Our own personal hygiene, and that of our children, is something that we all have to take responsibility for. It’s a phrase banded about more than ever, but what is personal hygiene exactly? And why is personal hygiene important?
In terms of a personal hygiene definition, it refers to upholding the cleanliness of the body and clothing in order to maintain health and wellbeing. Put simply, we should care for our bodies by ensuring that we bathe daily, brush our teeth daily and practice good hand hygiene, leaving us body hygienic.
By having good personal hygiene, you can help to prevent yourself and those around you from becoming ill as easily, as we reduce the spread of dirt and germs. It also means that we will probably feel better about ourselves, as we feel more positive and confident about the way we look, resulting in better mental health.
Personal hygiene falls into many important areas of our lives, so let us first consider personal hygiene in the kitchen. It is so important to maintain high standards of personal hygiene in areas where food preparation takes place, in order to reduce the risk of cross contamination and spreading bacteria, which may lead to food poisoning (in this case you should seek medical advice.) When handling food, it is vital that hair is tied back, that no watches or jewellery are worn, that no touching of the hair or face takes place and that there is no smoking, spitting, sneezing, eating or chewing gum. Washing your hands thoroughly is another essential element, using soap and water, followed by an alcohol based hand gel.
Steps to good hand hygiene:
1. Wet hands under warm running water and add soap
8. Turn tap off with same towel and then throw away
If you are running a professional kitchen, then we suggest running daily checks to make sure that your team are not displaying poor personal hygiene. You may want to use the below ‘do’ actions as a checklist.
· Do keep fingernails short and clean (no nail varnish should be worn)
· Do tie long hair up (hair and beards should be kept neat and tidy)
· Do wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and water
· Do work on a clean, sanitised surface (make sure that any cleaning and hygiene products are food safe).
· Do use different plastic knives and chopping boards for cooked food and raw food
Moving on, let us consider personal hygiene in the bathroom. We’ll focus on one of the most common causes of infectious diseases, the toilet. With researchers finding that germs can rise up to 10 inches above the toilet seat, we advise the seat should be shut prior to flushing, in order to prevent bacteria from reaching surfaces.
The toilet seat and basin should also be cleaned regularly, using an appropriate bathroom surface cleaner and toilet cleaner. Good hand hygiene, including drying hands, is as equally important here as in the kitchen, so make sure that the good hand hygiene steps listed above are used properly in both settings.
Ensuring good personal hygiene for kids is so important, as we want these practices to become second nature to them. It is therefore helpful to teach your kids some basic hygiene for children principles from a young age. Bath times can be one of the most fun, magical times with our children, and by about the age of 5, we would hope that our children are fairly confident with how and where to wash.
During bath times, take the opportunity to teach them about the importance of washing our body parts, linking it to the idea that we wash to avoid body odour. In particular, focus on: armpits, groins, neck, belly, knees, elbows, back and feet. You may want to use a soft, clean cloth with soap in order to make it a comfortable and pleasant experience for your child. Such cloths can also help with the removal of dead skin cells.
If we now look at oral hygiene, we need our children to understand that brushing teeth regularly and effectively will help to prevent tooth decay and gum diseases. Help your children to understand that brushing your teeth is part of morning and evening routine by getting them to do this at set am and pm times. This will help them to associate teeth brushing with a set time of day so that they can build it into their personal hygiene routine. You could even play their favourite song for 2 minutes each time to get them familiar with how long they should spend brushing.
Hair care is another vital element, especially considering that children are busy and active individuals. Children’s hair should be washed at least 2-3 times per week, and always after sports. Demonstrate to your child that you should detangle before you wash your hair, allowing them to have a go should they be old enough. Next comes the shampooing, where children up to 3 years old should use a baby shampoo. Show your child how their hair should be fully wet before then applying a coin-sized amount of shampoo, working it into a lather. Children often like foam and bubbles, so have fun with this part and let them have a go at massaging it into their scalp. Rinse the shampoo thoroughly, and if desired, add conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of the hair. Rinse this, and then towel dry the hair.
Finally, set a good example and ensure that your household always has the essential personal hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush and deodorant – key components of good physical and mental health. There is lots more to discover online about personal hygiene, should you require additional information.