Good hygiene aims to prevent illness caused by infectious agents
When you get sick, do you push on as usual? Stay home? Perhaps you'll see the doctor and take some medicine. Or perhaps you will need extra medical care in a hospital. Unfortunately, some people will also acquire an additional infection in hospital.
The cost of illness is enormous. It causes personal suffering, loss of individual output and income, and costs the Australian economy billions in health expenditure (4% of GDP in 2009/10 - Source 1) and lost productivity (an estimated $34.8 billion per annum annum - Source 1).
Infectious disease is one cause of illness.
Today, common infectious diseases in Australia include gastrointestinal diseases, colds and flu. In the past, diseases such as polio, measles, turbuculosis, scarlet fever and whooping cough claimed many lives. In developing countries, i.e. many African nations, many of these diseases still cause death, incapacity, and suffering. In fact, infectious disease is the leading cause of death in developing countries, whereas it is a minor cause of death in affluent countries.
In Australia, public hygiene measures including provision of safe water, removal of waste garbage and sewage, and improvements in living conditions have played a huge part in reducing the incidence of infectious disease - by 96% from 1907 to 2007.
Personal hygiene, home hygiene, hygienic public places and industrial hygiene practices also all play vital roles in reducing the incidence of infectious disease.
Good hygiene also helps to keep you looking and feeling good and keeps your surroundings clean and comfortable.
The importance of good mental health cannot be underestimated. Good hygiene can help you feel good in your own skin, giving you confidence and assisting your social interactions. Good hygiene also helps to make your home, and the public areas you visit, comfortable and welcoming environments.
Good hygiene would not be possible without high quality, effective hygiene products, as well as good hygiene practices.
Source 1: Commonwealth of Australia 2010, Australia to 2050: future challenges, CanPrint Communications Pty Ltd
Source 2: Wesley Corporate Health 2006, Future@Work Health Report: Employees and their Workplace