Hygiene is health. This post is about physical health and care for that. In another post I will go into the depths of mental hygiene. In Germany one uses the term “Psychohygiene” which means: Mental Health.
Hygiene is a health-discipline all humans should start learning from the very first beginning of their life. Often washing hands, and awareness of bacteria, are mostly considered as mysophobia, which is a pathological fear of contamination and germs. To avoid to be stigmatized as a nerd one does not want to wash hands so often. Is that clever? No.
“Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases. (W.H.O.)
How do we wash and dry our hands as it should?
A lot of people really believe they wash their hands by keeping them some short seconds under the running water tap. To dry them then with a too often used towel. Water does not kill bacteria. An often used towel is a greenhouse for bacteria. Even the towel needs to be washed in at least 60 degrees Celsius in the washing machine. In a lower temperature the bacteria survive and create even a bad smell in the towel that is “washed”.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
When should we wash our hands?
Here is a list, with some advices
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Be super alert when preparing meat: before, during, and after
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- Before and after offering medicine (tablets, capsules) to somebody
- At least after taking medicine, tablets, yourself
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
And did you think about cleaning the sources of infection?
It is meaningless to wash hands as it should and to go on using the only-seeming-to-be-clean keyboard of your computer, the screen of your mobile or smartphone, without cleaning it frequently. How? A very well wrung kitchen cloth, that has been stirred in medium warm water with kitchen cleaner, is easy to be used for this. You can finish the cleaning with a clean dry cloth or towel. Do the same with door handles, the handle of the refrigerator, buttons for light, guardrails, steering wheel of the car, keys, remote control, the mouse of the computer, etc. etc.
What if you don’t have soap and clean running water?
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals.
Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
How do you use hand sanitizers?
- Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
All essential oils are disinfectants. Of course one cannot use them in all cases with dirty hands, but when one is on a journey, for instance, being forced to touch door handles, guard rails, steering wheels, buttons of elevators, etc. it is nice to have a bottle with essential oil in the hand bag. The wonderful smell also cleans the air, and creates a harmonious atmosphere. I always take lavender with me. It is even helpful when being forced to sit next to a person, in buses, trains, airplanes, trams, who smells bad because of sweat, a for a while unwashed body, or the smell of a cigarette. Sweat, the smell of an unwashed person, is in even the clothes they wear. Bad body-smells are a sign that bacteria are having a good time in a body-greenhouse. The strong smell of unwashed bodies, cigarettes or cigars is in all they wear, and even when not smoking they still smell. They are so used to it they do not smell it themselves. One of the side effects of smoking is one loses the sense for smelling. Why should we, who do not smoke and wash our bodies, be forced to be in their negative, unhealthy environment?
Just using two drips of essential oil on the hand palms and rubbing in the hands with it is enough. The aroma of the essential oil spreads around very quickly. When this does not help however, feel free to search for another place to sit. What to do however against the strong artificial smells of deodorants, after shaves, perfumes, etc.? Lavender cannot help you. Only another place. If available.
Hygiene advice for those who are going to stay in nature, wilderness
Even natural smells, aromas, like for instance lavender, can disturb the natural environment of animals, if the lavender does not belong in that specific biotope. Be aware of the smell of shampoo, shower gel, soap, after shave, and the best is to chose a neutral smell, without perfume. This counts even for the clothes you will wear: normal washing powder and fabric softener are perfumed. Some people use even an overload of powder, liquid and softener, with the result their clothes start smelling too strong in the “like” and is for being in nature as bad as the smells that we “dislike”. Animals should not be disturbed because of some humans. Some? In the meantime too many people are in nature, wilderness, behaving as if they are the kings of life. They should know they are visiting an area that does not belong to them. Animals do not belong in our house, and we, humans, visit the house of animals, so be aware of your presence and behave like a decent guest.
The daily hygiene-rules in nature are different from the hygiene-rules in places where humans live together. There are no toilets in nature, no bathrooms, no water and sanitation facilities. Be aware your toothpaste and soap must be so natural the clean fresh natural source-water there does not get polluted because of your lack of interest in searching for the right products. Also: not all water which seems to be clean IS clean. Search for it on internet. Also how to create a natural toilet, for yourself, in an easy way, fitting within the rules of wilderness. Here you can find helpful information.
- Centers of Disease Control and Prevention: Handwashing: clean hands save lives
- Centers of Disease Control and Prevention: When & How to wash your hands
- How to wash your hands like a doctor
- Wiki: Hygiene
- Multerland: Hygiene in wilderness