HYGIENE is a set of practices performed for the preservation of
health . According to the World
Health Organization (WHO), "Hygiene
refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and
prevent the spread of diseases."
Whereas in popular culture and parlance it can often mean mere
'cleanliness', hygiene goes much beyond that to include all
circumstances and practices, lifestyle issues, premises and
commodities that engender a safe and healthy environment, especially
in modern medicine . Some regular hygienic practices may be considered
good habits by a society, while the neglect of hygiene can be
considered disgusting, disrespectful or even threatening.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Background
* 3 Medical hygiene
* 4 Home and everyday life hygiene
* 4.2 Respiratory hygiene
Food hygiene at home
Hygiene in the kitchen, bathroom and toilet
* 4.5 Laundry hygiene
* 4.6 Medical hygiene at home
* 4.7 Disinfectants and antibacterials in home hygiene
* 4.8 Home hygiene in developing countries
* 4.8.1 Household water treatment and safe storage
* 5 Body hygiene
* 5.1 Excessive body hygiene
* 5.1.1 Excessive body hygiene and allergies
* 5.1.2 Excessive body hygiene of internal ear canals
* 6 Culinary (food) hygiene
* 7 Personal service hygiene
* 9 History
Hygiene in medieval Europe
* 10 Society and culture
Islamic hygienical jurisprudence
* 11 See also
* 12 References
* 13 Further reading
* 14 External links
First attested in English in 1677s, the word hygiene comes from the
French hygiène, the latinisation of the Greek ὑυγιεινή
(τέχνη) hugieinē technē, meaning "(art) of health", from
ὑυγιεινός hugieinos, "good for the health, healthy", in
turn from ὑυγιής (hugiēs), "healthful, sound, salutary,
wholesome". In ancient Greek religion ,
Hygeia (Ὑυγίεια) was
the personification of health, cleanliness and hygiene.
Washing one's hands, a form of HYGIENE, is the most effective
way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases Astronaut
taking a hot bath in the crew quarters of the Orbital Workshop (OWS)
Skylab space station cluster in
Earth orbit . In deploying the
shower facility the shower curtain is pulled up from the floor and
attached to the ceiling. The water comes through a push-button shower
head attached to a flexible hose. Water is drawn off by a vacuum
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Hygiene is a concept related to cleanliness, health and medicine, as
well as to personal and professional care practices related to most
aspects of living. In medicine and in home (domestic) and everyday
life settings, hygiene practices are employed as preventative measures
to reduce the incidence and spreading of disease. In the manufacture
of food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and other products, good hygiene is
a key part of quality assurance i.e. ensuring that the product
complies with microbial specifications appropriate to its use. The
terms cleanliness (or cleaning) and hygiene are often used
interchangeably, which can cause confusion. In general, hygiene mostly
means practices that prevent spread of disease-causing organisms.
Since cleaning processes (e.g., hand washing) remove infectious
microbes as well as dirt and soil, they are often the means to achieve
hygiene. Other uses of the term appear in phrases including: body
hygiene, personal hygiene, sleep hygiene , mental hygiene , dental
hygiene , and occupational hygiene , used in connection with public
Hygiene is also the name of a branch of science that deals
with the promotion and preservation of health, also called hygienic.
Hygiene practices vary widely, and what is considered acceptable in
one culture might not be acceptable in another.
Medical hygiene pertains to the hygiene practices related to the
administration of medicine, and medical care, that prevents or
minimizes disease and the spreading of disease.
Medical hygiene practices include:
* Isolation or quarantine of infectious persons or materials to
prevent spread of infection.
* Sterilization of instruments used in surgical procedures .
* Use of protective clothing and barriers, such as masks , gowns ,
caps , eyewear and gloves .
* Proper bandaging and dressing of injuries .
* Safe disposal of medical waste .
Disinfection of reusables (i.e. linen, pads, uniforms)
* Scrubbing up, hand-washing, especially in an operating room, but
in more general health-care settings as well, where diseases can be
Most of these practices were developed in the 19th century and were
well established by the mid-20th century. Some procedures (such as
disposal of medical waste ) were refined in response to late-20th
century disease outbreaks, notably
HOME AND EVERYDAY LIFE HYGIENE
Home hygiene pertains to the hygiene practices that prevent or
minimize disease and the spreading of disease in home (domestic) and
in everyday life settings such as social settings, public transport,
the work place, public places etc.
Hygiene in home and everyday life settings plays an important part in
preventing spread of infectious diseases. It includes procedures used
in a variety of domestic situations such as hand hygiene, respiratory
hygiene, food and water hygiene, general home hygiene (hygiene of
environmental sites and surfaces), care of domestic animals, and home
healthcare (the care of those who are at greater risk of infection).
