Most of us are already aware about matters of personal hygiene and self-care. However, despite all the precautions, we tend to suffer from illnesses and infections. This is mainly due to us ignoring the little things (which often go unnoticed) that play a huge role in keeping us healthy. Here, Dr Rangina Shah, endoscopic gynecologist at Alka Hospital, talks about things we need to be aware of in terms of hygiene and healthy living.
Take a bath everyday
According to Dr Shah, taking a bath everyday is a must especially in this weather. It’s important to keep our body clean from all the dust, dirt and sweat we collect throughout the day. “Along with maintaining your personal hygiene, bathing is beneficial in so many other ways,” she says. Bathing helps improve blood circulation of the body, relieves muscle pain, and soothes our skin. However, Shah advises not to take a bath immediately after returning home when you are feeling especially hot and sweaty, as it is important to bring your body back to its normal temperature before introducing it to water. “You can have a glass of water or drink some juice until your body temperature comes back to normal,” she explains.
Pay attention to your clothes
Changing your clothes everyday is something that we all do in order to maintain personal hygiene. However, it’s all the more important during summer as people tend to sweat a lot and it clings to your clothes. If there are days when you have to wear the same clothes two days in a row, make sure you have clean underpants at least. Shah reveals that those who tend to sweat a lot or do heavy physical work might have to change his/her undergarments twice a day, in order to avoid getting an infection as well as rashes. Keeping a change of clothes or undergarments in your car or backpack is a good idea.
Keep yourself as dry as possible
According to Dr Shah, the main cause for infections like UTI is because in our culture we tend to use water to clean ourselves. However, it’s absolutely necessary to keep one’s private parts as dry as possible. “After using water to clean up, make sure you dry yourself with tissues. This will go a long way in keeping infection at bay,” she says. Shah recommends carrying tissues wherever you have to use the public bathroom and if possible carry a toilet seat sanitizer too. These sprays disinfect the toilet seat and rid it of germs and infectious bacteria. “This not only keeps you infection free but also gives you a sense of ease and comfort,” she says.
Sun dry your clothes
Letting the sun help dry your clothes has more benefits that you can imagine. Even after washing clothes with warm water and detergent, there tends to be some bacteria left behind. By sun drying your clothes, you kill the harmful bacteria that in turn keep infections at bay. “Many of us tend to be embarrassed about hanging our undergarments out to dry, and we tend to dry them indoors or cover them up with another cloth but this is a big no-no,” says Dr Shah. Sun drying your clothes can also help you get rid of odors and add freshness to your clothes. However, during the rainy season like now, when the sun is not as strong, one can iron their clothes to get rid of the faint moisture that always seems to be left behind.
Eat food with antioxidants
Antioxidants help defend your cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. Antioxidants include nutrient antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals copper, zinc and selenium. It’s important to eat food that is rich in antioxidants to keep yourself fit and healthy. Dr Shah reveals that plant foods like berries, spinach, beans and beets have high amounts of antioxidants and minerals and they are low in calories. “Our diet needs more protein, minerals and less carbohydrate,” she says. For this, Dr Shah says, one does not have to go on expensive diets and can eat readily available fruits, cereals and vegetables. “Also, always go for food that is boiled or grilled rather than something that’s fried,” she adds.
Be especially aware about menstrual hygiene
According to Dr Shah, women have to be especially aware when it comes to menstrual health. “One should use sterilized sanitary pads rather than homemade cloth pad,” she says. Also changing your sanitary pads ever four to five hours, no matter how heavy or light the bleeding is, is the best way to stay hygienic and prevent infections.
Put yourself first
According to Dr Shah, for a person to lead a healthy life, there should be a balance between hygiene, diet and exercise. “Often times when we are working late and are busy we tend to ignore matters of hygiene and diet and later this small act of ignorance is what causes infections and long term diseases,” she says, adding that maintaining your body and mind should be your number one priority, above matters of chores and work.