Personal Hygiene Changes

Personal Hygiene Changes: Overview

We all have certain habits when it comes to how we look after ourselves, clean/wash ourselves, and dress.  We settle into certain routines for a variety of reasons such as comfort, convenience, cost, belief, or principles.  Unfortunately, some of these habits can be detrimental to our health.

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Examples include how we brush our teeth, the clothes we wear and the 'climate' they produce (wet and hot, cool and dry etc.), hand-washing, living in a clean or dirty environment.

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Personal Hygiene Changes:

Personal Hygiene Changes can help with the following:

Autoimmune

Oral Lichen Planus

Good oral hygiene keeps the mouth clean, reduces inflammation and helps prevent infection.

Dental

Sensitive Teeth

Depending on the diagnosis, your dentist may recommend various changes to your dental hygiene routine, such as: a softer-bristled toothbrush; a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth that can either block access to the nerve or make the nerve itself less sensitive; a fluoride rinse or gel for sensitive teeth.  A sensitivity-protection toothpaste usually takes several weeks to ease pain.  Follow the instructions of your dental professional on the regular use of sensitivity protection toothpaste to keep pain from returning.

Infections

Athletes Foot

One of the important things you can do to combat athlete's foot is to keep the feet dry at all times since the fungus needs moisture to grow.  Here are some suggestions to help prevent and treat athletes foot:

  • Wear absorbent socks, preferably cotton, and wash them in hot water with bleach
  • Keep your shoes well-ventilated, and give them ample time to dry before wearing again
  • Open-toed sandals are good to wear as they allow the feet to dry
  • Before applying any medication, wash and dry your feet, removing any loose skin to allow better penetration of the agent into the infected area
  • To avoid reinfection, wipe white vinegar or spray a disinfectant on the inside of your shoes
  • Antiperspirants may also be used, if needed, on your feet to reduce sweating
  • Dry your feet thoroughly after a shower either with a towel or even a hair dryer.
Cold Or Flu

The best way to reduce the likelihood of infection is regular hand washing, along with not touching the nose, eyes or mouth.  The flu is highly contagious disease, spreading mostly by direct person-to-person contact.  With the flu, coughing – even more than sneezing – is the most effective method of transmission.

Herpes Simplex Type I

During an outbreak, keep the infected area as clean and dry as possible.  This will help your natural healing processes.  Some doctors recommend warm showers in order to cleanse the infected area.  Afterwards, towel dry gently, or dry the area with a hair dryer on a low or cool setting.  Most creams and lotions do no good and may even irritate.

Lab Values

Low White Blood Cell Count

When your white count is low, consider additional personal hygiene measures to reduce the risk of infection.  Examples of these could include:

  • Washing your hands frequently, and reminding those who come in contact with you to do the same.
  • Keeping fingernails short and neatly trimmed, being careful not to trim cuticles or cut nails so short they bleed.
  • Avoiding persons with colds or infections.  Don't be embarrassed to wear a surgical face mask in crowded circumstances.
  • Avoiding fresh flowers, plants or fruits that can carry bacteria and fungi.
  • Inspecting for cuts and scratches which should be cleaned and have a new dressing applied at least once per day.
  • Cleaning your mouth several times each day by brushing and the regular use of an antiseptic mouthwash.

Organ Health

Blepharitis

In many cases, good eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine may control blepharitis.  This includes frequent scalp and face washing, warm soaks of the eyelids, and eyelid scrubs.  Eyelid hygiene is especially important upon awakening because debris can build up during sleep.

Parasites

Pinworm Infection

The following practices will help reduce the risk of continuous self-reinfection:

  • Bathe when you wake up to help reduce egg contamination.
  • Change and wash your underwear each day.  Frequent changing of night clothes is recommended.
  • Change underwear, night clothes and sheets after each treatment.  Because the eggs are sensitive to sunlight, open blinds or curtains in bedrooms during the day.
  • Personal hygiene should include washing hands after going to the toilet, before eating and after changing diapers.
  • Keep fingernails trimmed short.
  • Discourage nail-biting and scratching the bare anal region.

Reproductive

Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Avoid conventional antiperspirants because they prevent drainage of toxins through the sweat glands and cause them to drain into the breasts instead.  Natural deodorants don't contain parabens, which are linked to breast cancer.

Respiratory

Acute Bronchitis

One good way to avoid getting acute bronchitis is to wash your hands often to get rid of any viruses.

Skin-Hair-Nails

Body Odor

Bathe daily to remove bacteria from your skin, especially the armpits and groin area where the bacteria is most prevalent.  Scrub the armpits with a soapy washcloth as that will work better to remove the bacteria than just soap in your hands.  Deodorant soap is preferable as it helps fight bacteria more than regular soaps.  If you have a serious odor problem, soak for fifteen minutes or longer in a tub of water with three cups of tomato juice added.  (Tomato juice also works on you and your pets if you have been "skunked"!)

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Personal Hygiene Changes can help prevent the following:

Infections

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

For women, poor personal hygiene following urination or defecation can expose the vagina and urethra to bacteria from the surrounding area.  To prevent bladder infections, practice good personal hygiene by always "wiping front to back" to keep bacteria from entering and colonizing the vagina and urethra.  Wash the skin around the vagina, perineum and rectum daily.  Shower or bathe but avoid bubble baths, bath oils and scented soaps, which can act as irritants.  During menstruation, change sanitary pads every 2-3 hours and tampons every 4-5 hours.  Sanitary pads and tampons containing deodorants or perfumes can irritate the skin, allowing bacteria to enter.

Canker Sores (Aphthous Ulcers)

It may be a good idea to avoid toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate because it breaks up a protective barrier on the teeth and gums, which results in a greater frequency of ulcers.  The frequency was reduced in one study by 67%.  It is hard to find a toothpaste without it, but people with canker sores should make the effort if the problem does not resolve by other means.  Weleda pharmacy in New York manufactures such a toothpaste, and other varieties can generally be found in health food stores.

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May be useful: may help with; may help prevent
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Moderately useful: often helps with
Moderately useful:
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Very useful: is highly recommended for; usually prevents
Very useful:
is highly recommended for; usually prevents