Personal Hygiene - Home Science FORM 1 Notes

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  • The exercise of proper personal hygiene is one of the essential parts of our daily life.
  • Many people in rural areas may not understand what good or bad personal hygiene is.
  • The prevention of communicable diseases, like diarrhoea, trachoma and many others is highly possible through the application of proper personal hygiene.
  • You need to learn the proper practice of personal hygiene and use this for the prevention and control of important public health diseases that are prevalent in your locality. 

Good grooming

  • The most important aspect of maintaining good health is good personal hygiene.
  • Personal hygiene which is also referred to as personal care includes all of the following:
    • Bathing and Showering
    • Hair care
    • Nail care
    • Foot care
    • Genital care
    • Dental care
  • Personal hygiene is keeping the body clean, and helps prevent the spread of germs.
  • Grooming is caring for fingernails and hair examples of these activities would be styling hair, shaving, trimming and painting fingernails.
  • Maintaining good health also includes the following areas: Nutrition, Leisure/recreation opportunities, sleep, and exercise.
  • As you can see, there are many factors that contribute to feeling and looking good.
  • Feeling and looking good are important to each individual’s emotional and physical wellbeing.

Body hygiene (skin care)

  • The body has nearly two million sweat glands.
  • Moistened and dried sweat and dead skin cells all together make dirt that sticks on to the skin and the surface of under clothes.
  • The action of bacteria decomposes the sweat, thereby generating bad odour and irritating the skin.
  • This is especially observed in the groin, underarms and feet, and in clothing that has absorbed sweat.
  • Skin infections such as scabies, pimples and ringworm are results of poor body hygiene.
  • The first task in body hygiene is to find water, soap and other cleansing materials.
  • Taking a bath or a shower using body soap at least weekly is very important to ensuring our body stays clean.
  • Bathing can be every day or after periods of sweating or getting dirty.
  • The genitals and the anal region need to be cleaned well because of the natural secretions of these areas.
  • Dry the body with a clean towel after thorough rinsing.
  • Change into clean underwear after a bath.
  • Changing sweat-soaked clothes after each bath is advised.
  • Cleaning the ears after every bath is also necessary.
  • Avoid sharing soaps and towels because of the danger of cross-infection.

3.4.2  Oral hygiene (oral care)

  • The mouth is the area of the body most prone to collecting harmful bacteria and generating infections.
  • Our mouth mechanically breaks food into pieces.
  • This process leaves food particles (food debris) that stick to the surface of our gums and teeth.
  • Our mouth cavity is full of bacteria and is a good environment for bacterial growth.
  • The decaying process that takes place on the surface of the teeth eventually produces a build-up called plaque (a sticky deposit on which bacteria grow) that is then converted into tartar (a hard, yellowish, calcified deposit on the teeth, consisting of organic secretions and food particles).
  • The result is tooth decay.
  • In addition, unpleasant smelling breath (halitosis or stinking odour), teeth and gum infections could be a result of poor oral hygiene.

Advice for keeping the mouth clean is:

  • Rinse the mouth after each meal.
  • Brush your teeth with a fluoride-containing toothpaste twice a day – before breakfast and before you go to bed. Cleaning the mouth with twigs is possible if done carefully.
  • During the day, fill your mouth with water and swish it around to get rid of anything sticking to your teeth.
  • In addition to regular brushing, it is advisable to floss your teeth at least once a day, usually before you go to bed.

Handwashing (hand care)

  • The cleanliness of our hands is very important in all our daily activities.
  • In our normal activities our hands frequently get dirty.
  • There are many situations in which microorganisms are likely to attach to our hands along with the dirt.
  • There are many communicable diseases that follow the route of faeco-oral transmission.
  • Hand hygiene plays a critically important role in preventing this transmission.
  • Hygienic handwashing involves the mechanical removal of microorganisms from contaminated hand surfaces using soap or detergent.
  • Handwashing should involve more than a quick rinse under a tap (faucet) or in running water.

Hand washing technique

  • First wet your hands with clean water and lather with a bar of soap.
  • Next rub your hands together vigorously and scrub all surfaces up to your wrists.
  • Clean under your fingernails.
  • Continue for 15–30 seconds or about the length of a little tune (for example, the ‘Happy Birthday’ song).
  • It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs.
  • Rinse your hands well with clean running water (pour from a jug or tap).
  • Dry your hands in the air to avoid recontamination on a dirty towel – do not touch anything until your hands are dry.
  • Wood ash will also rub off any dirt and smells. The slight irritation you feel when you wash your hands with ash shows the cleansing power of ash.
  • Local seeds such as indod (Lemma’s plant), which are known to be good cleaning agents, can also be used for regular handwashing.
  • Clean sand with water can be used for handwashing to help to rub off dirt.
  • If you don’t have soap, you can use alternatives.
  • These serve the same purpose as the soap, to help ‘scrub’ what is stuck on your hands, so the running water can brush it off.
  • To get clean hands, you must POUR the water over your hands (no dipping in a bowl!).
  • The soap or ash ‘lifts’ the dirt, and the water then washes off the visible dirt and the invisible germs. 

