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Can poor hygiene kill you?

Poor hygiene is difficult to measure – as you may not realise that you aren’t taking care of yourself well enough. Proper hygiene is a form of self-care. Being clean feels great! Taking a shower or brushing your teeth can really start your day off on a good note. You will feel fresh and confident to interact with other people. 

But, sometimes, we neglect to take care of ourselves and our hygiene. 

You may have experienced some self-care neglect on the pandemic, perhaps. Most of us were left working from home, not seeing anyone for long periods of time! This shouldn’t be an excuse to neglect our hygiene as germs and bacteria can grow and spread and make us ill! 

This is poor personal hygiene! 


What are germs? 

Germs are found on our grimy hands and all over our bodies. Four major types of germs have been identified that affect human health, namely bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. These germs can invade plants, animals, and people, and sometimes they can make us sick. This is where hygiene comes in. 


If we don’t wash our hands and keep our spaces clean, these germs will most likely invade our bodies. Some eat up our nutrients and energy and produce toxins, which are proteins. These toxins act like poison in the body and can cause symptoms of common infections:


  • Fevers, 
  • sniffles, 
  • rashes, 
  • coughing, 
  • vomiting, 
  • and diarrhoea.

How are germs spread?

Most germs spread via sneezes, coughs, or even breaths, explains Kid’s Health. Germs also spread via sweat, saliva, and blood from person to person. 


How do we stop germs with hygiene? 

Soap and water. The pandemic has taught us this in abundance. Washing your hands often is the best way to beat infections and stop germs from spreading. Do it every time you cough or sneeze, eat or prepare foods, use the bathroom, touch animals and pets, play outside, and after you visit a sick relative or friend.

Body odour

Body odour is a common indication of poor personal hygiene. It leads to discomfort and can bring about an embarrassing situation. There are also other consequences. According to Fawssit, you may develop allergies, constantly itch and socially isolated. 

Sweat and bacteria from your apocrine glands produce body odour. Unwashed sweat results in more bacteria, and your body odour worsens. 

Poor personal hygiene begins with infrequent showering. Wearing dirty, smelly socks and not airing out your shoes are behaviours of poor hygiene. Take the time to wash your feet and any smelly, stained or dirty clothes. Change your underwear regularly. 

Bad breath and other oral concerns

Bad breath (or halitosis) is an effect of poor hygiene. It impacts your oral health. The bacteria on food particles tend to get stuck on our teeth. As the bacteria digests, an unpleasant odour is produced. That odour is associated with halitosis.

Tooth decay and bleeding gums are also a result of poor oral hygiene. Behaviours that lead to oral diseases include irregular brushing of the teeth and not flossing. It is important to clean your tongue while brushing your teeth. Cut down on acidic drinks and excessive smoking. 

Poor dental care is known to cause health issues like heart disease. 


The flu can be an effect of poor hygiene. Try to prevent contamination from pathogens. Stop spreading your germs to other people. 

Poor hygiene behaviour related to influenza includes not wearing a mask when feeling sick. Cover your sneezes and coughs with a cloth. You can also use your elbow. Avoid attending social gathering when you are ill and wash your hands frequently. 


Lice infestation

Body lice infestation is hazardous to your health. It is also uncomfortable. Lice are small insects. They live and lay eggs in your clothing and bedding. Lice also feed on your skin’s residue. They colonise your armpits and groin. These areas have a lot of humidity. 

Take regular baths and wear clean clothes every day. This will avoid lice infestation. Change your bedding at least once a week. Wash your clothes well. Avoid wearing dirty or smelly clothes. 

The effects of poor hygiene on your social life!

Excessive sneezing and coughing, as well as the foul odour, might lead people to avoid close contact with you. People won’t always tell you what the problem is, as it can get awkward to explain to someone that their hygiene leaves a lot to be desired. It is a difficult subject, but your personal hygiene is your responsibility. Your social life can be impacted severely. Others will see you as a source of diseases and infections.

Poor hygiene can negatively affect your presentation. Others may make wrong judgments about your abilities and performance, solely based on your appearance and health. 

Poor hygiene can also affect romantic relationships. Some people may find it difficult to engage with a person who has a bad odour or who may be sick all the time. 

Create a personal hygiene routine

Improve your personal hygiene by creating better habits and strategies. Set reminders for certain things, like showering, clipping your nails or brushing your teeth. Set a reminder on your phone. 

Hang signs in your bathroom. The signs are reminders to wash your hands after using the toilet. In the kitchen, hang a sign up to wash your hands before eating. These signs are helpful for adults and children. 

Learning a new habit takes time. Start a new habit at the beginning of each week. Prioritise that habit for a week or two. When you are comfortable in that habit, start a new one. Over time, you won’t need any reminders. Poor hygiene won’t kill you with the right amount of reminders. 

If you do find yourself battling a stubborn infection or constantly sniffling and coughing, consult your doctor! 


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