At present, these components of hygiene tend to be regarded as
separate issues, although all are based on the same underlying
microbiological principles. Preventing the spread of infectious
diseases means breaking the chain of infection transmission. The
simple principle is that, if the chain of infection is broken,
infection cannot spread. In response to the need for effective codes
of hygiene in home and everyday life settings the International
Scientific Forum on Home
Hygiene has developed a risk-based approach
based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (
HACCP ), which has
come to be known as "targeted hygiene". Targeted hygiene is based on
identifying the routes of spread of pathogens in the home, and
applying hygiene procedures at critical points at appropriate times to
break the chain of infection.
The main sources of infection in the home are people (who are
carriers or are infected), foods (particularly raw foods) and water,
and domestic animals (in the U.S. more than 50% of homes have one or
more pets ). Additionally, sites that accumulate stagnant water—such
as sinks, toilets, waste pipes, cleaning tools, face cloths—readily
support microbial growth, and can become secondary reservoirs of
infection, though species are mostly those that threaten "at risk"
groups. Germs (potentially infectious bacteria, viruses etc.) are
constantly shed from these sources via mucous membranes, faeces,
vomit, skin scales, etc. Thus, when circumstances combine, people
become exposed, either directly or via food or water, and can develop
The main "highways" for spread of germs in the home are the hands,
hand and food contact surfaces, and cleaning cloths and utensils.
Germs can also spread via clothing and household linens, such as
towels . Utilities such as toilets and wash basins, for example, were
invented for dealing safely with human waste, but still have risks
associated with them, which may become critical at certain times,
e.g., when someone has sickness or diarrhea. Safe disposal of human
waste is a fundamental need; poor sanitation is a primary cause of
diarrhea disease in low income communities. Respiratory viruses and
fungal spores are also spread via the air.
Good home hygiene means targeting hygiene procedures at critical
points, at appropriate times, to break the chain of infection i.e. to
eliminate germs before they can spread further. Because the
"infectious dose" for some pathogens can be very small (10-100 viable
units, or even less for some viruses), and infection can result from
direct transfer from surfaces via hands or food to the mouth, nasal
mucosa or the eye, 'hygienic cleaning' procedures should be sufficient
to eliminate pathogens from critical surfaces. Hygienic cleaning can
be done by:
* Mechanical removal (i.e. cleaning) using a soap or detergent . To
be effective as a hygiene measure, this process must be followed by
thorough rinsing under running water to remove germs from the surface.
* Using a process or product that inactivates the pathogens in situ.
Germ kill is achieved using a "micro-biocidal" product i.e. a
disinfectant or antibacterial product or waterless hand sanitizer , or
by application of heat.
* In some cases combined germ removal with kill is used, e.g.
laundering of clothing and household linens such as towels and
Handwashing A tippy tap for handwashing after
using a urine-diverting dry toilet in Pumpuentsa, Ecuador
Hand hygiene is defined as hand washing or washing hands and nails
with soap and water or using a waterless hand sanitizer . Hand hygiene
is central to preventing spread of infectious diseases in home and
everyday life settings.
In situations where hand washing with soap is not an option (e.g.
when in a public place with no access to wash facilities), a waterless
hand sanitizer such as an alcohol hand gel can be used. They can also
be used in addition to hand washing, to minimize risks when caring for
"at risk" groups. To be effective, alcohol hand gels should contain
not less than 60%v/v alcohol.
Health Organization recommends hand washing with ash if
soap is not available in emergencies, schools without access to soap
and other difficult situations like post-emergencies where use of
(clean) sand is recommended too. Use of ash is common in rural areas
of developing countries and has in experiments been shown at least as
effective as soap for removing bacteria.
Correct respiratory and hand hygiene when coughing and sneezing
reduces the spread of germs particularly during the cold and flu
* Carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes
* Dispose of tissues as soon as possible
* Clean your hands by hand washing or using an alcohol hand
FOOD HYGIENE AT HOME
Food hygiene is concerned with the hygiene practices that prevent
food poisoning. The five key principles of food hygiene, according to
WHO , are:
* Prevent contaminating food with mixing chemicals, spreading from
people, and animals .
* Separate raw and cooked foods to prevent contaminating the cooked
* Cook foods for the appropriate length of time and at the
appropriate temperature to kill pathogens.
* Store food at the proper temperature.