Critical situations after which you should wash your hands in everyday activity include:

  • After using the toilet (or disposing of human or animal faeces)
  • After changing a baby’s diaper (nappy) and disposing of the faeces.
  • Immediately after touching raw food when preparing meals (e.g. chicken or other meat).
  • Before preparing and handling cooked/ready-to-eat food.
  • Before eating food or feeding children.
  • After contact with contaminated surfaces (e.g. rubbish bins, cleaning cloths, food-contaminated surfaces).
  • After handling pets and domestic animals.
  • After wiping or blowing the nose or sneezing into the hands (respiratory hygiene).
  • After handling soiled tissues (your own or others’, e.g. children).

Critical situations in healthcare activity include:

  • Before and after contact with an infected wound.
  • After contact with blood or body fluids (e.g. vomit).
  • Before and after dressing wounds.
  • Before giving care to an ‘at risk’ person (e.g. attending delivery, attending a baby).
  • After giving care to an infected person.

Face hygiene

  • Our face reveals our daily practice of personal hygiene.
  • Face hygiene includes all parts of the face.
  • The most important area to keep clean is the eyes.
  • The eye discharges protective fluids that could dry and accumulate around the eye.
  • They are visible when a person gets up in the morning.
  • The organic substance of the eye discharge can attract flies and this is dangerous because the fly is a carrier (vector) of trachoma and conjunctivitis.
  • A person should wash their face every morning in order to remove all dirt that they have come in contact with during the course of the day.
  • This will keep your face clean all day.
  • Children are advised to wash their face frequently.
  • Never share your face towel with others.

Fingernail and toenail hygiene (nail care)

  • A nail is hard tissue that constantly grows.
  • Long fingernails tend to accumulate or trap dirt on the underside.
  • The dirt could be as a result of defecation or touching infected and contaminated surfaces.
  • Keeping nails trimmed and in good shape weekly is important in maintaining good health.
  • Clip nails short along their shape but do not cut them so close that it damages the skin.
  • Razor blades and fingernail cutters or scissors are used to cut nails.
  • Nail cutters should not be shared with others.

Ear hygiene

  • Ear wax accumulates in the ear canal that leads from the outer ear to the ear drum.
  • As the secretion comes out of the ear it collects dust particles from the air.
  • Daily washing with soap and water is enough to keep the outer ear clean.
  • Do not reach farther than you can with your little finger into your ear.
  • Putting in hairpins, safety pins or blunt-edged things for cleaning purposes might harm the ear.
  • If you feel wax has accumulated and is plugging your ears and interfering with hearing, consult your doctor.

Hair hygiene (hair care)

  • The hair follicles from which the hair grows produce oil from the sebaceous glands that keeps the hair smooth.
  • The scalp (the skin covering the head) also has numerous sweat glands and is a surface for the accumulation of dead skin cells.
  • The oil, sweat and dead cells all add together and can make the hair greasy and look dirty unless you wash it regularly.
  • Poor hair hygiene could cause dandruff and skin infections such as Tinea capitis.
  • Dandruff is dead skin on the scalp that comes off in tiny flakes when sebaceous glands produce too much oil and accumulates on the scalp.
  • Head hair is a good harbour for head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) and nits (eggs of head lice).
  • The head louse is a tiny insect that lives by sucking blood.
  • Children are especially prone to lice infestation.
  • Lice spread from one head to another when there is close contact as in school environments.
  • They make the scalp itchy and are a cause of annoyance, irritation and embarrassment.
  • Shaving of the head hair is possible in cases of heavy lice infestation.
  • Sharing of blades with others, however, should be discouraged.

The recommended procedures for cleaning the hair are:

  • Use clean water to wash your hair regularly (at least twice weekly, preferably once every other day) with body soap or shampoo, whichever is available.
  • Massage your scalp well. This will remove dead skin cells, excess oil and dirt.
  • Rinse well with clear water.
  • Conditioner is helpful if you have longer hair as it makes the hair smoother and easier to comb, but hair doesn’t need to have conditioner.
  • Use a wide toothed comb for wet hair as it is easier to pull through.
  • Dry the hair and the head with a clean towel. Never share a towel with someone else.
  • Comb the hair to look beautiful for the day.

