Personal Hygiene: Your Gateway to Better Health


Maintaining proper hygiene is essential for preserving one’s health, and this has been a known fact since Prehistoric Times. Our early ancestors usually strove to live near a source of water, knowing the importance of it, not only for survival but for keeping one clean as well.

If we are not careful about upholding our hygiene, then we risk getting sick. By taking regular showers and making sure we are clean, we ward off the unwanted attention of bacteria and germs, that otherwise could cause us great harm.

Nowadays, hygiene is a term that encompasses everything that has to do with sanitation, the preservation of health, and the practices that help in preventing the spread of disease. With the eruption of virus epidemics every other year, hygiene has been receiving a lot of attention, especially in places where there is a large gathering of people, you will find many posters reminding people to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they sneeze, and such other advice.

Hygiene practices date far back to prehistoric times, even though we have no written record of that time, we have evidence in artifacts to help us better understand our ancestors. Besides erecting settlements near sources of water, prehistoric people also used different tools to help in personal appearance; they used tweezers made from seashells to help pluck hair, and they also used combs to brush hair and make sure nothing untoward is stuck in it.

Washing your hands helps in the removal of infectious microbes as well as dirt and other unwanted elements, and taking regular baths is important in maintaining a clean body. Many religions encourage its followers to always stay clean and to wash regularly, and warn against the dangers of not taking care of one’s personal hygiene.

Many ancient civilizations also used to have quite a strong culture of bathing, where bath houses were quite common and even provided a space for social interaction. These bath houses could not function without water, and so different systems were created in order to facilitate the delivery of water to these establishments.

Besides bath houses, drainage, and toilet structures were also important and some have been found in the Indus Valley that date back to 3000 BCE. This system was quite an advanced network of sewers that helped in getting rid of human waste.

One of the most advanced systems of toilets and sewers in the Ancient World was found in Mohenjo-Daro site, which is located in today’s Pakistan. This urban settlement was built around 2600 BCE, and had houses with lavatories outside them. The waste would go down a vertical chute into covered waste drains, which would then be washed away by water channeled through them.

Having proper toilets is the key to having proper sanitation to avoid outbreaks of diseases such as Cholera. Cholera is caused by consuming water or food that has been contaminated by waste of an infected person, and this happens when there is no proper sewage system and a lack of clean toilets.

It is unfortunate that even though human civilizations have long ago understood the importance of having clean toilets in order to lead a hygienic life, until today a large part of the human population has no access to toilets or clean water. These two are synonymous with healthy living and proper sanitation and until now six out of every ten people on Earth still do not have access to flush toilets or other adequate sanitation that protects the user and the surrounding community from harmful health effects.

This is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed and fixed in order to lower people’s susceptibility to disease that could easily be avoided. Those in charge of improving their nation’s well-being need to make it their top priority to provide their people with a healthy environment, which is key to a good life.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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