Hygiene and Toiletry

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What is Hygiene?
Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health. According to the World Health Organization, "Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases." Personal hygiene refers to maintaining the body's cleanliness.

Of all the daily activities people perform, toileting is one of the most difficult to discuss and by far the most private. Particularly when it comes to keeping clean.

Your arms are too short or your shoulder is too sore or a dozen other reasons may make it difficult to hold toilet paper and adequately cleanse yourself. This toilet tissue holder is designed like no other, specifically allowing the user to apply pressure to properly clean the anal area. Notice the curve of the handle and the rounded edge on the head of the device.

The soft, flexible head has 3 tulip-petal sections that easily pull back to allow you to insert and grip any toilet paper or pre-moistened wipe securely. Once inserted the toilet tissue covers the rounded head. A press of the button on the back of the handle engages a rod that pushes out the soiled tissue into the toilet bowl. No sticking, no touching, no mess.

Founded seven years ago, Hygiene Help for the Homeless is a project that is near and dear to me. It was inspired by a drive for toiletries at our local church as well as by my own experience with homeless men and women at shelters. No one ever really thought, they told me, to donate anything other than food and clothing, and yet personal toiletries can go a long way towards making a person feel like themselves again.

Now a recognized student organization at my university, Hygiene Help for the Homeless is growing once again. Myself and other students continue to write to hotels, airlines, doctors, dentists, and even manufacturers to request donations of sample sized toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc.) which we then package into personal baggies and ship out to homeless shelters across the world. We have received countless letters of thanks from those whom we have helped and from these we know that soap and shampoo can do more than provide for a fresh shower, they can energize the self confidence of someone in need of a leg up.

A packing list is an efficient way to plan and make sure you pack everything you need when you travel. Create a packing list on paper or electronically. Whether needing a packing list for an overnight bag or for a stream trunk, a list will keep you from forgetting items. A packing list can help you avoid packing unneeded items that can weigh you down.

Decide how many suitcases you will need to use and stick with that number. You may want to consider what your airline's suitcase policy is if you are flying. Some airlines charge you when you bring more than the ascribed number of bags. Write this down in your notebook.

Select a waterproof bag to store your important documents like passports, visas or identification. Copies of reservations, contact phone numbers and insurance papers go in this bag or travel wallet. Write down which waterproof bag you will use.

Write or type a list of hair necessities. Include tools for hair hygiene like a brush or comb, shampoo and hairspray. If considering bringing blow dryers or styling accessories consider that your tool's plugs may not fit outlets in some international hotels. Place these items under the heading, "toiletry bag."

Add the items you need for your body care to your list. This might be razors, toothbrush, deodorant and makeup. Sanitary napkins may also be included in this portion of the list. List all these items under your "toiletry bag" heading.

Make a list of medications you will take. This should include prescription and over the counter drugs. Leave prescriptions inside their pharmacy bottles to avoid problems with officials. You may want to include insect repellent and bandages. Write these down under the heading of "toiletry bag."

Good personal hygiene habits include:

  • Washing the body often. If possible, everybody should have a shower or a bath every day. However, there may be times when this is not possible, for example, when people are out camping or there is a shortage of water.
  • If this happens, a swim or a wash all over the body with a wet sponge or cloth will do.
  • cleaning the teeth at least once a day. Brushing the teeth after each meal is the best way of making sure that gum disease and tooth decay are avoided. It is very important to clean teeth after breakfast and immediately before going to bed
  • washing the hair with soap or shampoo at least once a week.
  • washing hands with soap after going to the toilet.
  • washing hands with soap before preparing and/or eating food. During normal daily activities, such as working and playing, disease causing germs may get onto the hands and under the nails. If the germs are not washed off before preparing food or eating, they may get onto the food.
  • changing into clean clothes. Dirty clothes should be washed with laundry soap before wearing them again.
  • hanging clothes in the sun to dry. The sun's rays will kill some disease-causing germs and parasites.
  • turning away from other people and covering the nose and mouth with a tissue or the hand when coughing or sneezing. If this is not done, droplets of liquid containing germs from the nose and mouth will be spread in the air and other people can breathe them in, or the droplets can get onto food.

Hygiene & Toiletry