Hygiene for All

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Some cornerstones of both human and societal progress include a well-educated, well-nourished, decently housed, and healthy populace. When taken together, and with all other things being equal such as the prevalence of political, social, and economic stability, a general realization of these cornerstones makes for content human beings.

A lesser-emphasized but equally important cornerstone of both human and societal progress is a realization of good hygiene. What, then, is good hygiene? In its simplest form, good hygiene means to keep clean.

Good hygiene encompasses numerous spheres. These spheres include:

  1. Personal or household-level hygiene
    • Hygiene of the body
      • Bodily care (hand and bathing routines, etc.)
      • Dental care (brushing and flossing routines)
      • Hair care (washing, combing, trimming, brushing, and styling routines)
      • Drinking plenty of water
      • Healthy eating
      • Exercise routines
    • Hygiene of the mind or psyche
      • Balanced social activities and social interactions
      • Eschewing substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol, prescription medications, and illicit drugs)
      • Getting the proper amount of rest and relaxation including regular sleeping patterns
    • Hygiene of the home
      • Indoors home care (cleaning, sweeping, wiping, dusting, mopping, waxing, vacuuming, etc.)
      • Food preparation safety
      • Washing (clothing, etc.)
      • Outdoors home care (landscaping, mowing, trimming, painting, etc.)
  2. Public or government-level hygiene
    • Liquid waster or sewage management facilities
    • Water treatment facilities
    • Public health clinics for preventative care (such as vaccinations, flu shots, etc.)
    • Solid waste management facilities
    • Environmental protection programs, regulations, and laws
  3. Business or occupational-level hygiene
    • Occupational safety programs
    • Adhering to pollution-abatement and waste management best practices


When it comes to the human body, keeping clean also is synonymous with staying healthy. In turn, staying healthy is synonymous with enjoying a long life span and a high quality of life (as opposed to walking around constantly complaining about one ailment or another). There is general consensus among public health practitioners that an absence of cleanliness or good hygiene is directly and intricately linked to increased human susceptibility to infections and diseases. Preventative measures of good hygiene become paramount. For, as the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap: The Journey to Better Health and Care

When it comes to personal hygiene, schools and education play pivotal roles in emphasizing the importance of good hygienic practices. That is to say, beginning at a very early age, not only must children be taught the importance of hygiene but also they must be shown how to undertake good hygienic practices. When children learn good hygienic practices at an early age, they are less likely to abandon those practices later in life. For instance, one popular learning theme is the concept of "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle."

Watch (TRASH TALK: Where Does Marine Debris Come From?)

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Healthy Habits


When it comes to government-level hygiene, as outlined above, government plays a pivotal role in creating and maintaining a comprehensive system of public health. Admittedly, some developing countries lack both the financial resources and the technology needed to adopt and implement, say, Western-style public health systems. It seems to me that a top priority for some foreign aid monies to undeveloped countries would be to earmark or set aside monies for building a hygiene or public health infrastructure. A public health infrastructure encompasses things such as a piped sewage system, a piped water supply system, clinics to provide basic healthcare such as immunizations against diseases, and an automated system of solid waste management. Of course, it is not enough to build a public health infrastructure. Monies must be made available to maintain and sustain this infrastructure on an ongoing day-by-day and year-after-year basis. The following graphics represent roadmaps or strategies for building and maintaining a public health infrastructure in places where such an infrastructure is rudimentary at best.

The Handwashing Handbook: A guide for developing a hygiene promotion program to increase handwashing with soap

Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Programming Guidance

Watch (Introduction to Public Health)

A more sophisticated infrastructure roadmap could be outlined by using scheduling software applications such as Microsoft Project. Project-planning applications have the added advantage of allowing you set time constraints, assign resources, manage costs, and otherwise electronically or digitaly track the overall progress of an infrastructure project.


Occupational-level hygiene applies to the business sector. Some businesses voluntary enact an assortment of safety routines to enhance employee well-being, health, and safety. Other businesses only minimally adhere to occupational-safety routines as mandated by government regulations and laws. Environmental hygiene is a primary concern when it comes to certain industries such as those engaged in generating nuclear power or those engaged in extracting and processing mineral, oil, and gas natural resources, to name a couple. Environmental hygiene entails proactively protecting and maintaining the purity of Earth's air, water, soil, atmosphere, and ecosystems.

Watch (Stop Silicosis)

Watch (Silicosis: Incurable, but Preventable)

Just as human waste by-products (namely, urine and feces) are natural outcomes of eating and drinking, it should come as little surprise that waste by-products also are natural outcomes of the manufacturing and production process. When it comes to the environment, ecology, and atmosphere, there is always a trade-off between never-ending human demands to consume all kinds of products in their artificial world against a simultaneous human desire to witness a somewhat pristine natural world. Also, when it comes to business production, not all waste by-products are created equal. On the one hand, there is the relatively harmless solid waste or garbage generated by various production processes. On the other hand, there is hazardous waste materials, chemicals, pesticides, and other assorted air, water, and soil pollutants to foul the environment and harm the atmosphere. The questions become these: What is the smartest way to cope with these business waste by-products? Is recycling the answer? Is safe containment and storage the answer? Are alternative products and production processes the answer? For, it's been said that "necessity is the mother of invention."


In the final analysis, good human hygiene reduces to humans staying healthy, enjoying a long life span, and experiencing a high quality of life. It would be next to impossible for enjoy a high quality of life with clean air for breathing, clean water for drinking, healthy soil for growing, and a vibrant atmosphere to shield life on Earth from the Sun's harmful radiation. It's been said that cleanliness is akin to godliness, which can be interpreted to mean that good hygiene bodes well for human overall satisfaction with life on Earth. It's also been said that "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink," which can be interpreted to mean that good hygiene can be discussed ad nauseam, yet, will serve little purpose if most humans do not embrace or regularly practice it.

Life Skills Manual

MyPyramid: Steps to a Healthier You

Physical Activity Pyramid

Own Your Future: Buy, Build, or Repair Your Home With Help


Following is a multi-media overview of some good hygiene best practices:

1. Hygiene of the body (Personal or household-level hygiene)

Infection: Don't Pass It On 4

Infection: Don't Pass It On 1

Infection: Don't Pass It On 9

Personal Hygiene by Jan Van Der Voo and the New Zealand Ministry of Health

Watch (Live Handwashing Presentation)

Watch (Personal Hygiene: Your Cleanliness, 1953)

2. Hygiene of the mind or psyche (Personal or household-level hygiene)

Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health - 2016

Watch (Why Do We Become Addicted?)

Commonly Abused Drugs

Alex Newham | girlshealth.gov

3. Hygiene of the home (Personal or household-level hygiene)

Watch (Effortlessly Modern: The Simple Home)

An Ounce of Prevention Keeps the Germs Away

4. Public or government-level hygiene

Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2013 Fact Sheet

Main Map | Recycle City | U.S. EPA

USDA Embraces One Health Approach for Solving Problems Associated with Antimicrobial Resistance | USD

5. Business or occupational-level hygiene

Air | New South Wales (NSW) Environment Protection Authority (EPA)

6. Additional Hygiene Resources:

  1. Personal Hygiene Help
  2. Water, Sanitation & Environmentally-related Hygiene
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  5. U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  6. Natural Soap Making Class

Watch (Global Warming 101 | National Geographic)


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