Since we were young, most of us have been taught all about personal hygiene habits. Everything from brushing your teeth, putting on clean clothes, taking a bath, and washing your hands before eating are taught at a very early age. These habits become a normal part of life, but it doesn’t end there.
In fact, adults continue to become more hygiene conscious as a step towards healthy and disease-free living. However, when it comes to personal hygiene, many of us are making common hygiene mistakes and don’t even realize it. No matter how clean you think you are, a few noteworthy habits might be doing more harm than good.
Here are 10 personal hygiene mistakes you need to stop making.
1. Not Covering Your Mouth When Coughing or Sneezing
It’s very important to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing in order to prevent germs from spreading everywhere. But sadly, a surprisingly high percentage of people do not follow this hygienic habit. According to a 2010 survey by the American Society for Microbiology, approximately one out of every four people observed in a public environment failed to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing. This observation was carried out in three public areas – a train station, a hospital, and a shopping mall – in Wellington, New Zealand.
Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing isn’t just good manners, but it also helps prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases. When sick, it’s best to stay at home so that your germs don’t spread to other people. However, if you must go out, cover your mouth with a handkerchief or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
2. Not Washing Your Hands after Using the Washroom
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to avoid getting yourself or others sick. However, many people skip hand washing, especially after using the restroom. Even people who do wash their hands might not be doing it properly.
A study from 2013, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, analyzed 3,749 people’s post-toilet patterns and found that 10% skipped the sink, 33% skipped the soap, and nearly everyone else didn’t lather long enough. Whether you’re using the toilet at home or in public, wash your hands with soap and water. However, it’s better not to use antibacterial soaps, as they cause the world more harm than good.
3. Not Taking Care of Your Toothbrush
When it comes to oral health, how you look after your toothbrush matters a lot. Most of us have the habit of rinsing our toothbrush after each use, but after that we put it away it’s still wet. This is a common hygiene mistake you may also be making.
A damp toothbrush is a breeding ground for bacteria, and the next time you use it, you’re putting more bacteria into your mouth, which can cause bad breath and gum disease. After rinsing your toothbrush, shake off the extra water and store it in a brush holder with a cap that allows it to dry. From time to time, place your toothbrush in the sun, allowing it to dry out.
Always replace your toothbrush every three months.
4. Using Cotton Swats to Clean Earwax
You have probably been taught since childhood to use cotton swabs to clean your ears so that there’s no build up of wax. Well, as it turns out, wax isn’t that bad for you.
The wax in your ears prevents ear infections and also prevents foreign particles such as dust and small insects from entering the ear canal. Furthermore, using a cotton swab can be harmful as it pushes the wax deeper into the ear canal and damages the ear drum. If you have a buildup of wax in your ears, get it removed by a doctor.
5. Avoiding Post-Gym Showering
Exercising is a great way to stay fit and get in shape. If you exercise at home or in the gym, you’re following a good habit. However, if you’re not showering after a workout, you’re making a big mistake. There are many benefits to a post-workout shower. Firstly, it will make your body smell nice by getting rid of sweat. Secondly, it will take care of the perspiration left behind on your skin that allows bacteria to grow, which in turn can lead to rashes and breakouts.