Foot hygiene (foot care)

  • We spend a lot of time on our feet.
  • Our feet sweat as we walk day and night and the sweat accumulates on all foot surfaces and between the toes.
  • The sweat may stain the shoes and can produce an awful odour.
  • As well as bacteria, sweat also encourages fungal growth between the toes.
  • This is called athlete’s foot.
  • The symptoms of athlete’s foot are scaly skin and sores or blisters, which start between the toes but can often spread to the soles of the feet.
  • This is a minor irritation and often disappears by itself but sometimes these cracks and sores become the site for other infections.
  • The feet should be washed daily, or at least twice weekly.
  • Foot hygiene is also important in the treatment of podoconiosis, sometimes known as mossy foot.
  • This disease causes swelling in the feet and lower legs and is common in certain parts of Kenya.
  • It is a reaction in the body to very small soil particles that have passed through the skin of the feet.
  • Podoconiosis can easily be prevented by wearing shoes at all times but, if someone is affected, careful washing and drying of the feet is an important part of the treatment.
  • Toenails do not have much role in the transmission of diseases.
  • However, they can accumulate dirt and this can increase the potential for bacterial and fungal breeding e.g. athlete’s foot.

Armpit and bottom hygiene

  • These are body parts that easily get sweaty and where ventilation is very poor.
  • After puberty, our sweat gains a specific and unpleasant odour which may be offensive to others.
  • The armpits and the bottom should be washed daily.
  • Anal cleansing is the hygienic practice of cleaning the anus after defecation.
  • The anus and buttocks may be cleansed with clean toilet paper or similar paper products.
  • Water may be used.
  • Hands must be washed with soap afterwards.
  • The use of rags, leaves, stones, maize cobs, or sticks must be discouraged as these materials can damage the skin.

Clothes hygiene

  • We usually have two layers of clothing.
  • The internal layer is underwear (or underclothes) such as pants, vest and T-shirt.
  • These are right next to our skin and collect sweat and dead skin cells, which can stain the cloth.
  • Bacteria love to grow on this dirt and produce a bad smell in addition to the specific odour of the sweat.
  • Underwear must be washed more frequently than the outer layer of clothing.
  • Clothes hygiene is an important aspect of one’s dignity.
  • Changing used clothes for clean ones every day is recommended.
  • Washing dirty clothes requires adequate clean water, detergents (solid or powdered soap) and washing facilities.
  • If possible, the washed clothes should be ironed to help the destruction of body lice and nits.
  • Boiling water or insecticides can be used to destroy clothes infestation.
  • Frequent changing into clean clothes might not always be possible in poor households.
  • However, the frequency of changing is advised to be twice a week for internal wear and 12 times per week for outerwear.
  • The frequency mainly depends on the intensity of dirt on the clothes, and that depends on the climate and type of activity.

Menstrual hygiene (Personal hygiene for women)

  • The vagina is able to clean itself; no special care is needed other than washing the external genitals.
  • Washing the outer genital area with clean water must be a daily practice.
  • Change tampons and sanitary napkins or pads regularly.
  • Always wash your hands before and after handling a tampon or pad.
  • Clean and soft cloths can be used in place of sanitary pads.
  • The use of dirty cloths must be discouraged.
  • Menstrual blood-absorbing items must be properly disposed of in a burial pit or other appropriate method.

Care of the body

  • Bathe regularly
    • Wash your body and your hair often. 
    • Your body is constantly shedding skin, that skin needs to come off, otherwise, it will accumulate and can cause illnesses.
  • Trim your nails.
    • Keeping your finger and toenails trimmed and in good shape will prevent problems such as hang nails and infected nail beds.
    • Feet that are clean and dry are less likely to contract athlete’s foot.
  • Brush and floss.
    • Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal.
    • At the very least, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.
    • Brushing minimizes the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
    • Flossing, too, helps maintain strong, healthy gums.
    • The bacteria that builds up and causes gum disease can go straight to the heart and cause very serious valve problems.
    • Unhealthy gums also can cause your teeth to loosen, which makes it difficult to chew and to eat properly.
  • Wash your hands.
    • Washing your hands before preparing or eating food, after going to the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after handling garbage, goes a long way toward preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses.
    • Keep a hygiene product, like an alcohol-based sanitizing gel, handy for when soap and water isn’t available.

