If you’re in the uncomfortable position of having to talk to an employee, student, or relative about the benefits of a consistent personal hygiene routine, here’s some information that might help you communicate compassionately about what they need to do.
Germs Are Everywhere: Hygiene Affects Health
It’s impossible to get through an ordinary day without encountering bacteria and viruses. Millions of them are on surfaces we have contact with every day. They can enter our bodies when we touch our noses, mouths, or eyes, or enter through broken skin. When germs sneak in this way, they can make us sick.
That’s why the benefits of a consistent personal hygiene routine are so important: staying clean can prevent illness.
Poor Personal Hygiene Affects Relationships
Middle school boys who douse themselves liberally with scented body wash, deodorants, and spray colognes are perhaps a little too obsessed with the aspects of personal hygiene that contribute to body odor. But it’s a reality that poor personal hygiene can negatively impact social and working relationships.
Some people simply are unaware that it’s their lack of personal hygiene that is causing others to avoid them. They’ll be surprised, and probably embarrassed, but ultimately grateful when you gently and privately tell them they need a bath or shower, and that they need to use a deodorant product regularly.
Unconscious Bad Habits Contribute To Poor Hygiene
Some of us engage in unconscious, and pretty disgusting, habits that impact personal hygiene. These may include nose picking, or sticking cotton swabs in the ear canal in an attempt to dig out wax. This will only push ear wax further into the ear, causing more problems. Taking good care of all the parts of the body, including the ears, properly, is what personal hygiene is all about.
Children and teenagers may benefit from a checklist of items that make up the minimum necessary personal hygiene routine. These include:
- Washing hands regularly, especially before and after eating, and after using the restroom. But also include washing hands after blowing the nose, coughing, or sneezing, before and after dealing with cuts and scrapes, after taking out the garbage, and after feeding or grooming pets.
- Taking regular baths or showers, and scrubbing all the areas of the body, especially armpits, private areas, and between the toes, where odors can fester.
- Brushing teeth twice a day, and flossing once a day, to ensure good dental health and prevent bad breath.
- Keeping nails trimmed, and cleaning under the nails to avoid unsightly black lines of dirt, and the possibility of accidentally consuming the dirt lurking there.
Senior citizens may have difficulty maintaining good personal hygiene, and need help with it to reap the benefits of a consistent personal hygiene routine. It’s a sensitive subject, because no one likes to think they’ve reached the point where they can’t take care of these basics on their own. Be respectful when offering help, and expect some resistance. Be persistent, however, because an elder’s health could be at stake.