* Use safe water and raw materials
HYGIENE IN THE KITCHEN, BATHROOM AND TOILET
Routine cleaning of (hand, food, even in the European region it is
estimated that 120 million people do not have access to safe drinking
water . Point-of-use water quality interventions can reduce diarrheal
disease in communities where water quality is poor, or in emergency
situations where there is a breakdown in water supply. Since water
can become contaminated during storage at home (e.g. by contact with
contaminated hands or using dirty storage vessels), safe storage of
water in the home is also important.
Methods for treatment of drinking water, include:
* Chemical disinfection using chlorine or iodine
* Filtration using ceramic filters
* Solar disinfection - Solar disinfection is an effective method,
especially when no chemical disinfectants are available.
* UV irradiation - community or household UV systems may be batch or
flow-though. The lamps can be suspended above the water channel or
submerged in the water flow.
* Combined flocculation/disinfection systems – available as
sachets of powder that act by coagulating and flocculating sediments
in water followed by release of chlorine.
* Multibarrier methods – Some systems use two or more of the above
treatments in combination or in succession to optimize efficacy.
Swedish ad for toiletries, 1905/1906. See also: Body hygiene
Personal hygiene involves those practices performed by an individual
to care for one's bodily health and well being, through cleanliness.
Motivations for personal hygiene practice include reduction of
personal illness, healing from personal illness, optimal health and
sense of well being, social acceptance and prevention of spread of
illness to others. What is considered proper personal hygiene can be
cultural-specific and may change over time. In some cultures removal
of body hair is considered proper hygiene. Other practices that are
generally considered proper hygiene include bathing regularly, washing
hands regularly and especially before handling food, washing scalp
hair, keeping hair short or removing hair, wearing clean clothing,
brushing one's teeth, cutting finger nails, besides other practices.
Some practices are gender-specific, such as by a woman during her
menstrual cycle. People tend to develop a routine for attending to
their personal hygiene needs. Other personal hygienic practices would
include covering one's mouth when coughing, disposal of soiled tissues
appropriately, making sure toilets are clean, and making sure food
handling areas are clean, besides other practices. Some cultures do
not kiss or shake hands to reduce transmission of bacteria by contact.
Personal grooming extends personal hygiene as it pertains to the
maintenance of a good personal and public appearance, which need not
necessarily be hygienic. It may involve, for example, using deodorants
or perfume, shaving, or combing, besides other practices.
EXCESSIVE BODY HYGIENE
Excessive body hygiene is one example of obsessive compulsive
Hygiene And Allergies
The hygiene hypothesis was first formulated in 1989 by Strachan who
observed that there was an inverse relationship between family size
and development of atopic allergic disorders – the more children in
a family, the less likely they were to develop these allergies . From
this, he hypothesised that lack of exposure to "infections" in early
childhood transmitted by contact with older siblings could be a cause
of the rapid rise in atopic disorders over the last thirty to forty
years. Strachan further proposed that the reason why this exposure no
longer occurs is, not only because of the trend towards smaller
families, but also "improved household amenities and higher standards
of personal cleanliness ".
Although there is substantial evidence that some microbial exposures
in early childhood can in some way protect against allergies, there is
no evidence that humans need exposure to harmful microbes (infection)
or that it is necessary to suffer a clinical infection. Nor is
there evidence that hygiene measures such as hand washing, food
hygiene etc. are linked to increased susceptibility to atopic disease
. If this is the case, there is no conflict between the goals of
preventing infection and minimising allergies. A consensus is now
developing among experts that the answer lies in more fundamental
changes in lifestyle etc. that have led to decreased exposure to
certain microbial or other species, such as helminths, that are
important for development of immuno-regulatory mechanisms. There is
still much uncertainty as to which lifestyle factors are involved.
Although media coverage of the hygiene hypothesis has declined, a
strong ‘collective mindset’ has become established that dirt is
‘healthy’ and hygiene somehow ‘unnatural’. This has caused
concern among health professionals that everyday life hygiene
behaviours, which are the foundation of public health, are being
undermined. In response to the need for effective hygiene in home and
everyday life settings, the International Scientific Forum on Home
Hygiene has developed a "risk-based" or targeted approach to home
hygiene that seeks to ensure that hygiene measures are focussed on the
places, and at the times most critical for infection transmission.
