Physical Need 2- Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene relates to cleanliness and preventative practices that are designed to improve your health and reduce the likelihood of you from developing illness and/or transmitting diseases to other people. This is a pretty big subject and practices will of course vary according to culture, religion and beliefs, but in general the following are regarded as important personal hygiene practices. 


Tips for Improving Personal Hygiene


  • regular medical check-ups and health screening with your doctor or nurse.
  • seeing a health professional, such as a medical doctor, if you have unexplained symptoms or symptoms that won’t resolve with complementary / self-help approaches
  • regular bathing / showering of the body (usually every day)
  • washing your hands before eating, before preparing food, after using the toilet, prior to daily prayer (if that is asked of your religious practice), and at other appropriate times
  • using a tissue when sneezing and then placing the tissue in a bin
  • knowing about illnesses that are common to your family and taking action to prevent them
  • avoiding drugs-of-abuse and smoking
  • using soap and/or shower gel to keep your groin area, genitalia and armpits clean. Consider using aluminium free deodorants or anti-perspirant afterwards
  • achieving and maintaining your optimum weight
  • receiving appropriate immunizations
  • trimming your finger and toe nails regularly
  • getting a basic manicure and pedicure
  • using a condom or other form of protective contraception when having sex
  • getting preconception advice prior to having a baby
  • good personal grooming habits include keeping your hair clean and trimmed, trimming beards, moustaches, nasal hair and removing facial hair. These are more related to appearance and may of course not be important to you
  • knowing your cholesterol, homocysteine and blood pressure measurements
  • brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day
  • seeing a chiropodist /podiatrist once every five years or seeing them if you have a problem relating to your feet. Many chiropodists work within the NHS
  • seeing a dental hygienist every six months.


Whilst all of these are an important part of personal hygiene, it is important not to take them to extremes, the key is balance and moderation. If you are doing any of these with an element of compulsivity, for example you feel a compulsion to wash your hands or keep your teeth clean, then that may indicate obsessive- compulsive disorder or an addiction, or it may not. Either way it would be worth sharing this with a health professional.


Move to Physical Need 3 - Physical Activity

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