With the current surge of the Coronavirus pandemic, we can’t help but bring out our inner bubble boy. Tissue paper, sanitizers and detergents have become the trend. And staying indoors is a fad we must follow. The whole thing is crazy. But one thing that really struck me from the way people are behaving is that it’s almost like hygiene is something that goes in and out of style when the season calls for it.
But wait- in reality, it shouldn’t be.
We’re out here sleeping on beds of tissue paper, and bathing ourselves in alcohol to keep ourselves clean and healthy. When in fact, having good hygiene is as good a protection as a ton of hoarded face masks (and does a greater job at it too).
I get it, no-one wants to catch this dreaded virus. Here I’ve put together the best hygiene tips to keep you healthy. Just remember to continue with these tips once the crisis is over!
Personal Hygiene from Head to Toe, and All-Around
1. Shower Properly
Many of us like to shower quickly. Which is fine, but its no excuse for not cleaning ourselves properly. C’mon friends! Give a little justice to the water we’re taking for granted here.
Remember the purpose of a bath or shower is to get rid of dirt and bacteria, not just to take our minds off the day. Below are a few tips to showering better.
- Rinse off your hair down to the roots
Scrub and wash off the lather well because if not, dried up soap can cause a flaky scalp and you’ll have dandruff sprinkling from your head like fallout from a makeup pan. And no-one wants that.
In certain cases, it can also breed germs that cause excessive oiliness and bad odour. By putting a little extra effort into rinsing, and preferably with lukewarm water, you will be preventing hair damage.
- Scrub your back, behind your ears, and around your neck and jawline
These areas are pretty basic. But a 5-minute shower can quickly make us neglect them, which is actually very common.
These are areas that build up thick, condensed dirt. When left alone, you’ll be finding yourself splurging for a professional scrub down at the local spa, when it can be avoided with a simple washcloth and regular scrubbing.
- Scrub your butt cracks. Seriously.
This part of our bodies gets sweaty a lot and dirt also piles up like layers and layers of botched makeup. It won’t hurt to do some solo squatting in the bathroom to reach those harder to reach areas.
2. Brush your Mouth
There’s a reason why we have fancy teeth mops now, it’s because health practitioners recognize the whole mouth needs cleaning too, not just our teeth.
- Floss in between your teeth
- Scrape off the gunk on your tongue, front to back.
If you can handle gagging now’s a good time to test out your gag reflexes. Personally I can’t handle it (at all!) but let me know how you get on!
- Brush the sides of your cheeks
As so many commercials have pointed out, cheeks also need some intimacy from our toothbrushes. Gently brush both sides to remove unwanted odor-causing substances.
- Rinse thoroughly with water
Thoroughly is the keyword here. Do this and purify your mouth with water and mouthwash. And I mean that in all sorts of ways.
3. Clean up
It makes no sense sanitizing your body when you’re gonna dry it up with a mildew-ridden towel or sleep in a bed you haven’t washed for 2 seasons. This is especially important now, with germs flying and everyone looking for that magic hygiene trick. It could be as simple as doing an extra load of laundry!
Here are a few general rules that are pretty fundamental in hygiene:
- Wash anything that no longer smells like the last laundry session.
- Wipe any surface that looks dull from dust, and is sticky or oily to touch.
That’s it. Simple enough.
4. After Shower Habits
- Use deodorants and antiperspirants
Whether you’re prone to smelly armpits or not, deodorant has been shown to reduce bacterial activity when worn.
- Clean your ears
Ear wax oozing out of people’s ear canals is unpleasant and can cause serious ear infections.
So be sure to clean your outer ears, and the opening of the canal with a Q-tip at least once a week, and twice maximum as best recommended by health experts. Preferably after showering while the wax is still soft.
5. Weekly and monthly hygiene practices
- Trim your nails weekly
Remember not to push the nail trimmer too far into the corners to avoid any ingrown nails. The best time to cut your nails is after showering while the nails are soft so you don’t damage them while cutting.
And while we’re at it, let’s talk about those long, glamorous nail trends.
Fake or not, always keep in mind that dirt and nasty things stick easily under nails. Be sure to sanitize them regularly throughout the day and make a pious habit of washing your hands.
Dirt and bacteria build up on our sponges, brushes, and even on makeup pans after several uses. It would be ideal to wash sponges and brushes at least once a week or every other week, depending on how often they’re used. I say ideal because I know how hard it is to get to it. Honestly, I’m pretty guilty of neglecting my brushes. its a work in progress!
It’s also a good idea to swab makeup surfaces with wet wipes every now and then. Just a quick slide to remove any unwanted lingering bacteria from consistent contact with our face and brushes.
This might also come in handy after having fallen sick or having exposed our brushes to a popped spot.
7. Food for Hygiene
I’ll be a Mom on this one and reiterate that some of the best ways to stay healthy are to:
- Drink the recommended amount of water
- Take essential vitamins
- Add fruit and vegetables to your diets
When we’re healthy inside, we excrete less disgusting bacteria than when we’re not eating the right food. This promotes good hygiene and supports all of our other clean habits so our carefulness does not go to waste.
8. Mindful Socializing promotes Good Hygiene
Here are a few common ones we’re all practising recently:
- Cover your mouth when yawning and coughing, or to cough on our antecubital areas (inner elbows)
- Cover your mouth and nose when someone coughs or sneezes nearby
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes, and face when you’ve touched public surfaces
- Always disinfect your hands when you make contact with unknowing objects
These are very basic but significant tips that should be applied every day, and not just when a deadly virus is on the loose. They can help protect you from the ‘regular’ winter viruses that circulate.
I recommend tucking these golden tips somewhere in the back of your brains’ common sense area for good!
Keep Hygiene a Habit
1. Take care of your Mental Health
Sometimes, when we’re not in a state of bliss, happiness or even in the mood to be actively functional, our physical health and hygiene become affected. This is very common and normal so don’t be hard on yourself!
I’m not saying that anyone who’s going through a rough patch is not hygienic. Rather, there are people whose hygiene practices change negatively once they forget to take care of their mental health.
So love yourself a little better by simultaneously taking care of your mind and body.
2. Maintain Routine
As I wrote all of this down, I thought, ‘Wow, hygiene demands a lot of steps’ and honestly, it sounded a little overwhelming to me too. But the thing is, all this meticulousness will go to waste if we don’t make a habit out of them.
I recommend gradually get into the practice of incorporating some or even all of the guides mentioned and you’ll be thanking yourself later!
That’s it for my tips on how to stay hygienic inside and out. Let me know which is your easiest and which is your hardest to upkeep and continue once this crisis is over.
Let’s all pray this Corona nightmare is gone soon for good.
Until then stay home and stay safe!