Eeeuw!!! You stink!
This is a touchy subject which many people (especially teachers) deal with every day. Not only do we stand in the supermarket line praying to get out because the person behind you smells like death, but we also deal with stinky kids in class - and even more so, stinky teachers!
But teaching kids about hygiene is not the same as tackling the "stink" problem head on. It's never easy to tell someone that there's something smelly about them and we try getting around it with excuses like "Hey, try out this new perfume!" or by gifting a soap-on-a-rope, but that's not the problem, is it? We need to get it right and the only way of doing it, is with facts.
The body exudes many odours, some of them tolerable, perhaps even agreeable, and others unpleasant. For example, the smell of fresh perspiration usually is not offensive. (That of stale perspiration is, however, because bacteria which live on the skin create malodorous substances in sweat.) Certain foods, especially garlic and onions, as well as alcoholic beverages, can produce a strong and distinctive body odour.
Body odour usually originates in the underarms, genital area and feet because perspiration cannot readily evaporate from these areas and bacterial and fungal action are encouraged and thus the reason why personal hygiene should be taken very serious. An unpleasant body odour is rarely of mysterious origin and usually vanishes with bathing. If it does not, these are some possibilities to consider.
An untreated infection can be the source of the problem. Athlete's foot, a fungal infection, is the most common cause of foot odour. Yeast infections in the pubic areas are smelly. Skin infections that is allowed to fester under an airtight dressing will produce a bad odour. Also, gangrene, which denotes tissue death, smells like rotting meat. Certain medications may also be the source. Frequent applications of topical over-the-counter acne preparation that contains benzoyl peroxide may produce an unwanted smell. The point is, there are many things that can cause a person to smell like a corpse.
An offensive smell can also originate in the faulty metabolism of a particular food of food group. If body odour is a persistent problem, a doctor will investigate the diet to try to track down the cause. Foods high in the choline (found in eggs, liver, and legume) may produce a distinctive odour in perspiration. Eliminating them from the diet may help.
Like with many other problems, yes, medical treatment can be an option especially if there is infection or disease present. But in the vast majority of cases, simple self-treatment is all that is needed. To control most unpleasant odours, bathe daily and refrain from using perfumes, deodorants and antiperspirants as an alternative to bathing. Roll-on or cream deodorants are preferable to aerosols, which may contain propellants harmful to the lungs or the environment.
Genital areas can be kept free of unpleasant odours by daily washing with mild soap and water. Even after odour has been illiminated from the body, it may linger on some clothing. If washing with detergent does not remote it, try soaking the garments for at least an hour in warm salt water, using about three tablespoons of salt per litre of water.
To prevent the bad odours that may develop because of bacterial decomposition on sweaty feet, podiatrists will recommend the following:
- Wear shoes made of natural material, such as leather and cotton canvas, which allow air to circulate.
- Don't wear the same shoes, especially running shoes, every day. Give them a chance to air out.
- In hot weather, choose open footwear that permits air to circulate.
- Wear white cotton socks with running shoes. After exercising, bathe feet with warm water and soap, dry them thoroughly, and change into dry socks and different shoes.
This one is self-explanatory
I'm not suggesting walking up to someone (especially a kid) and telling him/her that they stink! Kids can be cruel and as teachers, we should prevent this from happening by taking the lead, teaching them about hygiene, why it's important and explaining that there are many other reasons for bad odour too - this might just keep them from growing into stinky adults!