20 Things you Didn’t Know About… Hygiene

20 Things you Didn’t Know About… Hygiene

 20 Things you Didn’t Know About… Hygiene Cleanliness is serious business; dirty hands killed a U.S. president. 1  “Hygiene” comes from Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health, cleanliness, and . . . the moon. Ancient Greek gods apparently worked double shifts. 2  The human body is home to some 1,000 species of bacteria. There are more germs on your body than people in the United States. 3  Not tonight dear, I just washed my hands: Antibacterial soap is no more effective at preventing infection than regular soap, and triclosan (the active ingredient) can mess with your sex hormones. 4  Save the germs! A study of over 11,000 children determined that an overly hygienic environment increases the risk of eczema and asthma. 5  Monks of the Jain Dharma (a minority religion in India) are forbidden to bathe any part of their bodies besides the hands and feet, believing the act of bathing might jeopardize the lives of millions of microorganisms. 6  It’s a good thing they’re monks. 7  Soap gets its name from the mythological Mount Sapo. Fat and wood ash from animal sacrifices there washed into the Tiber River, creating a rudimentary cleaning agent that aided women doing their washing. 8  Ancient Egyptians and Aztecs rubbed urine on their skin to treat cuts and burns. Urea, a key chemical in urine, is known to kill fungi and bacteria. 9  In a small victory for cleanliness, England’s medieval King Henry IV required his knights to bathe at least once in their lives—during their ritual knighthood ceremonies. 10  That’s their excuse, anyway: Excrement dumped out of windows into the streets in 18th-century London contaminated the city’s water supply and forced...
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