It’s no secret that you can avoid a whole range of health issues simply by maintaining careful personal hygiene and a careful daily cleanliness routine. Read this feature on HealthLine and you’ll learn about a list of do’s and don’ts on how to bathe, and brush and floss regularly. You’ll also understand how you can avoid body odor, greasy skin, and a range of diseases like pink eye, stomach viruses, and even, plaque buildup in your arteries.
While most people are aware of these important lessons and carefully inculcate them in their kids, new studies are revealing that there is an entire collection of health hazards in the most unlikely of places that you need to watch out for.
Read ahead for some shocking and scary facts about the most unlikely channels through which you allow germs into your body.
Scary Fact No. 1: Shaving Body Hair Can Cause Infections
Cleaning off body hair is important for maintaining personal hygiene. And, you probably use razors and perhaps, regular waxing to clean off unwanted hair. In this way, you can avoid body odor caused by the bacteria in the sweat. Removing pubic hair is another essential for 84% women for various reasons. However, a new study published in The Guardian talks about how having pubic can actually help prevent irritation and infection-causing bacteria from entering the vagina.
If you’re more comfortable with being clean down there, you may need to be aware that shaving often causes minute nicks and cuts. These tiny wounds act as entry points for various viruses and bacteria leaving you defenseless against skin infections, herpes, and other sexually transmitted diseases. A safer alternative to shaving is to get laser hair removal near you. Lasers can permanently get rid of the hair and prevent it from growing back.
Scary Fact No. 2: Hand Sanitizers May Not Work As Expected
You probably rely a lot on hand sanitizers for getting your hands clean in a hurry. But, the folks at CNN have published new research on this personal hygiene mode. They recommend that as far as possible, you may want to rely on good old soap and water. Here are a few alarming facts:
- Hand sanitizers contain 60% alcohol along with other chemicals. Over time, germs can develop a resistance to these cleaning agents.
- The isopropyl alcohol content can cause irritation to the eyes and skin when used in large quantities.
- High concentrations of ethyl alcohol can get absorbed by the skin and harm the fetus if the user is pregnant.
- Benzalkonium chloride is an antimicrobial agent, but can be lethal if absorbed in high doses.
Accordingly, use hand sanitizers for personal hygiene only if you don’t have access to soap and water like when you’re traveling.
Scary Fact No. 3: The Five-Second Rule is a Myth
Have you always thought that if you pick up food after being dropped on the floor within 5 seconds, it’s safe to eat? This rule simply doesn’t hold true. That’s because bacteria doesn’t need 5 seconds to adhere to the food. You must also account for the whether the floor is indoors (at home or anywhere else) or outdoors, and the kind of food you dropped, dry or soft.
The bottom line? If it lands on the floor, it belongs in the trashcan, not your mouth.
Scary Fact No. 4: Soap May Contain Dangerous Chemicals
Soap is no doubt an essential for personal hygiene. But, you may want to watch out for the ingredients it contains. The first and most scary component is the fragrances used. Soap-making companies need not list the items they use to give the soap that unique scent under the premise that they need not reveal their trade secrets. But, these fragrances can include synthetic chemicals and other toxins that can cause cancer, headaches, asthma symptoms, and other adverse effects.
Check out this article on Healthy Women that talks about other additives like parabens that trick your body into thinking it is estrogen and triclosan that can result in resistance to antibacterial agents. You need to be extra wary about these components because your skin can absorb them when you bathe with the soap.
Scary Fact No. 5: Facial Hair Can be a Storehouse for Bacteria
Changing fashion trends now have men sporting long beards. But, this fashion essential scores terribly on the personal hygiene scale. Facial hair has a coarser texture as compared to scalp or body hair and collects all kinds of dirt and germs. In addition to the crumbs of food, beards contain high counts of bacteria and mucus that can be passed on as germs to the people around.
Carol Walker is a consultant trichologist at the Birmingham Trichology Centre. She revealed to the Daily Mail, “There can be a lot of Stepholococci [a group of bacteria that can cause illness] if someone’s got a cold. Some people get skin infections, caused if they have a lot of scale build up or eczema from the bacteria in their beard. If someone has a cold, a runny nose it can trickle down and be trapped in the nose, beards.”
Gross? It totally is!
Scary Fact No. 6: Eating Out Exposes You to More than Just Unhealthy Food
Everyone knows that restaurant food is bad for you thanks to high levels of cholesterol, Trans fats, sodium, sugars, and other health hazards. New research shows that just going to a restaurant is a threat to your personal hygiene. Did you know that 70% of the ice in your drinks has more bacteria than in toilet bowl water? If you order packaged water or drinks in bottles or cans, keep in mind that they could have been stored in rooms frequented by rats, mice, and other vermin.
Just to round off, you may wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom in a restaurant. But, if you opened the door with your hands on the way out, all that washing totally became useless.
On your part, you can do your best to maintain personal hygiene and protect you and your family from illnesses. But, the fact remains that there are a lot more hidden hazards to your health than you know of. However, awareness can be the key to preventing diseases. Go ahead and educate yourself on as many hazards as you can.