By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
The flu and other viruses cause a lot of misery. Good hygiene will reduce your chances of getting sick and spreading the bugs to everyone you know. Many people feel isolated and anxious because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. This makes it easy to get discouraged and feel overwhelmed, but there are plenty of reasons to hope and not give up. If we work together, we can stay healthy and defeat not only this coronavirus, but also our more familiar threats like the seasonal flu.
I’m sharing five important reasons for practicing good hygiene. For more information, see our coronavirus update to help keep you informed, healthy, and safe.
People feel better when they are clean. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a hot shower after a long day of hard work. It really picks my mood right up. And smelling good actually supports good mental health.
Hygiene isn’t just about being clean, though. Other personal care rituals that help you feel good revolve around what you put in your body. Using vitamins supplements may help you stay healthy, both physically and mentally, during difficult times. And herbal tea benefits your mental health, as well as being safe for your body.
Even if you’re practicing social distancing and nobody else can smell you, you can still smell yourself. I feel much better when I’ve showered and done all of my personal care, and the scents involved really boost my mood.
If you relax in one area of hygiene, you are likely to let more of them slide. It’s a slippery slope from not showering to not brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth is extremely important. People who do not brush and floss lose on average 5 years from their lifespan. Flossing doesn’t just protect you from gingivitis and gum disease; it also protects you from heart disease. So everyone should floss, but that goes double for you if you’re in a high-risk category for heart disease.
Getting plenty of exercise is a boost to your immune system and an important part of any comprehensive hygiene program. There are a lot of ways you can hack your workout routine. Including branch chain amino acids in your protein supplement may increase muscle growth faster than regular supplements, boosting your energy level and making it easier to exercise longer.
This is a natural consequence of looking and smelling better. While everyone is practicing social distancing and saying “don’t touch me,” you might not see the value of hygiene as social currency. But when we all get back to our normal social selves, being hygienic and presentable will regain its value. Practice good hygiene now so that, when you get back out in public, people will want to be close to you.
When you practice social distancing and other good hygiene practices, people will be more likely to feel safe around you. Social distancing means physical distance, though—not social isolation. You should still socialize with your friends, but you should do so in ways that limit physical contact, like video calls or on social media. Hiking in wide-open spaces with room to spread out is one way you can continue to socialize in person with friends and still be socially responsible.
When people see you being socially responsible, they are more likely to trust you. Your career will benefit from this, too, as bosses, partners, clients, and customers will have a more favorable opinion of you.
Social distancing doesn’t have to keep you inside. In fact, the more time you can spend alone outside, the better. Non-toxic sunscreens are recommended if you plan on going outside for more than 15 minutes.
COVID-19 and the seasonal flu are viruses that you can effectively fight. Practicing proper hygiene is how to avoid getting sick and keep yourself happy and productive.
Everybody gets sick from time to time. When you practice good hygiene, you will get sick less often than if you don’t. The better your hygiene, the fewer illnesses you will have.
Poor hygiene is the number one risk factor for illness. The most important thing you can do is wash your hands to prevent disease. In many cases, proper handwashing could reduce illnesses by more than 50%. But you don’t have to scrub with soap and water every time. If your hands aren’t visibly contaminated, you can use a good hand sanitizer.
It’s a well-known truism that cleanliness is next to godliness. Regardless of your faith (or lack thereof), everyone can agree that the world is a better place when both the Earth and the people on it are clean.
Your hands are the most important. After your hands are clean, take care of the rest of your body, your clothes (Remember to wash your workout clothes after every workout.), and your high-traffic surfaces. Using body cleanse products can elevate your mood while ensuring you are clean. But don’t overdo it. There have been some reports of people using activated charcoal as a toothpaste, but it’s not safe for your teeth. Mostly it is used as the active ingredient in water filters, as an antidote to poisoning (even hangovers), and to help with cholesterol.
During times of social distancing, our regular seasonal precautions to help prevent the spread of the flu virus will also help slow the spread of COVID-19. While it is not the flu, the coronavirus presents a unique threat in that it can spread without apparent symptoms and is most likely to hurt people who are already compromised.
When you practice good hygiene, you are protecting all the people you care about who are vulnerable, like your grandparents, or a parent who has had cancer or diabetes. People who are overweight, have asthma, have heart problems, or have other conditions that make them more vulnerable to illness are especially at risk from COVID-19.
The importance of good hygiene cannot be overstated. How can you improve your personal hygiene and help your community knock down disease?