We’ve all been told multiple times about the importance of hygiene, whether at home or at work, but how often do we give as much time and thought to the consequences of poor hygiene?
Bacteria can be harboured in any environment on earth and it is the responsibility of those in the area to maintain a high standard of cleanliness. Poor hygiene in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, as well as personal hygiene can all lead to unpleasant but entirely preventable illnesses. And honestly, who wants to be the person everyone avoids because of the pungent aroma they give off? Or the friend no-one wants to visit in case they get food poisoning again?
Although there are many bacteria which are harmless, or even beneficial, there are also many that can cause disease, such as E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria. Symptoms are varied, ranging from mild headaches or sore throats, to fever, sickness and diarrhoea. Every year thousands of adults and children are admitted to hospital because of dehydration brought on by severe food poisoning. Many of these cases are caused by a simple lack of hygiene, such as not washing hands regularly with soap and water, forgetting to clean work surfaces, or failing to keep food at the correct temperature.
The kitchen isn’t the only room where bacteria can multiply, dust mites can live in carpets as well as upholstery, duvets and pillows. The mites feed off dead human skin cells and can be found anywhere that people regularly sit or lie down. They are a leading cause of asthma and eczema and although complete eradication can be difficult, regular cleaning of fabrics and bedding at high temperatures should kill off most mites.
One of the least recognised consequences of poor hygiene is the transfer of disease between humans. One easy method to prevent disease is the act of sneezing into a tissue, throwing it away and washing your hands immediately. This can prevent the spread of colds and the flu virus and is just one way that everyone can take responsibility for their own hygiene and help themselves and others stay healthy.