FOR all our healthy habits, there will be some that cross the line from fine to frankly nasty.
But these seemingly harmless, if gross, behaviours could actually have negative, knock-on effects.
‘Bad’ behaviours such as swearing could actually have a positive impact on your health[/caption]
Picking your nose, for example, has been found to triple the chance of catching coronavirus, according to a Dutch study of 200 healthcare workers.
Researchers found 17 per cent of nose-pickers developed Covid, compared to just 5.9 per cent of non-pickers.
Habits can be tricky to nip in the bud, with the European Journal of Social Psychology suggesting it takes 18 to 254 days to quit one.
But before you kick yours to the kerb, it is worth noting that some repulsive habits are actually good for your health.
Lucy Gornall reveals the “bad” behaviours you should do – or ditch.
And Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, explains why.
POTTY MOUTH: Swearing is thought to release stress and could dull the sensation of physical pain.
Dr Lee says: “Funnily enough, psychologists believe that swearing is good for us.
“It’s a way of releasing bottled-up emotion. It helps stop us from getting pent up with rage.”
So swear away!
Chewing on gum after meals reduces dental plaque and and strengthens tooth enamel[/caption]
Dry mouth? Chewing gum also encourages the production and release of more saliva.
Just be sure your gum is sugar-free, to protect your teeth.
SQUEAKY CLEAN: Unless you are doing regular and very sweaty workouts, you probably don’t need to shower more than once every two to three days.
“Each time we shower, we are stripping the natural oils which form the protective skin barrier,” says Dr Lee.
“The skin can feel tight, dry and itchy, and allergens can more easily enter outer skin layers, causing further skin irritation and allergic reactions.
“When you shampoo your hair too often, it dries out, causing hair to break off.
“The scalp can become dry and itchy and hair can become dull and frizzy.”
Unless you are doing regular workouts, you probably don’t need to shower more than once every two to three days[/caption]
SUDS AP-PEE-L: Having a wee in the shower is unlikely to cause any harm, although some experts suggest it can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and bladder control.
Dr Lee says: “Urine is usually sterile, so you can’t pass on an infection unless you have one, and most people with a urinary tract infection are very symptomatic and know all about it.
“Urine does smell and, if you want to pee in the shower, you will need to give it a very good clean afterwards.”
NAIL BITER: Around 20 to 30 per cent of the population bite their nails.
Dr Lee explains: “This can result in distortion of the nail bed and infections around it, chronic shortening of the nail and transmission of infections from hand to mouth, such as the human papillomavirus.
Your gnashers can even get chipped and gums may become inflamed.
Trichophagia is the scientific name for eating hair – and it is potentially life-threatening[/caption]
WASH OUT: After using the loo, you are likely to have 200million bacteria on your hands, which can lead to illnesses if left unwashed.
Dr Lee says: “Washing your hands after using the toilet reduces the number of people who develop diarrhoea and vomiting by up to 40 per cent and respiratory illnesses by up to 21 per cent.”
She advises washing with warm water and soap for 40 seconds.
HAIR TODAY: Trichophagia is the scientific name for eating hair – and it is potentially life-threatening.
Dr Lee warns: “It can result in a hairball in the stomach, causing tummy pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and intestinal obstruction.”
More serious issues include anaemia, B12 deficiency, liver disease and pancreatitis. An op may be needed to remove the hairball.
BOTTLE IT: When was the last time you washed your water bottle? A recent study showed the average bottle harbours over 300,000 germs per square centimetre.
Dr Lee says: “This is more than a sink or a toilet. And 99 per cent of bacteria on a squeeze-top bottle, and 98 per cent on a screw-top, were bacteria such as E.coli, a cause of gastroenteritis. Ideally, your water bottle should be washed in the dishwasher every day.
“Otherwise, wash it thoroughly in hot soapy water using a bottle brush and dry with a paper towel. Don’t share your water bottle, as this is another way infections can spread.”
Around 20 to 30 per cent of the population bite their nails[/caption]
RICH PICKINGS: Aside from Covid, there are many reasons why you should ban your fingers from your hooter. Nose-picking, also called rhinotillexomania, is common in kids and adults.
“In one survey, 91 per cent of adults admitted to it,” reveals Dr Lee.
“If nose picking is too frequent, violent or done with sharp nails, it can cause nose bleeds and damage the nasal septum.”
It can lead to respiratory or sinus infections and, in rare cases, blood clots.
COVER UP: Sneezing can be impossible to stop, but covering your mouth helps control germ spread.
Dr Lee says: “One sneeze can send as many as 100,000 organisms into the air travelling at 100mph. These include respiratory syncytial virus, influenza and adenoviruses, which cause the common cold.”
If nose picking is too frequent, it can cause nose bleeds and damage the nasal septum[/caption]
BRUSH IT OFF: If you forget your toothbrush, it can be tempting to use someone else’s.
But Dr Lee warns: “Your toothbrush becomes contaminated with bacteria each time you use it. One toothbrush can hold more than 100million bacteria, including E.coli and staphylococcal bacteria, which cause skin infections.”
There is also a potential risk that someone with blood-borne virus hepatitis C could pass it on through a shared toothbrush.