The Importance of Good Personal Hygiene
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« on: December 05, 2014, 07:30:09 pm »

1. Hair
Dirty head hair does not actually cause many health problems; it's mostly for appearance factor that keeping hair clean is a good idea.

Greasy hair - At some points of your life - especially in teenage years and at times of hormonal change, hair can become greasy more easily. There's really only one solution to greasy hair and that is to wash it, although some people find dry shampoo or talc helps to absorb some of the grease. If you're lucky enough to have hair long enough to tie up then you can miss a wash occasionally - those with natural blonde hair will find grease shows up more than on brunettes - it has to have some draw backs!

Dandruff - If you suffer from dandruff, try the various shampoos available. If it's serious there are some medical treaments available that are not harmful to the skin - those containing zinc pyritheone or selenium sulphide are said to be the most effective.

Head lice - Head lice are highly contagious. If left unattended, the lice grow large enough that you can actually see them moving(!) and the white eggs (nits) are also sometimes visible. You may also - but not always - experience itching. The best way to avoid persistent head lice is to wash your hair, leave a conditioner in and comb through with a fine tooth comb. Do this at least once a week, then even if a couple of lice manage to find their way to your lovely locks, they will not be given the chance to lay eggs and multiply!
Read more about head and hair hygiene here

2. Teeth and Mouth
Teeth - A beautiful smile can make a person's day - but if teeth are grubby or breath is smelly, it has an entirely different result. Brush your teeth twice daily with a decent toothbrush (powered ones are best), a fluoride based toothpaste and an antibacterial mouthwash and you can't go far wrong. If you think your teeth are not white enough, try wearing different colours to make them seem brighter, avoid drinks such as tea, coffee and red wine, which are thought to stain them. If you're still convinced they're not white enough ask your dentist about treatments.

Smelly breath - Sometimes, despite good brushing a tooth will succomb to decay - if left untreated this can spread and infect your gums. Bad breath can be the sign of a gum infection. Make sure you vist your dentist regularly to keep a check on it. Halitosis (bad breath) can also be a result of dehydration or an empty stomach, so eat and drink regularly. Read more on halitosis, teeth issues and mouth infections in our oral hygiene section here.

3. Areas Prone to Odour and Fungal Infection
Unpleasant smells and fungal infections are most commonly experienced in areas of the body that are warm and not often exposed to fresh air: the feet; the genitals and some of our sweat glands.

Smelly Feet - The feet contain lots of sweat glands. If feet are confined in socks and shoes the sweat has nowhere to 'evaporate' and the skin bacteria will in effect attack to, causing that pungent'cheesy' aroma. There's a variety of reasons why some people suffer more than others see the Smelly feet article for more information.

Here are some measures you can take to minimise smelly feet:

    Wash regularly and dry thoroughly with a soft towel and an anti-bacterial foot powder or a baby talc
    Allow feet to air when feasible and wear open shoes as much as possible
    Change socks more than once a day if needed and make sure they are cotton or other breathable fabric

Athlete's foot - Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that causes itching, flaky skin and sometimes a sore, red rash. It's highly contagious and can be unsightly. There are plenty of products available to combat athlete's foot, but you should check with your pharmacist or GP if you are taking any other medicines, have certain medical conditions, or are buying for a child as some of the treatments contain steroids. Read up on athlete's foot here.

Genital Areas - Genital areas can be prone to bacterial infections and unpleasant aromas if not kept clean. Conversely though, too much cleaning with scented products or soaps can cause thrush - a bacterial infection. The best hygiene for all the genital ares is to clean once or twice a day using mild soap and water.

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