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Wash Your Hands to Beat Coronavirus
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself against coronavirus COVID-19 is to wash your hands regularly. A simple splash of water is not enough to keep you safe, though, you must wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. But, do you need to use an antibacterial soap to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus? Should you be using hand sanitizer gel? In this post, we answer all the questions that you may have about how to wash your hands to protect yourself against the coronavirus.
Why Is Washing Your Hands So Important?
Respiratory diseases like COVID-19 are usually passed from to person-to-person via droplets emitted when people cough or sneeze. If you are standing close to an infected person when they sneeze or cough, those tiny droplets may enter your body through your nose, mouth, or eyes.
The more common way that viruses like COVID-19 are transmitted, though, is through touch. The disease can be transferred when you touch a person’s skin that has the virus on, or when you touch a surface that has been infected with the virus. Then, when you put your hands to your eyes, nose, or mouth, the virus passes into your body.
Wearing gloves offers little protection from the coronavirus. If the virus gets on your gloves, it will still pass into your body if you touch your face with your gloved hands. And, you can transfer the virus to other surfaces as well.
So, the best way to protect you and other people from the coronavirus disease is to wash your hands often and wash them thoroughly.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hands?
Any time you touch another person or a surface another person may have touched, there is a chance that you will pick up the coronavirus. So, you should avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at any time unless you have washed your hands thoroughly.
As for how often you should wash your hands, the best approach would be to wash your hands as often as possible. However, there is a need to be practical about hand washing, and over-washing your hands may cause skin irritation.
The is a higher possibility of picking up the virus when you touch surfaces that many people will have touched before you. So, the risk is higher when you hold handrails in public spaces, for example, or you travel on public transport.
In addition to the times that you would usually wash your hands, the advice is to wash your hands under the following circumstances:
- After you have visited any public space
- Immediately after you have coughed, sneezed or blown your nose
- After you have come into contact with someone, e.g., shaking hands
- After touching any surfaces outside the home
- Before and after eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
Do I need to Wash My Hands More Often at Home?
If no one in your home has the COVID-19 disease, you will be less likely to pick up the virus by touching surfaces in your home. However, you should be extra careful about hygiene around the home during this coronavirus outbreak.
The virus could be brought into the home on your hands or items from outside. The virus could be present on the money in your pocket, for example, or on shopping that you have bought. So, you should clean high-touch surfaces, such as door handles and light switches often. And you should wash your hands as soon as you get home, and regularly when you are at home.
Do I Need to Use Antibacterial Soap?
Washing your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap will remove the virus from your hands. There is no evidence to suggest that using antibacterial soap is necessary if you wash your hands thoroughly enough.
Do I need to Use Very Hot Water?
You do not need to wash your hands with scalding-hot water to protect yourself against COVID-19. If you do use very hot water too often to wash your hands, you will damage your skin.
Do Hand Sanitizer Gels Kill the COVID-19 Virus?
Hand sanitizers do kill most bacteria and viruses. So, if you are out and can’t wash your hands with soap and warm water, a hand sanitizer is the next best thing. However, washing your hands is the best way to protect you and others from the coronavirus.
How to Wash Your Hands to Beat Coronavirus COVID-19
When you wash your hands, you should clean them thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. A quick splash of water is not going to remove the virus from your skin.
Infographic source: BioCote.
We hope that this post has helped to answer your questions about washing your hands during the coronavirus crisis. If you found this page useful, please do share it on your social media accounts.
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