In the Army, personal hygiene is defined as the measures each individual must employ to keep in good physical condition and the precautions he must take to protect himself from disease. As such, not only cleanliness of the body, but also proper use of insect repellents, avoidance of unauthorized water and food, and any other measure that the soldier is directed to take to preserve his health are included. The basic principle of cleanliness of person and neat appearance of troops is a traditional policy of the Army. As more became known about the transmission of disease, stress was placed upon particular phases of personal hygiene, such as washing hands after using the latrine, and proper use by the individual of sanitary measures for disposal of waste and purification of water.
As with all aspects of military sanitation, commanding officers were responsible for enforcement of the provisions concerning personal hygiene. The Medical Department was to conduct inspections and recommend appropriate action to correct deficiencies. The paragraph of AR 40-205 devoted specifically to personal cleanliness stated:
Every member of a command will bathe once daily while in garrison, and in the field at least once weekly. The hands will be washed before each meal and immediately after visiting a latrine. Teeth will be cleaned with a brush at least once a day. Fingernails will be cut short and kept clean. The hair will be kept short and the beard neatly trimmed. Clothing and bedding will be kept clean. Soiled clothing will be kept in barrack bags. At prescribed physical inspections particular attention will be given to personal cleanliness. Unit commanders were instructed to determine that the men of their commands had been properly fitted with socks and shoes and that all foot defects were suitably cared for. An undue amount of foot injury and disability from shoes was to be regarded as evidence of inefficiency on the part of responsible officers. Precautions for care of...
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