Ways of enhancing personal appearance

  • proper care of the body by maintaining cleanliness
  • wearing clean well maintained clothes
  • keeping the hair neat
  • correct use of cosmetics,jewellery and accessories
  • Using cosmetics,body creams and deodorants appropriately.

Care of personal items

  • Personal items are your private things that are essential for your hygiene, grooming and good health.
  • Personal items include handkerchief, hair-comb, hairbrush, toothbrush, socks and towel.

How should personal items be handled?

  • Personal items should always be kept clean. They should be washed with warm water and soap. Handkerchiefs, underwaer, towels and socks should then be spread on the clothes line to dry.
  • Combs and hairbrushes can be cleaned by wiping them using a wet piece of cloth.
  • A Toothbrush should be cleaned by immersing it in warm water. This should be done regularly after use.
  • Personal items should not be shared. They can transmit skin   diseases such as ringworms from one person to another.
  • Personal cleanliness contributes towards proper hygiene and good health.

Personal items include:

  • handkerchief  for wiping the nose
  • socks protecting the feet
  • toothbrush cleaning the mouth
  • comb combing the hair
  • hairbrush brushing the hair

Choice, use and misuse of cosmetics

Cosmetics are prepared substances which are applied on the body by both men and women to enhance appearance.

They include:

  • Lips stick - Lipstick is a cosmetic product containing pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients that apply color, texture, and protection to the lips. Many colors and types of lipstick exist. Some lipsticks are also lip balms, to add color and hydration.
  • Mascara - a cosmetic substance for darkening, lengthening, curling, coloring, and thickening the eyelashes, applied with a brush or rod, sometimes used on eyebrows too.
  • Rouge - a red powder or cream used as a cosmetic for colouring the cheeks or lips.
  • Body lotion - A cleansing lotion designed for the body, to help keep the skin smooth, applied after bathing.
  • Deodorant - a substance which removes or conceals unpleasant smells, especially bodily odours.
  • Petroleum jelly - a translucent jelly consisting of a mixture of hydrocarbons, used as a lubricant or ointment.
  • Eye shadow - Eye shadow is a cosmetic that is applied on the eyelids and under the eyes. It is commonly used to make the wearer's eyes stand out or look more attractive.
  • Nail polish - Nail polish definition, a polish of quick-drying lacquer, either clear or colored, used to paint the fingernails or toenails.
  • Hair colour - a dye or tint for the hair.
  • Hair oil - Hair oil is oil applied to the hair as a cosmetic, conditioner, styling aid, restorative or tonic.
  • Eye Liner - a cosmetic applied as a line round the eyes to make them appear larger or more noticeable.

Choice of Cosmetics

  • Choose according to your skin type and complexion.
  • Choose a cosmetic that provides adequate information, for example, expiry date, composition and side effects.
  • Avoid cosmetics that contain mercury and hydroquinone as they are harmful to the body.
  • Choose environmental friendly deodorants and anti-perspirant perfumes.

Use of Cosmetics

  • Use cosmetics sparingly.
  • All make-up should be removed before retiring to bed.
  • Do not wear cosmetic on a skin that has acne, is broken or infected.
  • Chipped nail vanish should be removed immediately as it is unsightly.
  • Keep make up fresh by reapplying it when it wears off.

Misuse of Cosmetics

  • Use cosmetics correctly and in the right area.
  • Avoid sharing cosmetics as it may be harmful to your skin.
  • Excessive use of make up makes one look unattractive.
  • Do not mix cosmetics as it may be detrimental to one's health.

Changes in adolescence

Physical Changes in Boys

  • The physical changes of puberty for a boy usually start with enlargement of the testicles and sprouting of pubic hair,
  • Rapid physical body growth between ages 10 and 16
  • arms, legs, hands, and feet also grow faster than the rest of his body.
  • body shape begins to change as shoulders broaden and gains weight and muscle.
  • voice deepens
  • Hair grows around the private parts, armpits and beard
  • penis and testes gets larger

Physical Changes in Girls

  • Puberty generally starts earlier for girls, some time between 8 and 13 years of age.
  • For most girls, the first evidence of puberty is breast development,
  • growth of pubic hair and hair in armpits
  • Hips and thighs broaden
  • Start getting monthly period

Emotional Changes in Adolescents

  • Strong feelings and intense emotions at different times. Moods might seem unpredictable. These emotional ups and downs can lead to increased conflict. An adolescent's mind is still learning how to control and express emotions in a grown-up way
  • more sensitive to emotions: young people get better at reading and processing other people’s emotions as they get older. While they’re developing these skills, they can sometimes misread facial expressions or body language
  • more self-conscious, especially about physical appearance and changes. Teenage self-esteem is often affected by appearance - or by how teenagers think they look. As they develop, teens might compare their bodies with those of friends and peers
  • goes through a “invincible” stage of thinking and acting as if nothing bad could happen to him. An adolescent's decision-making skills are still developing, and is still learning about the consequences of actions.

