improves Mental Health
Maintaining good hygiene practices has been linked to improved mental health. The link between the two is complex, but evidence suggests that the state of one’s physical body can impact their mental well-being and vice versa.
Research has shown that good hygiene habits can help reduce stress and anxiety. Good hygiene practices can help individuals feel more in control of their lives and reduce the risk of illness or infection, which can cause worry and anxiety.
In addition, maintaining good hygiene practices can also help improve mood and overall quality of life. When individuals feel clean and fresh, they may feel more confident and optimistic.
- Contributes to Better Sleep
Good hygiene practices can improve sleep by promoting relaxation and reducing the risk of illness or infection that can disrupt sleep. For example, regularly washing sheets and bedding can help reduce allergens, dust mites, and other irritants that can interfere with breathing and cause discomfort during sleep.
In addition, good sleep hygiene practices such as bathing or showering before bed can help relax the body. This is because warm water can help relax muscles and reduce tension in the body, promoting relaxation and better sleep.
- Develops a Sense of Propriety
Good hygiene practices can help develop a sense of propriety and respect for oneself and others. When people care for their hygiene, they demonstrate self-respect and respect for others. This includes washing hands, brushing teeth, showering regularly, and wearing clean clothes.
Moreover, good hygiene practices can also improve personal and social relationships. Practicing good hygiene can create a more pleasant environment for those around them, making them more approachable and attractive to others. It can also demonstrate a level of consideration for the health and well-being of others, creating a sense of mutual respect and trust.
- Reduces Healthcare Costs
Maintaining good hygiene practices is an effective way to prevent the spread of disease and minimize the need for medical treatment. Studies have shown that proper hand hygiene can decrease healthcare-associated infections and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs annually.
Furthermore, good hygiene practices can help minimize the need for medications and doctor’s appointments. Proper hand hygiene and other preventive measures can reduce the risk of illnesses such as the flu and colds, leading to fewer sick days.
- Improves Food Safety
Adhering to proper hygiene practices when handling and preparing food is essential to prevent the transmission of foodborne diseases. Proper hand washing before and after handling food, cleaning kitchen surfaces, and storing food properly are some important practices. These measures can significantly reduce the risk of contamination from bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can cause food poisoning.
Food safety is paramount in the United States, where foodborne illness is a significant public health concern. According to the CDC, an estimated 48 million people get sick yearly from a foodborne illness; 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
Implementing good hygiene practices when handling and preparing food can prevent the spread of such illnesses and decrease the requirement for medical treatment and associated expenses.
- Enhances Environmental Health
Good hygiene practices benefit not only individuals but also the environment. Proper waste management and disposal and responsible use of cleaning products can help prevent the release of harmful substances into the atmosphere.
For example, improper disposal of hazardous waste can lead to soil and water contamination, negatively impacting the health of ecosystems and wildlife. Furthermore, using eco-friendly cleaning products and techniques can reduce the discharge of pollutants into the atmosphere and water.
It is evident that hygiene is an essential aspect of human life and must be a top priority everywhere. Maintaining good hygiene protects us from illnesses and diseases and helps us live healthier and more fulfilling lives.
As individuals, we are responsible for maintaining good hygiene practices for ourselves, our loved ones, and the community. Only by doing so can we create a safe, healthy, and sustainable environment for ourselves and future generations. Let us all take the necessary steps to prioritize hygiene and make it an integral part of our daily lives.