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The effects of poor hygiene on a person

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

There are many lifestyle factors and personal behaviours that can affect a person's health and well-being. One of these lifestyle factors is hygiene and how, if a person has poor hygiene, this can impact a person's physical, social and emotional health.

What does it mean to have poor hygiene?

Hygiene is about how a person looks after themselves, keeping themselves clean and well-groomed; brushing hair, brushing teeth and showering/bathing regularly.

Why would a person have poor hygiene?

There are many reasons why a person may have poor hygiene.

  • They may be suffering from depression and so have no interest in keeping themselves clean and tidy.

  • They may be suffering from dementia and so may not always remember when to wash and how to keep clean.

  • They may be a young person who does not have support at home to educate them about the importance of showering/bathing regularly and washing clothes often.

  • They may be neglected by a parent or carer who does not encourage the person to wash often and take pride in their appearance.

  • There may be teenage rebellion from the young person who rejects the encouragement and messages from the parents about the importance of having good hygiene.

How does having poor hygiene affect a person's physical, social and emotional health?

Impact on Physical Health

If a person has poor hygiene they could experience ongoing illnesses. This may be because germs and body lice are not being treated or washed away and so the person keeps reinfecting themselves. The person may suffer from rashes and sores on parts of their body due to a build up of skin bacteria.

Impact on Social Health

If a person has poor hygiene they could experience social problems, like isolation from friends and from family members. If a person has a repulsive smell, dirty teeth, bad breath, tooth decay or dirty and smelly clothing, the person may find it hard to make friends and maintain relationships.

Impact on Emotional Health

If a person has poor hygiene they could experience a feeling of low self-worth and low self-esteem as other people are staying away from them as they smell bad, have bad breath and dirty finger nails. This may cause the person with poor hygiene to feel isolated and alone and so they do not feel so good about themselves.

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