Whilst targeted hygiene was originally developed as an effective
approach to hygiene practice, it also seeks, as far as possible, to
sustain "normal" levels of exposure to the microbial flora of our
environment to the extent that is important to build a balanced immune
Hygiene Of Internal Ear Canals
Excessive body hygiene of the ear canals can result in infection or
irritation. The ear canals require less body hygiene care than other
parts of the body, because they are sensitive, and the body system
adequately cares for these parts. Most of the time the ear canals are
self-cleaning; that is, there is a slow and orderly migration of the
skin lining the ear canal from the eardrum to the outer opening of the
ear. Old earwax is constantly being transported from the deeper areas
of the ear canal out to the opening where it usually dries, flakes,
and falls out. Attempts to clean the ear canals through the removal
of earwax can actually reduce ear canal cleanliness by pushing debris
and foreign material into the ear that the natural movement of ear wax
out of the ear would have removed. Excessive application of soaps,
creams, and ointments can also adversely affect certain of the natural
processes of the skin. For examples, soaps and ointments can deplete
the skin of natural protective oils and fat-soluble content such as
cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), and external substances can be absorbed,
to disturb natural hormonal balances.
CULINARY (FOOD) HYGIENE
Culinary hygiene pertains to the practices related to food management
and cooking to prevent food contamination , prevent food poisoning and
minimize the transmission of disease to other foods, humans or
animals. Culinary hygiene practices specify safe ways to handle,
store, prepare, serve and eat food.
Culinary practices include:
* Cleaning and disinfection of food-preparation areas and equipment
(for example using designated cutting boards for preparing raw meats
and vegetables). Cleaning may involve use of chlorine bleach , ethanol
, ultraviolet light , etc. for disinfection.
* Careful avoidance of meats contaminated by trichina worms ,
salmonella , and other pathogens; or thorough cooking of questionable
* Extreme care in preparing raw foods, such as sushi and sashimi .
* Institutional dish sanitizing by washing with soap and clean
* Washing of hands thoroughly BEFORE touching any food.
* Washing of hands after touching uncooked food when preparing meals
* Not using the same utensils to prepare different foods.
* Not sharing cutlery when eating.
* Not licking fingers or hands while or after eating.
* Not reusing serving utensils that have been licked.
* Proper storage of food so as to prevent contamination by vermin .
Refrigeration of foods (and avoidance of specific foods in
environments where refrigeration is or was not feasible).
* Labeling food to indicate when it was produced (or, as food
manufacturers prefer, to indicate its "best before" date ).
* Proper disposal of uneaten food and packaging.
PERSONAL SERVICE HYGIENE
Personal service hygiene pertains to the practices related to the
care and use of instruments used in the administration of personal
care services to people:
Personal hygiene practices include:
* Sterilization of instruments used by service providers including
hairdressers , aestheticians , and other service providers.
* Sterilization by autoclave of instruments used in body piercing
and tattoo marking .
* Cleaning hands.
Sleep hygiene is the recommended behavioral and environmental
practice that is intended to promote better quality sleep. This
recommendation was developed in the late 1970s as a method to help
people with mild to moderate insomnia , but, as of 2014 , the evidence
for effectiveness of individual recommendations is "limited and
inconclusive". Clinicians assess the sleep hygiene of people who
present with insomnia and other conditions, such as depression, and
offer recommendations based on the assessment.
recommendations include establishing a regular sleep schedule, using
naps with care, not exercising physically or mentally too close to
bedtime, limiting worry, limiting exposure to light in the hours
before sleep, getting out of bed if sleep does not come, not using bed
for anything but sleep and avoiding alcohol as well as nicotine ,
caffeine , and other stimulants in the hours before bedtime, and
having a peaceful, comfortable and dark sleep environment.
The earliest written account of Elaborate codes of hygiene can be
found in several Hindu texts, such as the
Manusmriti and the Vishnu
Bathing is one of the five Nitya karmas (daily duties) in
Hinduism, and not performing it leads to sin, according to some
scriptures. Three young women bathing, 440–430 BC. Ancient
Regular bathing was a hallmark of Roman civilization . Elaborate
baths were constructed in urban areas to serve the public, who
typically demanded the infrastructure to maintain personal
cleanliness. The complexes usually consisted of large, swimming
pool-like baths, smaller cold and hot pools, saunas, and spa-like
facilities where individuals could be depilated, oiled, and massaged.
Water was constantly changed by an aqueduct -fed flow.
of urban centers involved smaller, less elaborate bathing facilities,
or simply the use of clean bodies of water. Roman cities also had
large sewers , such as Rome's
Cloaca Maxima , into which public and
private latrines drained. Romans didn't have demand-flush toilets but
did have some toilets with a continuous flow of water under them.
Until the late 19th Century, only the elite in Western cities
typically possessed indoor facilities for relieving bodily functions.
The poorer majority used communal facilities built above cesspools in
backyards and courtyards. This changed after Dr. John Snow discovered
that cholera was transmitted by the fecal contamination of water.
