By Laura Garcia

Alright, snicker, roll your eyes. Do whatever it is you have to do ‘cause we’re getting down and dirty on getting clean. Yes, I know you shower, you wash your hands–you’re good.

But I’m afraid it’s not that simple. The facts are startling, the topics may be a little gross, but this is your health we’re talking about, so let’s get on with the “adulting”.

Poop

If you detach from its meaning, poop is a cute word and a very popular emoji. If you associate it with tiny dogs and little kids making faces as they push into their diaper then maybe it’s still cute. But when you talk about what it can do to your health, the laughs stop and the cuteness fades. 

About 1.8 million children under the age of five die each year from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), human and animal waste is one of the culprits in spreading Salmonella, E. Coli O157 and norovirus.

Respiratory infections like hand-foot-mouth disease and adenovirus can also spread through being in contact with these cute little things called “poop”. Think about that next time your child lays their head on that poop-emoji pillow.

Hand Washing

Although we are taught to wash our hands at a very young age, many of us, perhaps unknowingly or perhaps simply from lack of reminders of the importance, are not washing our hands properly. Washing your hands regularly can save you from getting sick. It’s simple: wash your hands with soap regularly, but most importantly after going to the toilet, before eating, after touching any animals, or being in contact with anyone who is ill.

Here’s a refresher: Use clean running water, wet your hands and then apply soap. Rub your hands together to lather the soap, making sure to cover the back of your hand, under your nails and between your fingers. Scrub for a minimum of 20 seconds. Rinse your hands well and air dry or use a clean towel. Instil the habit and repeat each and every time you wash your hands.

Washing your hands is by far your best option, but when you’re stuck in a line at the airport and someone just sneezed, hand sanitizer containing 60- to 95-percent alcohol is a good alternative. Read label instructions for the correct amount to be used.

Our hands say a lot about us. Some say they define us, some say they can tell us our future, don’t let yours say you have bad hygiene.

Showering

Night sweats, bed hair, brain fog… an early morning shower simply can’t be beaten to wash off the grossness and kick you into gear. Showering at night, however, can help you sleep. And if you’re anywhere near Southeast Asia during the hot season and want to keep your friends, showering at least twice a day is a must.

Stick to cold showers and not only will your skin thank you, but you’ll gain some added benefits (12 to be exact), like improved immunity, circulation, and increased testosterone levels. Now get that man into the shower!

And of course, as your momma told you, remember all your nooks and crannies, even between your toes, because nobody likes jam unless it’s on toast–or scones.

Brush Brushy Brush

Listen to Elmo and brush your teeth to keep them looking clean and white, every day and every night. What Elmo likely doesn’t know is that good dental hygiene can also prevent erectile dysfunction. Flossing, according to Dr. Mercola, is even more important than brushing. It helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. What is shocking is the health risks associated with poor oral health. 

Advanced gum disease can increase your risk of a fatal heart attack up to 10 times. Among those is a 700 percent higher incidence of type 2 diabetes. Gum disease also increases your risk of kidney disease, pneumonia, dementia, and, of course, bad breath. So brush, brushy, brush and floss, flossy, floss. 

Okay, enough “adulting” for one day. The tone may be light, but keeping good personal hygiene is serious business. Not only does it keep bacteria and illnesses at bay, but there are also, of course, major social implications as well.

Think about the man on the bus whose stink commands his own personal space; the girl whose hair is so oily you can smell it just by looking at her picture; the bad teeth that make you shudder and yet you can’t look away, you don’t want to leave that kind of lasting image, now do you?. 

Now go ahead and get yourself clean, make your momma proud, keep your friends close and leave the funk to the dance floor.