Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases. Many people equate hygiene with ‘cleanliness,’ but hygiene is a broad term. It includes such personal habit choices as how frequently to take a shower or bath, wash hands, trim fingernails, and wash clothes. It also includes attention to keeping surfaces in the home and workplace, including bathroom facilities, clean and pathogen-free.
Motivations for personal hygiene practice
Personal hygiene: This refers to maintaining the body’s cleanliness. Personal hygiene involves those practices performed by an individual to care for one’s bodily health and wellbeing through cleanliness. Motivations for personal hygiene practice include reduction of personal illness, healing from personal illness, optimal health and sense of wellbeing, social acceptance and prevention of spread of illness to others.
Different hygiene practices
What is considered proper personal hygiene can be cultural-specific and may change over time. Practices that are generally considered proper hygiene include showering or bathing regularly, washing hands regularly and especially before handling food, washing scalp hair, keeping hair short or removing hair, wearing clean clothing, brushing teeth, cutting finger nails, besides other practices. Some practices are gender-specific, such as by a woman during her menstruation. Toiletry bags hold body hygiene and toiletry supplies.
Medical hygiene: This pertains to the hygiene practices related to the administration of medicine and medical care that prevents or minimizes the spread of disease. Medical hygiene practices include: Isolation or quarantine of infectious persons or materials to prevent spread of infection, Sterilization of instruments used in surgical procedures, Use of protective clothing and barriers, such as masks, gowns, caps, eyewear and gloves, proper bandaging and dressing of injuries, terminal cleaning, universal precautions (face shields.), safe disposal of medical waste, disinfection of reusable (i.e., linen, pads, uniforms), scrubbing up, hand washing, especially in an operating room, ethanol-based sanitizers.