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Answers to Hygiene Myths

Updated on February 28, 2015

What hygiene habits are truth and which are myths?

We function under certain health habits and hygiene perceptions every day- whether you realize them or not. We learn them from our grandparents, parents, friends, lovers and "health experts." We force ourselves to buy certain products, follow weird procedures and worry about health consequences if we don't do them.

How many times have you stopped and thought about whether your health assumptions are correct? We are going to go through 7 hygiene questions that are encountered on a frequent basis. We will also provide a brief discussion on each topic.

If you would like additional questions investigated- let us know! Message OUTFOXprevention or email We hope you enjoy the information. Check out our other lenses... Find out if you are a Germaphobe. Or find out how to prepare for a disaster in regards to hygiene.

Soap Kills Germs: Myth or Fact?

Think it is too easy of a question? Read on.

Myth! Plain, normal soap does not actually have the ability to kill bacteria. Instead, it cleans hands by lifting the bacteria off the skin surface and thus forcing them be rinsed off with water, down the drain. To actually 'kill' germs, you would need to use an 'anti-bacterial soap'.

The question then becomes if anti-bacterial soap is good for us. Some claim that it is helping the growth and popularity of super germs, or germs that do not react to lesser cleaners. Really, nothing should replace good old hand washing with warm water and soap!

Some information sourced from


How many hygiene beliefs do you have that may be myths?

Having Good Germs Will Protect You from Bad Germs: Myth or Fact?

Myth! So-called 'good germs' are the bacteria normally found on your skin and which co-exist with your body in harmony. 'Bad germs', on the other hand, are pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria which can cause infection and illness. Good and bad germs are always present on your body and the relative numbers are different for different people. However, having good germs on your body does not protect you from bad germs - anybody can become contaminated with bad germs at any time. Note also that even 'good germs' in the wrong place, at the wrong time, can cause serious infection and illness - such as is the case with people who have AIDS.

Some information sourced from

Hand Sanitizers are the Best for Killing Germs: Myth or Fact?

Fact! Hand sanitizers are one of the most efficient ways of killing bacteria - providing that they contain a minimum of 60 to 95% alcohol. Alcohol can kill viruses such as rhinovirus, herpes, HIV, RSV, influenza, hepatitis; multi-drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA and VRE, fungus and tuberculosis. In fact, alcohol rub sanitisers are so effective, they can kill up to 99.9% of all bacteria on hands within 30 seconds of application. However, they are not really appropriate when your hands are visibly dirty or contaminated with blood - in this case, use soap and water, followed by the sanitizer if necessary.

It is best to wash you hands with warm water, soap, and a clean towel when available!

Some information sourced from

Children get Head Lice when They have Poor Personal Hygiene: Myth or Fact?

Myth! Even children who are scrupulously clean and have very good personal hygiene can still get lice. Head lice is transmitted through direct head-to-head contact or through contact with clothing, such as hats, scarves and coats - or even personal grooming items, like hair brushes and towels.

Some information sourced from

Killing Germs on Your Hands will Lower Your Immunity: Myth of Fact?

Myth! Your body is always covered with micro-organisms, as well as your environment, and you cannot kill all of the micro-organisms on your skin. In fact, they are beneficial as they help to stimulate your immune response. By killing some germs on your hands will not lower your overall immunity but it will help to prevent infections.

Some information sourced from

Bad Breath Isn't Necessarily Caused by Poor Oral Hygiene: Myth or Fact?

mouth - this is one reason why most people have bad breath in the mornings, as saliva production slows during sleep. Saliva acts as a mouth rinse and also contains compound which kill bacteria and buffer their waster products, so that when mouths become dry, bacteria have a better environment to grow and produce more waste - all of which leads to bad breath. Some people suffer from chronically dry mouths (a condition called 'xerostomia') which can also be a side-effect of certain medications, such as anti-histamines, blood pressure medicines, anti-depressants and diuretics.

Another common cause of bad breath is periodontal disease (gum disease) as this provides 'pockets' between the teeth and gums for bacteria to live in. Sinus conditions can also contribute to bad breath as they can lead to discharge dripping down the back of the throat and onto the back of the tongue. In addition to the foul taste and smell of this discharge, bacteria will also feed on this discharge and create more foul-smelling waste.

Some information sourced from

Using Alcohol Hand Sanitizers will Cause Bacterial Mutation and Resistance: Myth or Fact?

Myth! Alcohol kills bacteria and dead micro-organisms cannot mutate. Therefore using hand sanitisers do not encourage resistance to antibiotics or mutations into more virulent forms of bacteria.

Some information sourced from

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Compile hygiene kits so you can maintain optimal infection control conditions during a disaster
Compile hygiene kits so you can maintain optimal infection control conditions during a disaster
Compile hygiene kits so you can maintain optimal infection control conditions during a disaster

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