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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR PATIENT GOES HOME?

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Apr.26.2021
 Personal Hygiene

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene means keeping your body clean. Practicing good personal hygiene helps to keep infection and illness away. It also helps you avoid spreading infection and illness to other people.

Supplies needed:

  • Clean water, shampoo, soap, and an air dryer or a clean, dry towel.
  • Alcohol-based wipe, spray, or hand gel (hand sanitizer), if soap is not available.
  • Nail clippers.
  • Foot powders and a scrub brush for nails, if needed.
  • A comb or a brush.
  • A toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss.
  • A mouth rinse (oral rinse), if needed.

How to wash your hands

Germs get on your hands from the things that you touch throughout the day. Washing your hands properly and often is a good way to prevent these germs from making you sick and spreading sickness to others.

When to wash your hands

You should wash your hands whenever you think they are dirty. You should also wash your hands:
  • Before and after preparing food, and before and after eating.
  • Before and after caring for a wound on your skin, and before touching any part of your face.
  • Before and after visiting or caring for someone who is sick.
  • Before and after changing a diaper.
  • After using the bathroom, and after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose.
  • After touching an animal, and after working or playing outside.
  • After touching garbage or something dirty.

How to wash your hands properly

If running water is available:
  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water. Turn off the water or move your hands out of the running water.
  2. Apply liquid soap or bar soap to your hands.
  3. Rub your hands together quickly to create lather.
  4. Keep rubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Thoroughly scrub all parts of your hands, including the backs of your hands, under your fingernails, and between your fingers.
  5. Rinse your hands with clean, running water until all the soap is gone.
  6. Dry your hands using an air dryer or a clean paper or cloth towel, or let your hands air-dry. Do not use your clothing or a soiled towel to dry your hands.
If you are in a public restroom, use a paper towel to:
  • Turn off the water faucet.
  • Open the bathroom door.
If soap and clean running water are not available, use hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Rub it all over the surfaces of your hands and wrists. Rub until dry.

How to bathe yourself properly

Bathing helps to prevent infections, body lice, and other problems from developing. Follow these bathing tips:
  • Shower or bathe often.
  • Take a shower or a bath after exercise or vigorous activity that causes you to sweat.
  • Use a soapy washcloth to clean all areas of your body, including skin folds. Start the cleaning at your head and face area, and then continue to your arms, chest, abdomen, back, legs, genitals, and buttocks.
  • When cleaning the genital area, wash from front to back. For males, this means starting at the tip of the penis. For females, this means starting at the labia. These are folds of skin around the vagina.
  • Rinse off all of the soap.
  • Dry yourself with a clean towel.

How to care for your fingernails

Keeping your fingernails clean and trimmed can prevent infection and fungal outbreaks. Follow these fingernail care tips:
  • Keep your nails trimmed with nail clippers.
  • Loosen dirt from under your nails with nail clippers or a scrub brush.
  • Do not bite your fingernails.

How to care for your feet

Keeping your feet clean and your toenails trimmed can help you avoid infection, irritation, and fungal outbreaks. Follow these foot care tips:
  • Wash your feet with soap and water every day, if possible.
  • Wash your feet after activity and sweating.
  • Dry your feet after you wash them. Make sure you dry the areas between your toes.
  • Trim your toenails straight across. Do not trim them too short because this can lead to ingrown toenails.
  • Keep your footwear clean and fresh. Wash your sneakers and clean the insides of your shoes regularly.
  • Consider using foot powders to reduce moisture in your shoes. This can help prevent the growth of fungus and other germs.
  • Always wear shoes or flip-flops in public showers, pool areas, locker rooms, and training facilities.

How to care for your teeth and gums

Brushing and flossing your teeth and rinsing your mouth can help wash away bacteria that can lead to infection. Follow these oral care tips:
  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes at least 2 times a day.
  • Floss your teeth at least 1 time each day.
  • Brush your tongue daily. A tongue brush is often on the backside of a toothbrush.
  • Use an oral rinse as told by your dentist.

How to care for your hair

Caring for your hair can prevent head lice. Head lice are tiny insects that feed on the scalp and cause itching and irritation. Follow these hair care tips:
  • Shampoo your hair regularly.
  • Brush your hair every day. Start at your scalp and continue to the ends of your hair.
  • Use only your own comb or brush.
  • Pull out the loose hair from your combs and brushes.
  • Clean and disinfect your hair tools regularly.
  • Avoid head-to-head contact with other people.
  • Avoid sharing:
    • Hair styling tools.
    • Hair accessories, such as barrettes and headbands.
    • Headphones.
    • Hats, scarves, and earmuffs.

General tips

Follow these tips about caring for your personal items:
  • Never share personal hygiene items, such as towels, razors, deodorant, or toothbrushes.
  • Throw away disposable razors after a few uses.
  • Make sure that you use only your own personal items in public facilities such as showers, locker rooms, and pools.

Summary

  • Practicing good personal hygiene helps keep infection and illness away.
  • Good personal hygiene also helps you avoid spreading illness to other people.
  • Bathing, hand-washing, mouth (oral) care, and foot care are all part of a good personal hygiene program.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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