Though it took decades for his findings to gain wide acceptance,
governments and sanitary reformers were eventually convinced of the
health benefits of using sewers to keep human waste from contaminating
water. This encouraged the widespread adoption of both the flush
toilet and the moral imperative that bathrooms should be indoors and
as private as possible.
HYGIENE IN MEDIEVAL EUROPE
Christianity has always placed a strong emphasis on hygiene ,
Despite the denunciation of the mixed bathing style of Roman pools by
early Christian clergy, as well as the pagan custom of women naked
bathing in front of men, this did not stop the Church from urging its
followers to go to public baths for bathing, which contributed to
hygiene and good health according to the
Church Father , Clement of
Alexandria . The Church also built public bathing facilities that were
separate for both sexes near monasteries and pilgrimage sites; also,
the popes situated baths within church basilicas and monasteries since
the early Middle Ages. Pope
Gregory the Great
Gregory the Great urged his followers on
value of bathing as a bodily need.
Contrary to popular belief and although the
Early Christian leaders,
such as Boniface I, condemned bathing as unspiritual, bathing and
sanitation were not lost in Europe with the collapse of the Roman
Empire . Soapmaking first became an established trade during the
so-called "Dark Ages ". The Romans used scented oils (mostly from
Egypt), among other alternatives.
Northern Europeans were not in the habit of bathing: in the ninth
Notker the Stammerer
Notker the Stammerer , a Frankish monk of St Gall, related a
disapproving anecdote that attributed ill results of personal hygiene
to an Italian fashion:
There was a certain deacon who followed the habits of the Italians in
that he was perpetually trying to resist nature. He used to take
baths, he had his head very closely shaved, he polished his skin, he
cleaned his nail, he had his hair cut as short as if it were turned on
a lathe, and he wore linen underclothes and a snow-white shirt.
Woman's Bath, 1496, by
Secular medieval texts constantly refer to the washing of hands
before and after meals, but Sone de Nansay, hero of a 13th-century
romance, discovers to his chagrin that the Norwegians do not wash up
after eating. In the 11th and 12th centuries, bathing was essential
to the Western European upper class: the
Cluniac monasteries to which
they resorted or retired were always provided with bathhouses, and
even the monks were required to take full immersion baths twice a
year, at the two Christian festivals of renewal, though exhorted not
to uncover themselves from under their bathing sheets. In 14th
century Tuscany, the newlywed couple's bath together was such a firm
convention one such couple, in a large coopered tub, is illustrated in
fresco in the town hall of San Gimignano.
Bathing had fallen out of fashion in Northern Europe long before the
Renaissance , when the communal public baths of German cities were in
their turn a wonder to Italian visitors.
Bathing was replaced by the
heavy use of sweat-bathing and perfume , as it was thought in Europe
that water could carry disease into the body through the skin. Bathing
encouraged an erotic atmosphere that was played upon by the writers of
romances intended for the upper class; in the tale of
bath was a crucial element of the plot. "
Bathing and grooming were
regarded with suspicion by moralists, however, because they unveiled
the attractiveness of the body.
Bathing was said to be a prelude to
sin, and in the penitential of
Burchard of Worms we find a full
catalogue of the sins that ensued when men and women bathed together."
Medieval church authorities believed that public bathing created an
environment open to immorality and disease; the 26 public baths of
Paris in the late 13th century were strictly overseen by the civil
authorities. At a later date
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church officials even
banned public bathing in an unsuccessful effort to halt syphilis
epidemics from sweeping Europe.
Modern sanitation was not widely adopted until the 19th and 20th
centuries. According to medieval historian Lynn Thorndike, people in
Medieval Europe probably bathed more than people did in the 19th
century. Some time after
Louis Pasteur 's experiments proved the germ
theory of disease and Joseph Lister and others put them into practice
in sanitation , hygienic practices came to be regarded as synonymous
with health , as they are in modern times.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE
ISLAMIC HYGIENICAL JURISPRUDENCE
Islamic hygienical jurisprudence Further information:
Islamic cleanliness ,
Islamic dietary laws
Islamic dietary laws , and
Islamic toilet etiquette
Since the 7th century,
Islam has always placed a strong emphasis on
hygiene. Other than the need to be ritually clean in time for the
daily prayer (Arabic:
Salat ) through
Ghusl , there are a
large number of other hygiene-related rules governing the lives of
Muslims. Other issues include the
Islamic dietary laws
Islamic dietary laws . In general,
the Qur\'an advises Muslims to uphold high standards of physical
hygiene and to be ritually clean whenever possible.
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* International Journal of
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