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Brought up May 5, 2010

Most important tech development #10: Hygiene

Hygiene may seem like a very small thing. After all it has become so basic to our society that even the poorest people use hygienic methods every day. Ranging from washing dishes to keeping our bodies clean hygiene doesn't just keep us from dealing with foul smells, it keeps us safe from many deadly bacteria. In fact, hygiene has allowed us all to live longer, decreased infant mortality, and led to a much higher survival rate when facing illness.

It would be impossible to actually figure out when humanity first started practicing hygiene, or even why for that matter. However, we do know that it only became a wide spread practice in the Western world a few hundred years ago when bacteria and their link to illness was discovered. Conversely, in places such as Japan, the Middle East and North America, the native cultures all had a long tradition of bathing and washing their clothes.

While proper hygiene is not the only reason we have led longer lives, after all there are antibiotics and vaccines, there is no doubting that it has been very important to our overall success as a species and it deserves serious consideration among the other tech innovations on this list. It could very well be that without discovering hygiene, our society could still very well be locked in the dark ages or even non existent.

Think about it for a moment, just how much time do you spend each day engaging in hygienic activities? Do you bathe or shower every day? Do you do dishes, wash counters, clean clothes, etc.? All of those things are important not because they keep odors to a minimum, but because they get rid of harmful bacteria that populate quite quickly when allowed too. People who do not spend time on hygiene tend to be sick quite often.

One of the things that is worth mentioning is the idea of super bacteria. These little guys are the product of over sanitation and are becoming more and more common in our world. In fact some scientists think that we may see a bacteria that threatens all human life sometime in the near future. We can actually help this out a bit by choosing different kinds of cleaning materials. and approaching hygiene in a different way. Instead of sterilizing ourselves, we only really need to clean ourselves.


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