Social Changes in Adolescents

  • searching for identity: young people are busy working out who they are and where they fit in the world. This search can be influenced by gender, peer group, cultural background, media, school and family expectations
  • seeking more independence: this is likely to influence the decisions an adolescent makes and the relationships an adolescent has with family and friends
  • seeking more responsibility, both at home and at school
  • looking for new experiences: the nature of teenage brain development means that teenagers are likely to seek out new experiences and engage in more risk-taking behaviour. But they’re still developing control over their impulses thinking more about “right” and “wrong”: An adolescent will start developing a stronger individual set of values and morals. Teenagers also learn that they’re responsible for their own actions, decisions and consequences. They question more things.
  • influenced more by friends, especially when it comes to behaviour, sense of self and self-esteem
  • starting to develop and explore a sexual identity: An adolescent might start to have romantic relationships or go on “dates”. These are not necessarily intimate relationships. For some young people, intimate or sexual relationships don’t occur until later on in life
  • communicating in different ways: the internet, cell phones and social media can significantly influence how an adolescent communicates with friends and learns about the world. 

Personal hygiene for adolescents

  • When children reach puberty, a new type of sweat gland develops in their armpits and genital areas.
  • Skin bacteria feed on the sweat this type of gland produces, and this can lead to body odour (BO).
  • It is important to bath body and changes clothes regularly, especially after physical activity, it’ll help to reduce the build-up of bacteria and avoid body odour.
  • Changing underwear and other clothes worn next to the skin is especially important.
  • These clothes collect dead skin cells, sweat and body fluids, which bacteria love to eat, that’s why they get smelly.
  • The onset of puberty is also a good time to start using antiperspirant deodorant.
  • Smelly feet and shoes can also be a problem.
  • This can be avoided by giving feet extra attention in the shower, and making sure they’re completely dry before putting shoes on.
  • If available, it’s a good idea to alternate shoes and to wear cotton socks instead of ones made from synthetic fibres.
  • Good dental and mouth hygiene is as important
  • Brushing teeth twice a day, flossing and going to the dentist regularly are vital to avoid bad breath, gum problems and tooth decay.
  • For girls, they need to change her pad or tampon regularly, and to dispose of it hygienically.
  • For boys, they need to clean up hygienically after having wet dreams.
  • Good genital hygiene and cleaning around the private parts can help prevent infections like Urinary tract infections.

Choice, use and care of clothes and shoes- leather and canvas shoes

Choice of Clothes and shoes

  • The basic requirements for a human being are food, clothing and a home, after food person looks for second important need i.e. clothing.
  • People expect much more from clothing than to satisfy our basic needs.
  • In some societies clothing expresses wealth, states, age, occasion, gender, etc.

Factors that influence Textile/Clothing and shoes Selection:

  1. Social Factors

These include the following..

  • The place where the person lives (urban or rural)
  • Cultural background
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Occasion
  • Social states

The place where the person lives (urban or rural)

  • Depending on the area and place where a person lives the pattern, shape, style of clothing changes. In urban areas because of very close cultural interaction between the various sections of people, the pattern & style of clothing is cosmopolitan in nature. But in other hand in rural area the human clothing is influenced by regional factors, eg people who live at the coast dress differently from people who live in the hilly areas.

Cultural background:

  • Different cultures or religions have different modes of dressing


  • Clothes and shoes are designed differently to cater for both genders. Choice is therefore made depending with the gender.


  • Some jobs have a stipulated dressing code, eg bankers are expected to wear official clothes, and we can easily identify a policeman from the official uniform.



Generally human select clothing depends upon the occasion namely formal wear and casual wear. In office people wear formal dress & in leisure stripe be wear casual wear.
formal wear and casual wear
Fig: Formal wear and casual wear
F) Social status:
The human being always interested to show his social status through clothing, hence in past king always wearing a royal clothing.
King clothing
Fig: King clothing
2) Economic Factors:
In economics factors the important components are economic condition of society economic status of individual & availability of technology & raw material. If there is change in economic condition of society than it reflects on clothing. We know that the pattern of poor & rich peoples are different some people select clothing depends on affordability, & some people selects clothing to show his economic status.
selects clothing to show his economic status
Fig: Selects clothing to show his economic status

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