This week we celebrate national hygiene week! Personal hygiene is how you take care of your body. It includes certain habits like" brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and bathing regularly. These habits limit your chances of developing an illness.
Every day people encounter many microscopic germs, microscopic allergens, bacteria, and viruses. This year, awareness of personal hygiene is very high because of the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been wearing protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and face shields. This equipment reduces one's exposure to germs and viruses but not completely. Additionally, children under the age of 7 are not required to wear masks. Therefore, it is still crucial to continue highlighting the importance of personal hygiene, especially among children.
The basics of personal hygiene
- Washing your hands – every child is though that they need to wash their hand after using the bathroom. However, most children wash their hands, while others don't. This might be due to the lack of knowledge about the importance of hygiene. Most kids don't understand what hygiene is and why it is essential, but parents can explain why it's vital in ways that they will understand. For example, you might want to explain to them about germs and what they do, explain that the bathroom isn't clean, etc.
Washing your hands before you eat is also a great way to encourage personal hygiene and avoid exposure to allergens. Microscopic allergens sometimes only affect those with food allergies once they enter the body. Therefore, encouraging your children to wash their hands before eating is essential and may prevent an allergy attack.
- Bathing regularly – Showering or bathing with soap and shampoo regularly helps rinse away dead skin cells, bacteria, and oils that form on your skin daily. Not only is this good for your body, but it also makes you feel refreshed!
It is no surprise that kindergarten teachers prefer kids who smell good. Kids in kindergarten get more attention from their caregivers and are more pleasant to interact with. This gives them more personal interaction, which is good for their development. Therefore, it is important to make sure to clean your children regularly.
- Brushing your teeth – Taking care of your teeth is a fundamental hygienic habit. Brushing your teeth eliminates plaque that builds up, removes bacteria, and lowers the chances of developing cavities. Cavities are painful and can cause infections that may lead to problems with speaking and eating. According to the CDC, kids who have cavities miss more school and have lower grades than kids who don't have cavities. But, the good news is that cavities are preventable! So, encourage your kids to brush their teeth twice a day!
- Clean underneath your nails – as we said before, kids touch many things that contain germs (playdough, dirt, and sand). These substances can get stuck underneath your nails. In addition, kids tend to put their hands in their mouths before eating or just randomly. If their nails are not clean – they might be exposed to germs and bacteria that may lead to disease. Therefore, it is important to clean underneath your child's nails. You may also want to keep their nails on the shorter side until they can clean their nails properly.
- Sickness hygiene – sickness hygiene can help prevent others from getting sick. This includes – covering your mouth correctly (into the elbow or shoulder) when you cough and sneeze, not sharing food or drinks, and washing your hands often. During the pandemic, kids are being taught in school and by their parents how to cough correctly to prevent the spread of disease. This can significantly decrease if others catch the sickness. So, make sure to teach your child proper sickness hygiene.
While this week is generally about regular hygiene, it is very much connected to food allergies. Many airborne microscopic allergens only affect someone once it enters their body (through eating, putting your hands in your mouth, etc.) Therefore, encouraging personal hygiene can also heavily benefit those who suffer from food allergies.