Home hygiene pertains to the hygiene practices that prevent or minimize disease and the spreading of disease in home (domestic) and in everyday life settings such as social settings, public transport, the work place, public places etc.
Hygiene in home and everyday life settings plays an important part in preventing spread of infectious diseases. It includes procedures used in a variety of domestic situations such as hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, food and water hygiene, general home hygiene(hygiene of environmental sites and surfaces), care of domestic animals, and home healthcare (the care of those who are at greater risk of infection).
At present, these components of hygiene tend to be regarded as separate issues, although all are based on the same underlying microbiological principles. Preventing the spread of infectious diseases means breaking the chain of infection transmission. The simple principle is that, if the chain of infection is broken, infection cannot spread. In response to the need for effective codes of hygiene in home and everyday life settings the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene has developed a risk-based approach (based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), which has come to be known as “targeted hygiene”. Targeted hygiene is based on identifying the routes of spread of pathogens in the home, and applying hygiene procedures at critical points at appropriate times to break the chain of infection.
The main sources of infection in the home are people (who are carriers or are infected), foods (particularly raw foods) and water, and domestic animals (in western countries more than 50% of homes have one or more pets). Additionally, sites that accumulate stagnant water—such as sinks, toilets, waste pipes, cleaning tools, face cloths—readily support microbial growth, and can become secondary reservoirs of infection, though species are mostly those that threaten “at risk” groups. Germs (potentially infectious bacteria, viruses etc.) are constantly shed from these sources via mucous, faeces, vomit, skin scales, etc. Thus, when circumstances combine, people become exposed, either directly or via food or water, and can develop an infection. The main “highways” for spread of germs in the home are the hands, hand and food contact surfaces, and cleaning cloths and utensils. Germs can also spread via clothing and household linens such as towels. Utilities such as toilets and wash basins, for example, were invented for dealing safely with human waste, but still have risks associated with them, which may become critical at certain times, e.g., when someone has sickness or diarrhea. Safe disposal of human waste is a fundamental need; poor sanitation is a primary cause of diarrhoeal disease in low income communities. Respiratory viruses and fungal spores are also spread via the air.
Good home hygiene means targeting hygiene procedures at critical points, at appropriate times, to break the chain of infection i.e. to eliminate germs before they can spread further. Because the “infectious dose” for some pathogens can be very small (10-100 viable units, or even less for some viruses), and infection can result from direct transfer from surfaces via hands or food to the mouth, nasal mucosa or the eye, ‘hygienic cleaning’ procedures should be sufficient to eliminate pathogens from critical surfaces. Hygienic cleaning can be done by:
Mechanical removal (i.e. cleaning) using a soap or detergent. To be effective as a hygiene measure, this process must be followed by thorough rinsing under running water to remove germs from the surface.
Using a process or product that inactivates the pathogens in situ. Germ kill is achieved using a “micro-biocidal” product i.e. a disinfectant or antibacterial product or waterless hand sanitizer, or by application of heat.
In some cases combined germ removal with kill is used, e.g. laundering of clothing and household linens such as towels and bedlinen.
Hygiene in the kitchen, bathroom and toilet
Routine cleaning of “contact” (hand, food and drinking water) sites and surfaces (such as toilet seats and flush handles, door and tap handles, work surfaces, bath and basin surfaces) in the kitchen, bathroom and toilet reduces the risk of spread of germs. The infection risk from the toilet itself is not high, provided it is properly maintained, although some splashing and aerosol formation can occur during flushing, particularly where someone in the family has diarrhoea. Germs can survive in the scum or scale left behind on baths and wash basins after washing and bathing.
Water left stagnant in the pipes of showers can be contaminated with germs that become airborne when the shower is turned on. If a shower has not been used for some time, it should be left to run at a hot temperature for a few minutes before use.
Thorough cleaning is important in preventing the spread of fungal infections. Moulds can live on wall and floor tiles and on shower curtains. Mould can be responsible for infections, cause allergic responses, deteriorate/damage surfaces and cause unpleasant odours. Primary sites of fungal growth are inanimate surfaces, including carpets and soft furnishings. Air-borne fungi are usually associated with damp conditions, poor ventilation or closed air systems.
Cleaning of toilets and hand wash facilities is important to prevent odours and make them socially acceptable. Social acceptability is an important part of encouraging people to use toilets and wash their hands.
Source and References http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_hygiene