Why Hygiene is Important for Paraplegics

Reading time: 2 minutes

Well. The title says it all.

Hygiene is important. And there isn’t an excuse.

Have you ever talked to someone with mule breath, they smell a hockey locker room minus the body spray, maybe their teeth are ripe and yellow.

Not the greatest image for me to put in your head. Whatever type of person you thought of, you likely didn’t have high regard. What if I told you they were the CEO of a Fortune 10 company? That might change a lot of presumptions, but you’d think they would shower and brush in tiny little circles.

It’s a fact, and it won’t be changing anytime soon, that people judge within the first few seconds of meeting people. It starts with the shoes, actually. But it might begin with the breath so bad that it touches your bones.

Bad hygiene is ever more so bad if you’re in a wheelchair. There are already some negative stigmas, none that I know of but I’m sure there are some, so being a stinky person won’t make people want to help you more.

Another thing that people do, aside from judge you based on appearance, is to judge you based on history.

I’ve met some really awesome people, and when I meet someone else with the same name or some similarities, I’m more apt to like them.

The same goes for the opposite. If you’re in a wheelchair and have certain negative connotations, then when that person meets me, they will already have a pre-conceptualized stigma.

This is good to know because if you’re outside and someone says something mean to you (never happened to me, but I know it has happened to others), you know that it’s not actually you and that it’s likely just that someone in a wheelchair was mean to them or did something to give them a reason, whether logical or not, to dislike all people in wheelchairs.

This issue, the one above, has happened all over history, mostly with race, heritage, or culture.

There are not many excuses for having bad hygiene. There are reasons, such as a literal inability to keep good hygiene, but you’d have to at least try a few times, and with help if necessary, to deem it unfeasible.

If you can’t move your arms, then it’s possible that you have someone to help you with certain things, they could likely help you with hygiene as well – smelling good and looking good.

The point is that it feels good to feel healthy. When you dress up well, shower, brush, and put on deodorant, it’ll make for a good first impression and have you feeling alive. When I start to get gross from camping for a few nights, I don’t feel as energetic or charming as I typically do.


Immediate actionable items: Clean up. Get a routine or start doing something now.

Summary: Good hygiene is important for you and others. To make a good impression, to have others want to help you and not think lowly of you. And to make yourself feel good.

Overdeliver:  If the times are dire, you can always get some wet wipes and clean yourself off that way. Or a sponge bath.

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