What role does the development of good hygiene practices have in home economics? Hygiene can play a very large part in the maintenance of your household.
We all think of Home Economics and automatically think of cooking and sewing. Do you ever think of your personal hygiene as a skill that falls into this category?
Home Economics Hygiene: Learned at Home
All of us grew up and learned our habits of personal hygiene from our family. I have seen and lived in very different environments where some live at polar opposites of the spectrum. It’s honestly amazing how something that most of the developed world sees as innate is truly just not the case.
The development of basic personal hygiene is dependent upon a lot of factors within the household. How were your parents raised? What is your income level (i.e. can your home afford proper products)? What habits for daily cleanliness have been instituted in your home environment?
Showering daily, brushing your teeth regularly, and hand washing may be things that you got tired of hearing as a child, but they weren’t punishing you by making you do any of these things. They are simple habits that make a much larger impact on both you and the world around you.
Home Economics Hygiene: Health
Let’s go back to elementary school for a moment. Remember that wonderful kid you knew that always had a sleeve full of crunchy snot down his arm? Have you inadvertantly turned into him?
We get busy. Our lives our busier than they have ever been. But being prepared and making our hygiene a focus should be on the High Priority list. Take the time to grab a tissue. Keep them on your person if you know you may need them. Keep extras to share with others. (They’re probably going to steal them anyhow if it’s like anywhere I have ever worked.)
Taking the time to shower, wash your hands, use a tissue, and not be generally gross will keep you healthier in the long term. Germs are everywhere. We develop the skills to fight them by making the effort to fend them off. Eventually you will make them into habits.
Home Economics Hygiene: Safety
Believe it or not, your hygiene can be a safety issue… not just for yourself but for your family and friends. Keeping a clean kitchen and avoiding cross-contamination of different foods can be the difference in life and death in some people.
Think of those who have food allergies. Did you know that if you eat a bag of nuts using your hands and do not wash your hands, the allergen is still being carried and can adversely affect someone with a nut allergy?
Making sure that you are aware of the danger of cross-contamination both in your food preparation and in other aspects is a very important aspect of safety. Do not cut up vegetables on the same cutting board that you just cut up raw chicken on. Make sure you sanitize your cutlery and other surfaces that can hold germs and bacteria.
It’s common courtesy, and honestly just gross, to not have a kitchen fit to feed people in. Keep a spray bottle of bleach or other disinfecting spray near your food prep surfaces. Your safety, and your health, will thank you.
Home Economics Hygiene: Social Skills
Proper daily hygiene makes you a much better socialite. No one wants to have a conversation with someone with bad breath. Or body odor. I personally will do anything in my power to avoid any foul odor.
Being in social settings can be close quarters. You do not want to have to worry about your smell (body odor or perfumes) offending someone else.
Most of us think of sweat and bad odors in these settings, but I want to point out overuse of perfumes and colognes also.
I used to work with a woman who wore entirely too much perfume. You could smell when she got to work before you could see her. And apparently whatever she wore caused an allergic reaction in me. I’m very sensitive to perfumes in all kinds of consumer products, from fabric softeners to body care items. Overdoing this can also make you just as likely to be avoided by your peers.
All things in moderation!
Hygiene: Marketable Skill
This one may seem odd, but it is more true than you may realize. Knowing good hygiene practices can be put on your resume in a variety of ways.
Maybe you do not want to work in the food service industry, where you can see where it’s an obvious skill. But what about other areas that may still have a standard of quality and cleanliness that you don’t see readily?
Say you work in a factory that manufactures food packaging. Say you work in a factory that uses harmful chemicals. All of these areas require hygienic practices in order to keep your work environment clean and safe. Handling a chemical improperly causes a lot of workplace injuries due to chemical burns or spills.
Having basic knowledge of how to maintain a standard of cleanliness can help you when you are looking for a new job that may have hidden dangers.
Hygiene: Way of Life
Having good hygiene is much more important than most people understand. Honestly, it’s just good manners too. Everyone deserves a basic level of expectation where hygiene is concerned. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.