Thursday, 5 November 2015

A Quick-fix Guide to boost your Hygiene Quotient

Personal hygiene is the first step to good health and grooming. While it is important to cultivate good hygiene habits right from the start, it becomes extremely crucial when you hit puberty. An onset of a crazily exciting yet turbulent time of life, puberty is all about your body going through major changes, internally and externally, due to growth triggering hormones. For instance, you may notice your skin and scalp getting oilier, hair growing in places that were smooth earlier, excessive perspiration and changing body odour. Also girls start their menstrual journey, while boys grow facial and chest hair.
These changes call for some essential alterations in your hygiene regimen. Let’s take a quick check on hygiene basics that one must follow:

Problem: Exposure of hands to infection-causing factors such as nose-blowing, coughing and sneezing, handling pets or pet food, touching a sick person, using the washroom, to name a few.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with hand soap and water after your hands have come in contact with the above factors. It prevents spreading of bacteria and other germs. However, when soap and water is not accessible, use hand sanitizers. Always carry a small hand sanitizer bottle with you when you are out of home. Many schools and colleges do not provide a hand wash or soap in their washrooms. Having your own hand sanitizer pack will ensure that your hands are always clean.
  • Make sure that you wash your hands every time before you touch food. After all, you don’t want to introduce germs into your healthy tiffin.
  • Whether you are using soap and water or a hand sanitizer, be sure to lather behind your hand, between your fingers and under your nails, for at least 20 seconds. Rinse thoroughly under running water if using soap and water. If using a sanitizer, let it dry on its own.
Problem: While long nails look pretty, they easily collect dirt and food particles.

Easy Fix:
  • Wash your hands and feet thoroughly with a mild hand wash and water with special attention to the underside of your nails.
  • Preferably keep your nails short.
  • A quick, once-a-month home manicure or pedicure will help them stay clean and also keep your hands and feet soft to touch.
Problem: Oily scalp and hair, dandruff, and head lice

Easy fix:
  • Excess oil secretion on the scalp can be controlled by washing your hair daily or on alternate days with a shampoo formulated specially for oily hair. But remember to use a mild shampoo, because you don’t want to entirely strip the hair of oil and turn it dry and lifeless.
  • And if you have a dandruff problem, use a shampoo designed for dandruff control. For persistent problem, consult your family physician or a dermatologist.
  • Head lice and nits can be dealt with specially formulated shampoos and products, recommended by a doctor or a trichologist.
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly post shampooing and follow up with a mild conditioner if required.
Problem: Excessive perspiration, strong body odour, dirty nails and body hair
Overactive sweat glands in your body secrete chemicals into your sweat that give it a typical and strong odour. Areas that remain covered, such as the armpits, behind the knees and groin, stink more.

Easy Fix:
  • Bathe daily using a mild soap and warm water and dry thoroughly with a clean towel to remove dead skin cells.
  • If you perspire excessively, wear clean clothes, underwear and socks, made from cotton or any other naturally sweat-nicking material, for a clean feel.
  • To combat excessive body odour, use an antibacterial and antiperspirant deodorant. Or wear your favourite perfume.
  • A special note: The groin region needs particular attention, as it is prone to all kinds of infections. To prevent foul odour, dryness, itching and burning sensation, wash the area thoroughly with a mild soap after each visit to the washroom. Keeping the pubic hair short and clean is also crucial to your personal hygiene. Dry thoroughly with a clean cotton napkin.
  • Boys and girls may use disposable razors for removing body hair. However, if you are using the non-disposable variety, make sure to rinse it thoroughly under hot water using high pressure to dislodge clogged hair from between the blades.
  • Dry the blades thoroughly using a clean towel or a hair dryer to prevent the blades from rusting and nicking your skin.
  • Another effective way to clean a razor is with an alcohol swab.
  • And finally, know when it is time to replace the blades or the razor.
Problem: Irritation, itching, redness and bad odour

Easy Fix:
  • Wear clean underwear at all times. Wear a good and soft quality sanitary pad that is gentle on the skin. Go for a high absorbency pad with gel crystals and stretchable side wings to prevent staining and leakage. Different sized pads are available for day and night use, as well as for light and heavy flow, so choose accordingly.
  • Change your wet napkin after every 6 to 8 hours to prevent infection and bad odour.
  • On normal days, girls can wear panty liners to absorb body fluids.
  • Wash the pubic area and your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitizer after each visit to the washroom.
Problem: Decay, cavity and bad breath

Easy Fix:
  • Brush twice a day with a soft brush and good quality toothpaste.
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water each time after you eat or drink anything.
  • Floss to dislodge food particles stuck between your teeth.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash for a clean and fresh feel.
    Remember there is no substitute or short cut for personal hygiene. Good hygiene practices observed during your teen years will stand you in good stead throughout your life. These will not only help prevent infections, but will also boost your self-esteem immensely while contributing to an overall happy, healthy and well-groomed personality.

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