It could be argued that improper hygiene has killed more people than anything else in world history.
Many who have died from various diseases through the centuries either didn’t know how to avoid those illnesses or were physically unable to. But proper hygiene could have saved many of them.
Few of us are overly concerned about our lives ending due to improper hygiene. But the fact is, many have perished due to COVID-19 the past two years and from the flu for many years because they didn’t take precautions. Including their personal hygiene.
Today I want to talk about the importance of hygiene for staying healthy and safe for what promises to be some challenging years ahead.
The cleaner the better
There are countless viruses floating around out there – as well as harmful bacteria. Good hygiene limits the spread of germs and infectious diseases.
In addition to strengthening our immune system, we should keep personal hygiene top of mind. The cleaner your hands are, for example, the less likely you will be to transfer anything harmful to your mouth, nose or eyes.
Whether you are home or out and about, you can expect injuries as small as cuts on your hands to something more crucial such as gashes elsewhere on your body. The cleaner you are to start, the less likely you are to pick up a bacterial infection or worse.
The best hygiene hack I know of is the Patriot Pure Sanitizing Solution Machine. Using just salt and water, you can create a powerful disinfectant in minutes. It will destroy germs without leaving a toxic residue behind.
2 kits are better than one
You should also build a hygiene kit. It will help you stay clean and healthy, no matter your situation. It could mean the difference between sickness and health during emergency conditions. These kits are often overlooked in survival planning.
Actually, I recommend putting together two DIY hygiene kits. A small, lightweight kit for your bug-out bag that has supplies for several days, and a larger, more complete kit for your home survival supplies that contains hygiene items needed to survive up to three months.
Both kits should contain supplies needed to bathe and cover your basic haircare and dental needs. With additional sanitary supplies for women and diapering supplies if you have young children. Your larger home kit should contain items to aid you in a longer duration such as haircutting supplies.
The two lists below contain the basics of what each kit should contain. Each member of your family should have their own personal hygiene kit. The home hygiene kit should contain enough for your entire family plus additional supplies if you have storage room.
Bug-out bag hygiene kit
This kit should be stored in a waterproof bag inside your bug-out bag, and should include the following:
- Toilet paper – or travel-sized baby wipes will also work.
- Antibacterial wipes – any brand will do, but look for lightweight packaging.
- Hand sanitizer – look for an alcohol-based sanitizer, as it can double as a fire-starter.
- Fine-tooth comb – the finer the comb, the easier it will be to remove debris plus ticks and other bugs from hair.
- Travel-sized soap – you can use bar form, but liquid castile soap is recommended for its multi-use factor.
- Wash cloth and small towel – consider microfiber, as they are lightweight, absorb more moisture and dry faster.
- Toothbrush/toothpaste/dental floss – the smaller the better. The goal here is to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. So skip the mouthwash unless you require antiseptic wash for cleanliness.
- Nail clippers and metal nail file – skip the emery board as it retains moisture.
- Neosporin – this will not only be for small cuts, but also can be used as lip balm.
- Alcohol wipes and bandages – you don’t need an entire box, just add a few.
- Pain reliever – much like above, just add a small quantity. This isn’t to serve as a first-aid kit, but having a few small health-related items won’t hurt.
- Small hand mirror – remember, pick something as lightweight as possible.
- Waste bags – if you don’t want to purchase these, you can use small sandwich baggies or pet waste bags.
Home prep hygiene kit
This kit should be stored alongside other survival supplies, and should include the following:
- Liquid castile soap – this biodegradable soap can be used for bathing, shampoo and shaving. And it can be used as a multipurpose cleaning solution to wash surfaces, laundry and even dishes.
- Washcloths and bath towels
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Razor, blades and shaving gel
- Hairbrush and fine tooth hair comb
- Hair ties
- Toothbrush/toothpaste/mouthwash/dental floss
- Nail clippers and metal nail files
- Barber comb and scissors
- Tweezers – this isn’t only for personal grooming, but also beneficial for removing splinters, etc.
- Alcohol swabs and bandages – even with a first-aid kit containing these items, I still recommend adding them to your hygiene supplies.
- Hand sanitizer
- Grease remover or lime oil – this removes grease, sap and soot
- Facial tissue
- Cotton balls and Q-tips
- Antibacterial wipes
- Women’s sanitary supplies – consider purchasing reusable supplies and the cleaning items needed to maintain hygienic use. This has a potential to be less expensive and also can reduce space in your supplies.
- Diaper supplies – if you may have a child or an elderly person in your group. Think long-term, not just today.
- Toilet paper/toilet wipes
- Camp toilet set – in case an emergency leaves you without functional plumbing, you should have a back-up plan. If your toilet set doesn’t include a portable bidet, you may want to purchase one. This will help immensely with maintaining hygienic conditions and cut down on toilet paper waste.
- Waste bags/garbage bags
- Portable shower – if you don’t already have one in your emergency supplies, consider adding one. Cleanliness is crucial to your survival, and you want to make sure you have the option to shower.
The primary purpose of hygiene kits is to maintain health and prevent potential disease. If you or someone in your group needs additional items to accomplish this, now is the time to get them added to your supplies.
Keep in mind, your small hygiene kit should remain as light as possible so it doesn’t weigh down your bug-out bag. Refrain from adding too many unnecessary items. Save most optional items for your home hygiene kit.
Here are some suggestions for dealing with cuts and wounds you might sustain in a survival situation.
- Try to practice good hygiene over your entire body every day.
- Take a first-aid training class.
- Bandage, cover or seal all open cuts or abrasions, no matter how small.
- Try to keep wounds out of contaminated water.
- Wash even small wounds with purified water and salt daily.
- If you have the supplies, bandage wounds with antiseptic ointments, honey or salt.
- In cold weather conditions, do whatever it takes to stay as warm as possible and remember to stay well hydrated.
Poor hygiene produces problems
Why is it so important to practice good hygiene? Poor personal hygiene transforms the body into a perfect environment for germs to live long and prosper.
It also makes our bodies more vulnerable to infection. Failing to practice good hygiene can lead to a number of problems. Including diarrhea and gastroenteritis, respiratory infections including the flu and common cold, and staph infections.
As well as ringworm, scabies, lice, trachoma and other eye infections, athlete’s foot and tooth decay.
Whether you are able to hunker down during an emergency or have to bug-out, practicing good hygiene can make a world of difference.
Check out my favorite hygiene hack here