Stay at home. It is the most repeated phrase since the state of alarm was decreed as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Millions of people around the world have gone overnight to home isolation and the temptation to live in pajamas or not get out of bed is a reality that experts warn against: now more than ever it is essential to maintain Personal hygiene. Neither can we stop showering, nor should we neglect the cleanliness of the bedding. The routine of cleaning the sheets and pajamas is also a habit that combines the psychological with the microbial: it provides a necessary balance of self-care and order that not only helps to keep the mind focused but also to prevent infections. The unanimous recommendation of the experts: do it, without excuse, once a week.
“Our skin is continually renewing itself and during the night we lose epithelial cells, hair and with them, bacteria, fungi and other microbes. The ideal is to wash the sheets at least once a week ”, insists Quindós. Unless we sweat excessively for some reason, more frequent washing does not seem necessary. “However, prolonging its use for more than a week increases the presence of cellular debris and microbes,” he warns. It does not seem, either, a very good idea to spend all day in the same pajamas with which we have slept. “Above all, because – in the case of pajamas – we increase the time we are in contact with objects and surfaces in our home that may be contaminated with pathogenic microbes,” says Quindós. “Pajamas, like silk pajamas, have to be washed as often as sheets or even twice a week”, recommends this expert.
What happens while we sleep
If when we wake up we put a very powerful microscope on the pillow, “we would observe hundreds or perhaps thousands of different microbes that are part of the microbiota of our head, face and mouth”, points out this expert. However, he reassures: “most of them are harmless.” And in our pajamas? “Cells from the skin, hair, some remaining dust, some yeast, a huge proportion of bacteria, of the order of thousands or millions”, explains MaiteMuniesa Pérez, professor of Microbiology and member of the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona.
Calm that nothing happens
However, “nothing happens, the vast majority are not going to do us any harm because they are not pathogenic for us. In other cases, our immune system protects us well ”, he reassures. “We will always find them, we carry them with us. The human body has more bacterial cells than its own cells. Besides bacteria, there are viruses, yeasts, etc. ”
“The skin is an organ that leaves cells and flaking of the superficial part of the epidermis, in the same way that we also leave hair. The majority (of microorganisms) are part of the skin’s own microbial flora and are beneficial: they contribute to the balance and health of our skin ”, adds this expert.
According to this expert, the frequency of washing should always be conditional on whether we shower in the morning or at night, how much or little we sweat, whether there are pets in the house or whether a child also sleeps in bed. bed, in this case silk pajamas or any other fabric, will not be sterile in any case, but obviously, the higher the frequency of washing, the less accumulation of microorganisms ”, he concludes.