[Gr. hygieinē (technē), healthful (art)]

1. Sanitation.
2. Healthfulness.
3. The study of health and observance of health rules.

bronchial hygiene

Any of several techniques to help patients clear mucus from their airways and improve respiration. It is used in patients who have copious, tenacious, or thick sputum, e.g., those affected by bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, occluded endotracheal tubes, or some pneumonias. Techniques employed include chest percussion, coughing and huffing, flutter valves, positive expiratory pressure therapy, and postural drainage.

community hygiene

SEE: Public health

dental hygiene

SEE: Oral hygiene.

hand hygiene

Any of several techniques to clean the hands, including handwashing with plain and antimicrobial soaps and the use of alcohol-based hand rubs. Hand hygiene is the single most effective method of decreasing nosocomial infections. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that if hands are not visibly soiled, alcohol preparations containing between 60% and 90% ethanol or isopropanol kill microorganisms more effectively than plain or antimicrobial soap and are not as harsh. After the hand rub is applied to the palm of one hand, the hands and fingers should be rubbed together, covering all surfaces, until they are entirely dry. Hands that are visibly dirty or contaminated should still be washed with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. The need for hand hygiene is not eliminated by the use of gloves. Contact dermatitis caused by alcohol hand rubs is very uncommon. However, with increasing use of such products by health care personnel, true allergic reactions will occasionally be encountered. Hospital computers can serve as a reservoir for drug-resistant bacteria such as vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Descriptive text is not available for this imageHealth care personnel should avoid wearing artificial nails and should keep nails less than a quarter of an inch long if they care for patients at high risk of acquiring infections, e.g., patients in ICUs, transplant units, or protective isolation.

Video for Hand Washing: Soap and water

industrial hygiene

That branch of hygiene that deals primarily with health of industrial workers, esp. study, treatment, and prevention of occupational diseases.

mental hygiene

The science of developing and maintaining mental health and preventing mental illness.

oral hygiene

Any of several preventive techniques to avoid pathological conditions of the teeth and oral cavity. These include discontinuing the use of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco (snuff); brushing the teeth and using dental floss daily; and removal of impacted food debris. Oral hygiene may be performed with manual or mechanical devices such as toothbrushes, floss, and mechanical toothbrushes. Edentulous people with partial restorations or false teeth should be sure that their appliances fit properly and are kept clean. Removal of plaque by a dental hygienist at least twice each year is also important for prevention of periodontal disease.
SYN: SEE: dental hygiene
SEE: mouth care; SEE: dental hygienist; SEE: toothbrushing


The influence of behavioral patterns or sleeping environment on the quality and quantity of sleep. Persons with insomnia not caused by a known disease may find that the following may assist in obtaining a good night's sleep: establishing a routine time to go to bed; avoiding trying to sleep; using practices that assist in going to sleep such as reading, watching television, or listening to music; sleeping in a dark room, free of noise; and avoiding caffeine and excessive food or drink before bedtime.