By Steven Park

With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many people have begun to realize the importance of good hygiene and started to enforce keeping clean at all times. 

Maintaining good personal hygiene is crucial to ensure that one’s physical and mental health stay healthy. Poor personal hygiene habits are not only unhealthy but also leaves the body far more susceptible to germs and infections. In addition, people are more likely to avoid someone with poor personal hygiene, resulting in loneliness which may escalate to a more severe situation such as depression. Mr. Poirier, ICSU’s health teacher emphasizes his concerns by saying, “Sadly most people do not value their health enough to sacrifice immediate pleasure to experience ongoing vitality. Young people may get away with some bad habits for a time but in my experience young people are far less vigorous (healthy) now than they were 40 years ago. Instead there has been a steady increase in so many preventable diseases even among the young.”

Good personal hygiene can include brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and taking showers every day. Dental hygiene is more than just having pearly, white teeth but it also includes proper brushing and removing the bacteria from your mouth. Making sure every crevasse is free of food remnants and brushing one’s tongue will also remove the white ‘gunk’ which is what causes bad breath. Other benefits include preventing cavities and gum disease. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for around 2 minutes twice a day.

Keeping your body clean is most likely the most important. Millions of sweat glands cover the human body. The breaking down of sweat by bacteria is what causes a pungent smell or body odor. Washing the skin will help prevent skin irritation and removes body odor producing bacteria and cleaning one’s hair will remove oil and keep a person looking and smelling clean. Mr. Poirier advises, “So going back to the definition of hygiene, practices are habits and good habits often require discipline. There is no quick solution for those in poor health, no “once and done” that will turn us into Captain America or Ms Marvel. The good news is good health (or hygiene) can be attained by changing or establishing habits. The habits that yield the greatest return are cheap (but not easy at least in the beginning).”

Lastly, something that has been recently heavily enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic is hand washing. Regularly washing one’s hands will help avoid the spread of highly contagious diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage people to wash their hands before, during and after preparing food, before treating a wound, after touching dirty surfaces, and after going to the bathroom, after blowing the nose, coughing, or sneezing. One should also ensure that the fingernails are properly cleaned as well. Fingernails may be the home to dirt, germs, and bacteria.